The Haygarths were very lucky in 2012 and squeezed in a ski holiday into the New Year on top of two other lovely family breaks in Scotland and Sardinia.
Our first outing as a family onto the slopes has been talked about for years after a massive break from skiing for me (basically, since we had children…!) and finally we were prompted into action when friends Rach and Jon booked their holiday in La Plagne. A lot of the decisions (accommodation, dates) were made for us – we just had to decide if we could afford it and afford (me) the time off work. We did.
There are so many things to remember in any holiday – with young children especially – and I can honestly say every moment was cherished. With a minor thing like Christmas in the way, it felt a bit odd to say the least to do a bit of packing then get in the car and drive 920 miles to the middle of the Haute Savoie.
The journey was wearing but tolerable. A 10pm Eurotunnel crossing meant driving through the night on easy roads. The new Led Zeppelin CD VERY loud in my headphones meant the family slept and I drove the quiet autoroutes focused and entertained. The sun rose as we neared Lake Annecy and the final miles were pretty mind blowing (especially for someone who grew up on watching Stephen Roche!)
The resort, accommodation, weather and tuition were just perfect. Watching the girls learning to ski was much more simple than predicted – young people just learn without having to consciously do so. It’s fair to say that Lily was apprehensive about being a beginner at the age of ten when so many more experienced 4 year olds flow about our ankles on the first day, but after one lesson she was snow-ploughing and turning like she’d been at it for ages. Elsie was just a classic 4 year old on skis. You don’t need to teach her how to turn you just say ‘follow me’ and she can. It’s all quite surreal how it seems to be ‘in us’.
The girls had lessons and the ESF instructors (Vlad and Daniel) were just lovely. They nurtured and encouraged the girls so well and made us feel very secure. By the last day we were all skiing together pretty unhindered. When things got too steep, Elsie held on to my ski poles at my side and we pottered down pretty much anything.
The apartments were great and we had a swimming pool – meaning a lovely relax and play after a day on the slopes. We paid a bit more than we’d have normally done for such luxury but it was a welcome distraction for tired little bodies.
In the early summers of my childhood, my Dad and Mum packed my brother Phil and I, still sleeping, into the back of our family car, with a caravan in tow, and drove us to the south of France each year. The journeys and holidays were long and packed with some of the strongest memories I’ll keep. Those of us lucky enough to have any Family Holiday as children will always keep those memories, and looking back on this particular branch of the Haygarth family’s trip to the Ile de Ré, I know that the beat goes on and on, and as many families do, we’ve done our own version of the full circle.
With a car packed with everything from bikes to buckets, we lifted the children from their beds at 2:30am and set off to Dover. Elsie proved that despite not knowing what the heck was going on, she could hold a pretty good conversation for a two year old in the dead of night, but we eventually got her settled by Stafford, an hour od so later. Arriving at Dover a bit blearly eyed and checking onto the ferry was a bit of basic relief. Anything like that carries with it an irritating deadline and the need for a bit of buffer time, but at least we were there now, intact, in time, and in need of medium cappuccino with an extra shot. Continue reading “Ile de Ré Summer Holidays 2010”