Archive for family

hasty changes of plan (and of hemisphere)

Posted in Books, Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2021 by xi'an

As we [the entire family] were about to leave for La Réunion for a two-week vacation, the local authorities decided to start a severe lockdown over the whole island. Which makes sense given the large number of cases and the low proportion of vaccinated inhabitants that led to the saturation of the health system, to the point of flying patients to Paris for treatment. And which would have meant [for us] being stuck in our Airbnb except for sport activities on the nearest beach, but with no chance of trail running or hiking to the local tops or into the magnificent calderas. (Besides being rather unethical by putting local non-vaccinated people at risk.) Hence we cancelled the trip at the last minute (with great service from Air France and a full loss with Airbnb.) After first considering Iceland, which sounded fully booked, we then switched to a trip to Corsica, where surprisingly there were still available plane seats and cars to rent at the airport. And less surprisingly hardly any place to rent! After a whole morning of failed attempts, we eventually secured two rental places, the first one turning out to be quite nice. Last time I visited the island there was in the summer of 1980, where I hitch-hiked from Normandy to join high school friends for a month of camping, snorkeling, and wind-surfing! (And not much progress in reading Kant’s Critique I had taken as my beach book!)

Pluss[ki]es and minuss[ki]es

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , on December 27, 2011 by xi'an

Among the plus[ki]ses of our traditional skiing trip this year, the great company of both extended family and my daughter’s friend,  Julia, some days of superbly warm and sunny weather, skiing black diamonds with my daughter, loads of snow, the reward of the white ridges encasing the valley, my wife’s zen approach to skiing, glimpses of La Meije in good weather, great water, bread and cheese, very few people on the runs, with hardly any short-skier, no queues, a terrific first home-made X’mas dinner (thanks to Jean-Michel et François for their contributions!), rekindling skiing feelings from Park City [after a few days], watching my nephew Paul learning to ski in his analytical way, starting a new book purchased in Provo and unexpectedly mixing fantasy and climbing, playing chess with Paul on evenings and narrowly reaching a stalemate once, a record-time for putting the chains on my car (as opposed to last year!), reading the end of Persi’s book in an Alpine chalet, …

Among the minus[ki]ses, the choice of a terrible rental apartment company and of a mediocre hotel, facing frozen water in one apartment, leading to over-heated apartments the rest of the stay, first days of grey and white weather, straining my thumb in a mound of powdery snow the day before last, loosing any feeling of what’s horizontal and what’s not and falling in a hole as a result [with non-lasting effects!], taking the wrong advice from the instructor during a short course and loosening my ski shoes too much for the first days, watching an appalling movie on the final night about a blogging cashier, my wife’s zen approach to skiing, getting my new book stolen by my son, having to change apartments three times in 8 days,  the wifi at the apartment being incompatible with wordpress,  a not-so-terrific second X’mas dinner at the hotel, wasting 15mn taking my chains off, the final traffic-jam when reaching Paris, …

Trip back in time

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , on July 24, 2011 by xi'an

(This is yet another post of no particular interest for most readers, another Sunday musing about family history and “old” days…)

Last week, I went with my brother to help my mother move items away from my grandmother‘s house, which has just been sold.  (A bit of a surprise as the house has no strong appealing features and the mud walls in some parts could even be considered a nuisance!) There were only a few items of furniture and it was quickly done, but it was also the opportunity to say a last good-bye to places where I spent my summer vacations and that I will presumably not visit in a long while… Things had already changed so much that it indeed felt like a place from a distant past. The post WWII prefabricated wooden house my grandparents lived in for most of my childhood had disappeared, as had their beautiful garden, the small Norman town they lived in had lost most of its soul thanks to an ugly supermarket built right in the middle, and the empty house now sounded as if it had been abandoned for ages, so different was it from the well-kept home of my grandmother! Only Mont-Saint-Michel that we passed on the way there remained the same majestic silhouette in the distance, as well as in time, since it had played an important role in my grandfather’s life… Continue reading

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