Zell am See
My second time snowboarding, one week in February in the Zell am See area with a small group of friends, all accomplished snowboarders/skiers. After paying my dues on the kiddy hill, I actually managed to go down a few blue pistes with a lot of coaching. Stayed in a big formula half-pension hotel, where I learned to secure my dessert before the Dutch raided the buffet… Also made a side-trip to Salzburg on valentines day (so much Mozart, very nice cakes).
An organized 2-week tour of Vietnam. Quite disappointed in the tour pacing (too much beach, I wanted more city/culture – I can go to the beach in Spain!) and even more so in the arrogant Dutch guide. Thankfully the local guide was really great. The group was again much older than me (and all Dutch except for one nice Belgian couple) and I ended up hanging out with some grannies – fairly nice people but we did not share a lot of interests. Didn’t get them to join me on any of the sidewalk eateries either and was too chicken to sit down by myself… Also dirtiest night train experience to date. Very beautiful country though & great food, especially Hoi An and Hanoi were my favourites places. Had the best time getting lost in Hanoi’s teeming streets on my own.
But I am growing a little weary of organized guided tours and would like to tackle my own “tour” next year.
Ended up on one more snowboard mini-trip (4 days) in France over Easter to test out the birthday present I got from my boyfriend (= a proper board). Managed to come down blue pistes myself this time – felt mighty proud and mighty queezy thanks to the hairpin curves up in the mountains :s. First time actually seeing the snow line. Had a quick stop in Annecy on our way back home.
A night in a luxury hotel in Bruges in May (I’d never visited Bruges!) was my parents’ birthday present, accompanied by a museum pass from my brother. First time staying in a 5 * hotel (baffling breakfast buffet).
Nord Pas de Calais
5 days halfway August. Had a lot of great (sea)food, very windy beach walks and quoted “Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis” practically non-stop. And visited the Louvre annex in Lens (nice museum, odd town).
Annecy & Briançon
Visited the Annecy snowboard movie festival again. It’s getting more crowded though. A steak tartare lunch in Reims on the way over knocked me out good for a few days :s Stayed in the worst hotel room I’ve ever had in Lyon (spotted a mice in the hallway too). After the festival we made our way to Briançon via le Col du Galibier (incredible landscape, but a sure fire ticket to get carsick). My boyfriend showed me La Grave (his favourite mountain spot) but we were out of luck as the whole town was closed up outside tourist season – which was pretty much the case for Briançon as well.
One October night in Paris with my boyfriend – he doesn’t like crowds so had to navigate my way avoiding the tourist spots = walked a lot! – and finally visited the Monet museum which had been on my list for years. My 8th visit to Paris.
One night in the neighbourhood of Saint Hubert to visit the hunting festival in Bouillon. Friends were staying in a chalet but with 8 kids under 8 years old my boyfriend & I opted for a separate hotel room. Enjoyed the beautiful fall colours and had lots of great food.
Back to last year’s über-cozy family hotel to celebrate Christmas and do the first bit of snowboarding of the season. Didn’t end up in the hospital this year but it didn’t go as smooth as I hoped for either. But great food and beautiful snowy vistas. A huge snowstorm started the day after we left…