Saturday, January 26, 2008

E is for excitement, exhaustion and a most excellent trip

If my beyond tired brain is accurate, today is Saturday Jan somethingorother. We've been in Zermatt, Switzerland since Thurs and are having a great time! It was a long journey here but totally worth it.

Some trouble getting online has delayed this post until now so forgive my tardiness. Last night I was sitting outside in the -5 C evening, borrowing WiFi from a bar across the street downtown which was spilling over with loud drunk singing Europeans. Very interesting human behaviour observation but the connection sucked and kept kicking me out.

Today was our second day riding and as yet there have been no serious injuries incurred by our group. We've since decided to seek sponsorship from Advil next time as not only does it make a nice light snack but also relieves the pain from our sore overused muscles. I say this because these runs are SO not like any in Canada! For example, yesterday we rode gondolas up to 2939m to start our first run of the day. These are REAL mountains!!! And they're so awesome to ride that words don't quite describe. The runs aren't overcrowded like back home and they freakin' go on forever! You're riding in the shadow of the Matterhorn, surrounded by 20something peaks over 4000m high. Today it took me almost an hour to complete one run although I stopped a few times to take pictures.
As we were riding the chairlift up yesterday, we heard a helicopter and noticed a rescue helicopter with two people dangling from the long line. They got put down at the bottom of the crappy terrain park and then the helicopter landed to load the person we assumed had been rescued. How cool is that?? This place is so much more geared to pizza/french fries that it doesn't surprise me too much that the terrain park at Blue is much better than here. We're definitely in the minority as snowboarders. The skiier lady who yelled at me on our first run of the day definitely did not have a soft spot in her heart for snowboarders.
I rode with Sean and Tony yesterday after Darlene went the other way right at the top of the first run and wasn't seen again until almost dinner. As the three of us were on the chairlift back to the top, we noticed a snowboard track traversing the soft powder about 1/2 of the way between two runs then footprints leading back to the first run. We had a very good laugh at the silliness of this goofy person, only to find out later that it was Darlene (by her own admittance) who had done that track. Poor girl. She did meet some very cool people on her own, both from the GTA by coincidence. She also missed my high speed face first wipeout, complete with 1/3 pike, a double barrel roll followed by a full forward summersault.
Wow, fatigue is so prevalent here. Our hostel is seemingly halfway up the mountain as we have to scale a large hill then 3 million stairs after walking 10 minutes through the village. I blame my breathlessness on the altitude rather than my lack of fitness. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! I love the grocery stores here. They have the coolest stuff! We've found some other cool stores too. Very beautiful valley, lots of that alpine architecture that I like. Primarily German speaking here, followed by French and Italian. English trails somewhere in 4th place. Luckily over the years I've been exposed to all four of those languages so I can usually fumble together enough mangled words to translate or make myself understood. I can figure out most labels or at least make a serious sounding wild guess that fools the rest of the group.
The hostel is very nice as hostels go. We have our own room which smells kind of funky now for some unknown reason and they feed us twice a day. We've been buying a bag lunch from there too which is working well, at least until Sean and I rode separately today and he had the lunch. That ended all right for me, eating wise, although Sean and Tony ran into a technical problem as well as a collision. Word has it that the skiier who was at fault got the worst of his run-in with Sean. Complete yard sale was the description used. Right now the two guys and I are at a bar in town because they have free WiFi and we don't have to sit out in the cold trying to hack a crappy connection. However, if I don't come home with lung problems I will be surprised. I always forget how prevalent smoking still is here. Hackhack!

Too bad I can't take home European empties to fund my NZ trip. There's a LOT of alcohol here. Did you know the Swiss make wine? Off to bed if I can scale the monster hill again....... hope to write again soon.


Anonymous said...

Man, I am SO jealous - snow, wine, chocolate, hot guys in bars - live it up lady! I'm not sure that a funky hostel would meet my princess standards, but it sounds like you are having fun.


Anonymous said...

I wondered when you would be abla to access a computer to write your impressions. I have been looking everyon day. Sean did send a brief memo to say you had arrived safely. Good to read. Take care, everyone.

John said...

Can't wait to see pictures!

Anonymous said...

HI Alexis!!!

I'm so glad to know you're have a blast!!! Are you managing to collect a huge assortment of colourful contusions for the ride home?
sounds fab...don't be missing us here, it's the SSDD!!
show more photos if you are able to!!
get me sum hot chocolate, with a toblerone to go with it please! LOL

see you when you come back! LOL