Boxing Day and Thursday 27th December 2018

Manigod. Probably somewhere not really known to tourists, or any of us for that matter before we got there. More like a hidden gem especially for the French locals.

So why did we go there? We’d started planning our New Year ski trip back in January and booked it I think in September time. That shows how late we left it. We didn’t want to spend a lot but we wanted a nice chalet over New Year with a hot tub and close to the slopes. Not too much to ask really!

The plan? Nathan and I were going to drive down with what would be the cabin bags and the ski gear, whilst the other six flew with their hand luggage. Simple. Our journey started Boxing Day. A quick pit stop over to Tom and Danie’s to pack up the truck, drink their wine and eat delicious party food, then it was back home to make sure we were packed then time to drive to Dover. A tad too much wine meant I’d slept most of the way until we pulled up to customs, got the steering wheel and driver door drug swiped, then waited to board the ferry at 2am. We let the gang know where we were but by that time they were pretty much getting a nice restful nights sleep, whilst we were trying to get comfy sleeping on hard chairs (Nathan) or the floor (me). Surprisingly comfortable!The ferry docked at 5am in Dunkirk, so I sent a ‘Good Morning’ text to everyone just to make sure they weren’t going to miss their flight……. in 7 hours time. So courteous I was!

Now began the long stretch down to Manigod, located roughly an hour south of Geneva. The sunrise was beautiful as were the frosty fields that lined the loooong straight road that seemed to go on forever. It was enough to keep me awake anyway! The only difficulty we faced in the first few hours on the road was that it seemed every radio station was tuned into a channel so we couldn’t get the phone to play. It’s a small thing but when you’ve been awake for the best part of 24 hours, small things are big things!The scenery, once the sun had come up, was beautiful. A wintery wonderland. It wasn’t long and we needed to fill up with fuel. I think I must have nodded off very briefly as when I woke up Nathan was telling me he had to stop at this one particular station (possibly the most expensive BP garage in the world) because he only had two litres of fuel left in the tank!!! I mean, I play diesel roulette at home in my car, pushing it a bit further each time until it says I have about 2 miles left then I’ll fill up, but I wouldn’t bloody do it in France when fuel stations are few and far between and the roads incredibly long! You’d think he’d have learnt from our time roadtrippin’ in the USA, but clearly not. Still, all part of the adventure. The bonus of us stopping here was there was a Burger King and we were starving!!! Ever had a Burger King breakfast? No? We hadn’t either and I’d pass on it if I was you. Incredibly underwhelming and I think I was more hungry after eating my greasy croissant. So, still hungry and €103 later, we continued. I’m not gonna lie, the journey was SO boring for the best part of 4 hours until we hit the mountains. Then it changed and the surroundings were beautiful! Even the sky was stunning. Roads weren’t so straight, they actually had bends in them. We even crossed very long bridges and darted in and out of tunnels through the mountains. Keeping the rest of the gang updated included photos similar to above and tired selfies of us. They’d got to the airport and were having a lovely coffee. Then they were on the plane ready to come meet us. I’m not quite sure who’s window views were best though? Mine above or Toms?I’ll go with mine. 🙂 We were making good time. My stomach however, was still making hungry noises. We needed to fill up a couple more times but thankfully it was much cheaper than stop number one. My main job as passenger was ‘toll operator.’ We passed through about four tolls in total with the most expensive one being €57. €57 to drive 300 miles on one straight road. How I did stay awake is beyond me. Clearly had a lot of pride in my job!McDonalds was all I could think about. We hadn’t seen a single one, nor had we seen another Burger King since that ‘breakfast.’ It was time for a small detour into a little town called Le Pont de Brogny.After letting our Airbnb host know we would be arriving about 3pm due to making good time, we gave ourselves plenty of time to take it slowly as they couldn’t let us in until 5pm. Slightly frustrating as I was hoping to nap in a bed before everyone arrived. Instead, we located a Carrefour, toilets and a McDonalds. Time for a feast. As we sat down to eat the rest of the gang had landed so it was going to be a race to the chalet. The beautiful scenery continued and we started to very gradually climb upwards. There had been no signs for Manigod up until now so we knew we were close. The last part of the journey consisted of steep inclines and tight bends. I was so glad the truck made it!It really was located in a stunning place with the most magnificent views across the mountains and down into the valley. Our chalet was beautiful! We drove a little way into town as we waited for the others. There really wasn’t much in the town except a bakery, a tourist information (not that It’s needed) and a church. The gang eventually arrived and we were all reunited. Despite it being freezing cold, the sky was bright blue and we started exploring the chalet. Once we’d chosen our rooms, the girls, driven by Nathan headed about thirty minutes out of the town to pick up our ski rentals and boots. We were in a hurry as the shop shut at 630pm and the supermarket at 730pm. After a full days travelling, Nathan and I were keen just just chill out, so we grabbed some wine and pizzas, the girls grabbed snacks and eventually we headed back to the chalet, showered and changed into our pjs ready to chow down on some pizza. Moral of the story…never let the girls go to the shop if you want “actual food.” Aside from pizzas, it was basically just snacks got. Whoops. The chalet is literally like my dream house, even with its own library!!!I was in love. We even had a hot tub, which we tried out on our first night. What better way to relax than with your best friends, in a hot tub, with wine, under the stars….After exchanging our Secret Santa presents that contained, crocs, play dough, grey goose, a wine glass that holds a bottle, ball cleaner, a spreadsheet mug, a sheep and pork crackling, we retired to our rooms ready for an early wake up to catch the first bus to the slopes…

Until next time…

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