Sunday, January 22, 2012

a surprise trip

A week ago, everybody at work was asked to reserve the following Monday - Wednesday, nights included, without being told why. Then at the end of the week, we received an email asking us to be prepared with a packed lunch for Monday, three days' worth of clothing, a swimsuit and clothes suitable for snow. The plan was to leave Monday morning at around 10 or 11am and come back Wednesday night around 10pm.

So Monday came around and the six of us got into two cars and we started heading south. After eating our packed lunch at a rest stop, we started driving east towards Switzerland. We drove past Geneva (or at least 14 km away from Geneva) and started going up some mountains in the Jura region. We ended up checking into a hotel in the town of Lamoura, which is a small winter sport centre with access to downhill and cross country skiing, as well as snowshoeing, and discovered that we each had rooms overlooking the snowy countryside (and not the road out front!). After dropping our things off in our rooms, we set off to rent our snowshoes for our stay and we then took advantage of the remaining daylight hours to get a bit of snowshoeing in.
The hotel had a wooden chalet feel and it was demi-pension, so breakfast and supper were included. The first evening before supper, we gathered for aperitifs in one of the hotel rooms and enjoyed 2 bottles of champagne that my boss had brought along. The second evening we had 2 bottles of red wine and we played Time's Up in teams of two (it's a game where you have to try and get your partner to guess a word, either using long explanations, just one word or mimes).

During our stay, we had two full days of snowshoeing and we explored a lot of the trails that are scattered around the ski hills, snowshoeing about 10 - 12 km per day. From time to time we would come across chalets where it was possible to have a mulled wine or cup of cocoa, and on both days, we packed a picnic and enjoyed our lunch in the snow. We lucked out with the weather because it was nothing but blue sky and sunshine. Just have a look!

Did I mention that our office dog, Eclipse, came along too? She *loved* the snow and spent her time fetching snowballs, some of which were much larger than her head!
On the way home we stopped at another mountain peak and went to a restaurant for some tea. The sky was clear and there was a panoramic view of the Alps across the valley. We could even see Mont Blanc. It's the biggest one there in the middle.
Further down the hill we stopped at a fromagerie to buy some local cheese before going home (I'll write more about that in a future post).

We arrived home in one piece on Wednesday night. It was nice to have time to bond with my work mates and just have fun together without thinking about work. I think that was the point!