Brrrr Marathon cont.



 The only Warm, Friendly
Thing In Paris


 Bean Girls hit
the slopes

French Leg
The next morning we headed to Gatwick to fly to France, well Switzerland really as we arrived into Geneva, but it was only five minutes before we crossed the border to France. David had rented a chalet in the French alpine village of Morzine. It was a 1.5 hour drive from Geneva airport and the scenery was just spectacular, I had never seen so much snow in all my life. The Chalet was huge, cosy and warm. I thawed out here for a couple of days and then my daughters and I went to Paris for a few days, we were meeting up with my eldest son there. It ended up being another horror easy jet flight, that was four hours delayed, that saw us miss our shuttle bus to the hotel at Disneyland, so we had to take the underground. So can you imagine, three very innocent Aussie girls, who had never been to Paris, on the underground at midnight, our train didn't reach the right stop, it let us out two stops early, and there we were in a cold dark station in Paris, on our own..and it was snowing..not a pleasant arrival!

We were to go to Disneyland the next day, but after our midnight travels, we slept in and decided to take in some sights in the afternoon. Now I know I have said this one million times on this trip so far, but it was bloody freezing in Paris, the coldest of any of the places I had been to so far, you could just not get warm in the outdoors, no matter how many layers you were wearing. My 14 year old told me at one stage, she had 6 layers on , that included two puffy warm jackets, and she was still cold! I loved Paris, it's a beautiful city even in the cold, it was snowing as well so it had a magical air about it. We saw the  the Eiffel Tower, and one again I was surprised at it's lack of height, I'm just wondering it that's an Aussie thing.  We saw the Arc de Triomphe, Bastille square and walked up the Champs Elysees. The next day, to my youngest daughter's sheer excitement and delight, we went to Euro Disney, it was a wonderful day out. The sun was shining but the cold was bitter, Disneyland is very pretty, and the snow and iced ponds added to the attraction.

I was excited about the prospect of going for a long run in Paris, we were staying quite a way out, but the suburb was pretty and all the streets were pathed and flat. However, that meant nothing, because the morning I got up to run, it had snowed over night and it there was white everywhere. It's the first time I've run in snow, and it was particularly hard as everything was white, I had no idea if I was on the footpath, in the middle of a paddock, on private property or running up the centre of the road, it was all the same, white, white, white. I could see the lights of Disneyland in the distance and I thought, I will just run there and back. Ten minutes into the run, I started to freeze, I thought I was rugged up, but the cold just seeps in, my feet felt like ice,  and of course my nose was tingling, in a bad way that is. I was only our for half an hour and I had to return to the hotel, as I was so very cold, and disappointed, if I can't run for half an hour, how can I run a marathon in two weeks? When I entered the foyer the English speaking receptionist said "do know its -10 degrees our there?", I could only nod as my facial features were frozen and couldn't move. Extremities can be a real problem in the cold, toes, fingers and nose seem to take the brunt, but I've discovered another extremity on this trip, the bum. My bum gets so cold  when I run, that I'm wondering is there is such a thing as a bum warmer..when I lowered myself into the hot bath after my run in Paris, I'm sure I heard a sizzle and saw steam coming off the water!

After Paris , I met my other son and his two mates and we all flew back to Geneva and then onto the French town of Morzine to have our skiing week in the French Alps. The whole crew (10 of us) were back together and everyone was excited about hitting the slopes, for most of my family it was the first time we had seen snow, let alone tried to go down a hill on it!
I mentioned to a few people before I commenced this trip, that the Bean's in Europe would be like a National Lampoons' Vacation movie, and I haven't been far from the mark. Everything and anything has gone wrong on this trip, from our hotel getting tear gassed to all the kids bags getting lost for 5 days, to crazy delayed flights, to my sons getting picked up by the Italian police on Christmas day for play fighting in the street (typical Aussie boys), the girls and I getting lost on a Paris subway at midnight,and much, much more, the people we are traveling with cannot believes the run of bad luck we have let me describe just one afternoon in France for the Bean family.....

I believe in Murphy’s Law, not because I agree with it, but because over the years it has proven to apply to me on numerous occasions. On the second day in Morzine the 10 of us decided to hit the French Alps to ski. The sun was shining and there was an abundance of snow. My girls and I hit the nursery slopes and the boys went off to try snowboarding. At lunch time we met up and everyone was happy with their efforts. My 14 year old decided she had had enough so David took her back to the base of the hill where she could catch a free bus back to our chalet. The rest of us went back to skiing. At one point I was riding high in a chair lift taking in the breathtaking view and thinking “Could life be anymore perfect?”, bad mistake, as that’s often when Murphy chips in; from below my chairlift, I heard a lot of aussie voices calling my name, I looked down and four of the five boys were there, yelling out “Marie, Jonnie has broken his wrist and been taken down the mountain in an ambulance”, I just looked straight ahead and thought “Of course he has”. I quickly got off the lift, rounded Rosemary up from the nursery slopes and we had to get ourselves down to the bottom, return all our skis and then find which medical clinic he had been taken to. I found it on the second go, where one pale face, very cold and sore boy was sitting in the waiting room. He was told that his wrist was broken in two places, his choice was to have  surgery or have a local and the doctor could try and manipulate it back into place, "a strong Aussie boy like you should be able to take it," the doctor’s words not mind. So Jonnie opted for the latter treatment and there we were; an English doctor, a French nurse and two Aussies (no it’s not the start of a joke!) in the surgery, Jonnie was as white as a sheet and looked like he was going to pass out, I was holding him down, but feeling very weak at the knees and the doctor was working on the wrist as if it was a lump of plasticine. The agony was worth it though as the following ex ray showed that the wrist was back in place and only needed plastering… while I’m dealing with one child in the doctor's surgery in Morzine, I was totally oblivious to the fact that only two blocks away my 14 year old was in a French Police station being interrogated by 4 Gendarmes! She had accidently missed her bus stop, so she got off at the next one and decided to walk back. Now I’m sure she did look a sight with just her ski boots and no skis, very disheveled and typical of a moody 14 year not looking too happy to be walking home in the ski boots. Well the  French police thought this was an unusual sight so they wanted identification and an explanation, both of which were not forthcoming. Madeleine is the quietest, shyest 14 year old you could meet and with four Gendarmes yelling at you in French, she promptly burst into tears. The police thought she had been attacked so they took her back to the station and had her in tears for two hours, before they finally decided to believe her story and take her back to the chalet. Poor David had arrived home to the chalet earlier and was very worried to see Madeleine not at home, so he was frantically driving around Morzine looking for her, luckily the police and he pulled up to the chalet at the same time,  and he was shocked to be aggressively told off by the four of them and Madeleine dumped in his care, with a finally warning, she is black listed for using the local bus.

David, came to pick Jon and I up from the medical centre, and told me the other goings on across town, of which I was beside myself, so home we rushed to check what had happened to Madeleine, then off to sort out slings and medications for Jon. I arrived back home at 7pm, climbed the stairs to the lounge room, to see 8 kids lounging around on couches and bean bags, laughing at an old episode of the Simpsons, thats a sure sign that all is well in the world again. I was still in my full skiing outfit, David gently guided me to an armchair, stuck a gin and tonic in my hand and there I sat for half an hour until the shock wore off…I wonder what National Lampoon has in store tomorrow! Read on.....



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