All Posts in travel

19th April 2020

Meribel Pre lock-in

Now that we're well and truly in the thick of a global lockdown, it's given me some time to think 'how the heck did we manage to sneak in a snowboarding holiday a month ago?'. I think we've all felt it's been a wake up call from how quickly things have had to shift in response to the pandemic.

I flew to Geneva on the 7th March to spend a week in Meribel (part of the three valleys ski resort) with my good friend Matt. It was one of those last minute deals that we bagged just in time. Both of us had been snowboarding before, and of a similar ability which helped. But this was the first trip we had done together and the most we had hung out for in years since working together.

White waves and selfies

The trip

I think we rode 5 out of those 7 days we were there. It was a great mix of downtime, adventure and childplay. I won't go into detail about each day we spent there as I won't do it justice. That said, Matt did create several youtube videos to impress his daughters. I think they capture the non stop goofing around and pure excitement throwing ourselves down the mountain perfectly. So take a look if you're interested.

The apartment. Note: the chair drying rack - a godsend!

I mention 'downtime' because whilst the trip was exhausting: gearing up, hiking, riding etc - it had relaxing moments too. Luckily we're both quite similar, we like our own space, don't always need to talk and are happy to do our own thing sometimes. For instance, most evenings we were in the front room, Matt video editing whilst I spent time drawing and writing.

In general, France was pretty casual about the whole coronavirus thing. I was really surprised but then again, we were also part of the problem! We flew back on 14th March - the same day France announced all resorts will close. Literally sneaked it in!

All freehand using a BIC pen. Fuelled with wheat beer!

15th December 2019

My Kangoo Maiden Voyage

A map view of the places I went to during my holiday along the english south coast

Over summer, I nipped into my savings and got a van. I was racking my brain to and through whether to get one. Are they good value? Is there an alternative to diesel? How often will I realistically use it? In the end, if its something I want to pursue maybe I should go with it. Pretty selfish, right?

The carbon impact is a dilemma. I don’t depend on using a car but when I do use it, it’s usually on my own and travelling further afield. So I’m going to pay some money into a carbon offsetting scheme. It’s not perfect but the least I can do whilst I own it. I looked into electric vans and I just don’t have that kind of money right now, what I have signed up to is an app called Bla Bla where you can invite others to car share with you and get some fuel money for it. Because I travel frequently between Bristol and Southampton (a popular route) it will help feel less wasteful.

Van

Fast forward a couple of months and my Kangoo is doing alright. I just got back from a second impromptu trip to Wales but I'll post about that another time. For now, I'll give a run down of her maiden voyage as I spent a week in September wandering the English south coast.

In all I clocked 548 miles (including a 20 mile bike ride). Rode 6 skateparks. Saw 1 seal and got 0 bike punctures. Happy days.

I've tried retracing my steps by creating this custom google map. Feel free to have a look over it in more detail. With the help of my diary, I was able to split out where I got to each day. Driving wise, I rather enjoyed it. The seat was super cushty. I could do with some more CD's though...

Beautiful morning to wake up to at Beachy Head. Super relaxed time and good nights sleep. Sad to find out it's a popular place for people to end their life...

Beautiful morning to wake up to at Beachy Head. Super relaxed time and good nights sleep. Had no idea how often people go to end their life there.

Seal

Car spotting in Arundel. This town had impeccable style! Mustangs, old land rovers and Morgans.

Car spotting in Arundel. This town had impeccable style! Mustangs, old land rovers and Morgans.

Noodles Noodles Noodles. What doesn't go with them?! I managed to save a lot of money on making breakfast and lunch out of the van. Also rather tasty.

Noodles Noodles Noodles. What doesn't go with them?! I managed to save a lot of money on making breakfast and lunch out of the van. Also rather tasty.

Hastings pier

Hastings pier

Street

I cycled a section of Stane Street, a roman road that ran from Chichester to London. It's where my family name: Stanistreet comes from. More about this in another post.

 

DUN-JUH-NESS

DUN-JUH-NESS

12th August 2019

Spring Break 2019

35mm-snow4

Now in its 12th year, Spring Break offers retailers and influencers the opportunity to test next years snowboard gear from brands like Burton, Batalion, Dragon and Oakley goggles. My uncle has been to at least 10 of them in Kennertal and this time the test moved to a glacier called Hintertux in Mayrhofen, Austria. I had always wanted to go but had difficulty with finances and timing in the past but 2019 was my year to join in on the fun.

This was also my first time on the mountains and riding real slopes. I had learnt how to snowboard at the Milton Keynes indoor snow dome around 8 years ago so had a lot to remember and practice once I got there!

Austria is a beautiful country, I didn’t need to go there to know that to be honest but travelling by train from Innsbruck was incredible. We were staying in a backpackers hostel ran by snowboarders, which in its heyday was a very prestige place to stay in as it overlooks the river. We stayed there for 3 nights, partaking in pool and whatever was happening there in the evening. The food was strange and included with our stay - all I'll say is that it was very beige!

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35mm-snow10

My first day snowboarding, you couldn’t see. When we arrived there was no snow to be seen but sure enough over night there was a blizzard and threw everything it had at us. I was like a lil kid all giddy with excitement seeing so much snow! Scaling Hintertux in a cable car was so eerie as it was quiet and you could just make out the car in front. We continued climbing until we met up the rest of the test riders. We were keen to ride anything we could regardless of the conditions (I didn’t know what to think to be honest and was surprisingly quite calm about everything), so we got booted up and headed up the mountain. That first day was exhilarating, knackering and naive all rolled into one. I say naive because my visibility was terrible and incredibly difficult to follow Danny down the slope, so much so I ran off piste a couple of times without a worry in the world - which is stupid!

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35mm-snow

By the second day, conditions had picked up and I was able to see the piste markers, I still couldn’t make out the scenery much but I didn’t dwell on that and got stuck in.By now, i was improving on my turning and control but still got wobbly on going straight - I hadn’t quite cracked that bit yet. Soon enough, the clouds lifted and revealed everything I had been missing out on before. I’ll never forget that feeling and sense of wonder. In a bid to prove myself and not feel guilty for slowing my uncle's day down, I said I'd join Danny to ride some fresh powder. Which according to snowboarders is like liquid gold! As soon as I dropped in, I realised I had bitten off more than I can chew. I couldn't keep up for too long and kept falling all over the place. The key in powder is to lean back more as if you're surfing on the snow. Little by little, I made my way down. Hopefully, next time I’ll be a little more more graceful!

On our third and final day, it was perfect. Blue skies. More control on straights. More confidence. We managed to start from the very top and scale to the bottom a couple times on this day. Carving really low and fast was so fun to do. When it was time to return our gear, it was hard to admit that that part of the holiday had finished. It was amazing and I can't wait to go back for more!

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35mm-snow2

In the hostel that night we rounded off the day with espresso martinis whilst watching some surprisingly good British football that was playing in the bar. The atmosphere was raw and pumped, even so, we nipped out for a wander around the town of Mayrhofen. As it was out of season to go snowboarding at this time of year, everything bar one or two drinking holes was closed. It didn't spoil our walk as we wandered around the town, admiring the strange signs and buildings. The skatepark they have is great, a concrete bowl in a 'U' shape with rails and ledges that run around the outside. Must be good to be a local here.

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35mm-snow7

In the morning, we headed to Innsbruck. I'd always wanted to go there after a video on vimeo basically sold it to me that I needed to go. Better late than never! I only just skimmed the surface of this beautiful city, so I'll be heading back for a weekend break sometime soon. Fingers crossed.