The day I landed, two weeks ago now, Ms. Hartz generously picked me up at the Geneva airport and whisked me back to Annecy for a breakfast of crepes with Beth and Goof. We then strolled the Tuesday market for some delicious things for the dinner we planned to cook that night. Primarily cheese.
because I have a problem. We did blind tastings of the wines we had picked out at the Monoprix, scoring each one on a spreadsheet because we are nerds. A Bordeaux won. Actually, we won, because then we got to eat all the puddings.
Our first ski adventure was the next day at Les Houches, a mountain that is pronounced completely differently than I would have expected (laze hoosh). French, I give up on you. I spent most of the day being absolutely terrified at how fast I was going, except for on a few kiddie slopes that proved a delight. We ate lunch in a restaurant on the side of the mountain, warming up our snow-frozen bodies with the ever-present vin chaud (hot wine). Given how much glog I have made and ingested over the past few months, I took to vin chaud like a fish to water, or an alcoholic fish to vodka.
Here's a Google image search in case you're just dying to know what it looks like.
The next day we headed to the Italian side of Mont Blanc for a day of skiing at Courmayeur. Gorgeous gorgeous. And Italian, oh Italian! I can understand Italian! I can almost communicate in Italian! After a few days of humiliating myself with my 10 poorly-pronounced words of French, Italian was a delight. As Hartz proved when we were in Rome last year, you can basically just speak Spanish with a slightly offensive Italian accent and get your point across. Also, we drank beer on the side of a mountain. There was pizza. I was so happy.
Raclette, my friends, is insane. First you walk into the restaurant and blink in the slightly smoky acrid light. Are your eyes burning because of...cheese? Yes, yes they are. You order, and a half wheel of cheese is rolled up to your table and strapped to a device that melts the top layer steadily, enabling you to tip the wheel and scrape off the melty bits whenever you'd like. It's like the most complicated fondue in the world. You pile the cheesemelt on top of creamy little potatoes and unidentifiable meat products, and then you feel absolutely horrified by your own appetite. Horrified because you ate little but cheese as a meal, and horrified that you only got about two inches into the giant wheel of cheese. Behold: our glory and our shame.
Our last day in Annecy I went for another run, because the others had engaged in extreme death-defying activity the previous day while I had gorged myself and nearly lost my toes while doing so. It was as good as the first run - fresh, clear, beautiful.
And that was my week in the Haute-Savoie! I'll tell you what, me and France, we're friends.