The final weeks of winter.

Well, that’s it. I believe that the end of the ski season has just passed. It came faster than I actually expected (it always does) but it marks this year a rather important landmark. Claire and I have moved to Europe for the winter, and that’s now over. It really makes it feel that the end of this trip is closing in on me. As part of this auspicious event I wanted to post some photos from the last few big trips and fun weekends that Claire and I have had together, and a few notes from a few solo adventures.

One of the most fun trips that we haven’t written about yet was our excursion to the Netherlands. A good friend of ours (and many of you), Elaine, was finishing her internship and much to our enjoyment she invited us to stay with her on her last weekend in Utrecht. Patrick (Elaine’s bf.) was arriving and the four of us were planning on hanging for the weekend before they headed off to Asia for 5-6 months of travelling (their blog – written in English and German – can be found at: The trip was amazing! The Netherlands was a real gem of Europe, harbouring a population that I really felt a kinship with. They bike everywhere their friendliness was almost unparalleled. Apparently, around 50% of population in Amsterdam bikes to work on a daily basis and we were never made to feel anything except totally welcome.

dscf3832.JPG The perfect family transport :)

dscf3844.JPG Us in Utrecht

dscf3840.JPG Elaine Patrick and Claire in the bar at about 3am…only in Europe.

dscf3839.JPG A long, Dutch beer list – Wow!

dscf3848.JPG Claire and me at the very creative University in Utrecht

After this trip ended I wend back to Winti and Claire wend to Brussels to visit her cousin Kate. The photo below is from their attempt to try all the beers in Brussels – which is an even longer list than in Amsterdam!

dscf3866_907×680.jpg Kate and Claire

dscf3854_907×680.jpg Dinner in Brussels

Following that trip was a visit by Claire to Winterthur. She came, as normal, on Friday evening and we had a fun packed weekend. Saturday we took a trip to Säntis Park in St. Gallen. Säntis is a hot-springs pool. It is not really hot like a hot tub, but it is basically a big indoor/outdoor pool with water slides, and a wave maker. It was really cool to see and a fun relaxing trip, but Claire and I didn’t fit the typical demographic of either 1) a family or 2) a dating teenage couple. While I did my best to appear to fit #2, there’s just something about sitting in a public pool and making out for hours on end that I just seem to have lost the desire for. Strange.

p3130171.JPG Claire at Säntis park

p3130169.JPG Me at Säntis

The next day Claire and I went with my friend Lucie and one of her friends to Laax ski area in southeastern Switzerland. While Laax was a very impressive mountain, in size and and view it was shockingly expensive, blowing everyplace that I had been in France or Switzerland out of the water for cost. For me, this is a deal breaker on being labelled a must do for European skiing, however, it was obvious that there was one place where this resort could shine – the terrain park. It had both the fun little ones for Claire and me (which included a huge inflated mat after a jump that people with no experience could try anything they wanted on) to enormous jumps were we saw people doing inverted helicopters, back flips and spins – all on the same jump together! Very cool.

p3140174.JPG Claire at Laax

pano2.jpg Lucie’s friend, Claire and Lucie at Laax

This brings me to this weekend. I went to Grenoble and visited Claire last weekend and we spend the weekend together, just hanging out and allowing me to get a feel for what her life has been like in the last few months (she has been to Winti twice since Christmas, while I had not yet gone that way). I was then planning on going on a trip to Germany over Easter, but a tragedy changed my plans.

The passing of our good friend Tom Bennett made me want to be near family and friends, and for this reason I travelled back to Grenoble this weekend and from there travelled to the 3 Vallees ski areas with Claire to see Hermione. The three of us were good friends with Tom and felt that one of the best ways to remember him would be to ski hard and spend time together.

dscf3874.JPG This one’s for you Tom. You were taken from us too soon, but you will live on in our memories and hearts.

dscf3876.JPG Seth and Hermione at the top

Finally I want to just share a few photos from Switzerland.

p3210189.JPG A Swiss luftseilbahn, this form of transport shares a root with “Autobahn”…seems to be giving it a lot of credit to me!

p3210186.JPG Ronja, Adam and me riding up

pano.jpg We didn’t end up skiing on this trip…

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