Monday, 2 April 2012

Not skiing in Åre and 'old' friends

This pretty mountain train terminus is one of my favourite buildings in Åre village.
I've just come back from a skiing holiday to Sweden, where we'd planned to spend most of the time on the beautiful pistes of Åre. In the event I got only a few days on the mountains, because unseasonably warm weather brought rain, strong winds and melting snow.

It looked hopeful at night when we had a fresh covering of snow...

But in the morning the snow had turned into rain.

Each day more of the snow was disappearing off the mountain and down streams towards the Åre lake in the valley.
But the point of the holiday really wasn't the skiing alone. My ten day stay in Åre ended with a long weekend with my 'old' girlfriends.

I consider myself very lucky in that I have loyal group of friends from school who over the years have made the effort for us all to keep in touch. In the first years when I lived in England I was very bad at this, and things got even worse when my children were born. But my friends are a determined bunch (particularly one - you know who you are!) and didn't give up on me.

I love this home ware and clothing store.

There are five of us and in the last few years we've managed to meet at least once per year. We've had lunches in Helsinki, weekends in London, Paris, Rome, Athens and Åre in Northern Sweden, but to name few of our 'girly trip' destinations. It's rare that all five can make a 'meet', but this year, first time in four years, we were all re-united for a skiing holiday with no skiing...

Instead of spending the days on the pistes, we laughed much, watched some silly DVD's (Bridesmaids), and shopped together in the chic shops in the little village of Åre. We swam in the nearby hotel pool, bathed in my friend's genuine Finnish sauna (something not always available in Sweden) and lolled in her hot tub afterwards - giggling like the girls we were when we met at sixteen - while enjoying a glass (or two) of champagne and ignoring the cold drizzle falling on us. We talked about everything and anything. At times I had to remind myself that we were no longer teenagers and at school; that we were serious grown-ups with some of us having grown-up children ourselves.

And last weekend as I came home to the summery London weather from a wet non-skiing holiday, I felt incredibly refreshed, but not in a way one usually does, with aching legs and the feeling that you've really done some serious excercise. No, this time it was my mind and soul that had had the holiday.

Thank you dear, dear friends. I cannot wait for our next outing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My facial and stomach muscles were exercised by laughing, I guess that counts too...
Next year we may even do some skiing :-)