Winter Wonderland in Chamonix

My dear friend Juliette has been inviting us to her family’s holiday house in the Alps for as long as I can remember. And somehow we’ve never managed to organise it. But unemployment is bliss in that it gives me all the free time in the world to do some travelling and spend time with friends (granted the flights are cheap) so I don’t have to think about the fact I’m unemployed.

A couple of weeks ago, Megan and I finally stepped into Juliette’s Winter Wonderland. We spent a weekend wrapped up in blankets by the fire, playing boardgames and drinking Nutella hot chocolates while the sky would not stop pouring snowflakes.

Crisp and airy waffles for breakfast, red wine spiked stews for dinner and some fondue savoyarde along the way, I must say I was in heaven and wished for the weekend to go on. But as ever, I have the photos that take me back to the cosiness of that living room, and of course the epic igloo we built.

 

Ha Long Bay

I wasn’t able to enjoy the surreal views of Ha Long Bay my first time there, nestled in my mom’s cosy uterus. So I went back, ready to be blown away by the hundreds of rocks emerging from the turquoise sea. I wasn’t disappointed.

There’s something magical about this little corner of the world… So magical the Vietnamese have a mythological explanation for it: under yet another Chinese invasion, the Vietnamese were helped by the dragon whose tail struck the water. Hundreds of rocks emerged for the Chinese ships to collide with before sinking to the depths of the sea.

A little throwback to 1993. Vietnam had just recently opened its door to foreigners. My parents and grandparents stayed on a small boat and drifted through the bay, sleeping under the stars huddled in blankets. Ha Long Bay was peaceful, and quiet, and fully theirs to explore.

I will only ever be able to experience this through my grandfather’s home movies, because Vietnam has drastically changed in the past 20 years and such adventures are simply left for me to imagine them. The two day cruise through Ha Long Bay remains nonetheless a wonderful opportunity to be wonderstruck before nature.

Our trip was unfortunately cut short by the threatening typhoon that disrupted the following part of our journey down South but we made the most of our time on the cruise, sipping on mango juice at sun set.