Living the dream

Five months living in Chamonix, it had to be just that. Getting up, eating fresh croissants from the boulangerie, then all day spent riding some of the best terrain in Europe. Every Saturday, I shopped for fresh organic fruit and vegetables in place Mont Blanc, bought kilos of Tomme de Savoie cheese and found one euro “vin chaud” . Being a member of the public library (mediatheque) was a massive plus. I could borrow not only books, but CD’s and DVD’s and it had free WiFi. At night I would get to know the locals over a glass of beer, occasionally attending their parties.


The flat below me was home to a twenty something baker who worked nights, below that was a Chemist’s Shop. On his days off he’d share drinks with friends and play music. But the apartments were lacking efficient sound deadening. Most weeks between the hours of 2 am and 4 am, I would be wakened by the strangest beats on the planet. I’d drag myself out of bed get semi dressed and make my way to my neighbour’s apartment and practice my French for, “Would you mind turning down the volume?” Sometimes polite, sometimes angry and sometimes adding “I will call the police”, depending on how upset I was. Next day, I’d be too tired to catch the first lifts.

I’d like to say more, positive and negative. What I will say is; “It was living the dream”.

This post has been entered into the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.

Drinking with the locals


A discussion on a Travel Bulletin Board led to my meeting with Karin, a native Municher. I had never met her before, so when I arrived in the city, I phoned and arranged to meet her where Rosenheimstrasse meets the bridge over the River Isar. I parked and phoned her again to say I was at our rendez-vous point. “Where are you exactly?” she enquired? I scanned for a landmark or street sign. “Einbahnstraße” I replied. She laughed, “That means One Way Street!”. I walked towards the bridge and saw Karin dressed in a fetching dirndl. We hugged hello and headed for Theresienwiese via the U-Bahn.
The large tents and insane fun fair surprised me, but there was more to come.  Karin suggested the Augustiner-Festhalle, because she preferred their brew, a great reason at a beer festival!  As we walked there she explained that the Hofbräu-Festzelt attracted the most tourists but revellers often got too rowdy. We squeezed onto a table full of locals, most dressed in lederhosen or dirndls and soon the whole table chatted as if we had known each other years. The oom-pah band played traditional German songs, the beer flowed, we ate pretzels, the singing got louder, more people stood up and raised their glasses. My highlight was 8,000 people singing “Smoke on the Water” accompanied by the Brass Band while we stood precariously on trestle stools holding our litres of beer. A memorable night, thanks to Karin’s local insight.

This post has been entered into the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition