One of the best things about living in Toulouse is that I am only a mere few hours drive away from the Pyrenees. As someone who has been brought up in probably one of the flattest countries on earth, I have been so lucky to be able to spend time in the mountains whilst on my year abroad. If you haven’t seen my posts Serenity in Saillans or Pyrenees paradise then make sure to check them out to find out about my previous trips to the French mountains, because they were some of the most beautiful places I have ever visited!
This time round, my high altitude adventure was actually going to involve some skiing. Growing up, I haven’t been skiing very often simply because it is usually SO expensive. I have been lucky enough to go twice with my secondary school, but four years on and I was itching to get back on the horse (well, skis).
Being a pre-Brexit languages student, I still benefit from the wonders of Erasmus, and being part of the Erasmus network in Toulouse is what made this whole trip possible. For just €130, I got an all-inclusive ski package for two full days skiing and an overnight stay including travel, accommodation, food, a party (with free alcohol all night), ski-hire, ski boots and helmet hire and ski pass. If you’ve ever been skiing before, then your mouth probably dropped open whilst reading that list. Yep, the Erasmus Network here is nothing short of amazing. So long story short, this was an offer I couldn’t refuse!
The only thing I needed to buy for this trip was, of course, ski gear. So I headed down to Decathlon to see what bargains I could get.
I managed to get a jacket, salopettes, gloves, goggles, and socks for €88, which is pretty amazing if you ask me, considering most jackets alone cost over €100, and I personally LOVE the way my outfit looked all together.
My favourite bargain was the trousers, the cheapest women’s trousers were black and quite thin, so I took a quick look in the children’s section. Lo and behold, I managed to fit into these age 14 ski trousers, meaning I got them for just €14! Plus, the white looked so much better with my full outfit. This is probably the only time I’ve been happy that I still look like a child…
The first day we got the coach at 7am and arrived at the accommodation in the ski resort of Saint-Lary-Soulan by 10:30. Our hostel was quite basic as expected, but it was right on the mountainside, meaning that firstly, the views were amazing, and secondly, we only had a five minute walk to the slopes (or 10 minutes in painful ski boots).
After promptly sorting out all of our ski gear, we were on the slopes in no time. When it comes to skiing, it’s very true when people say it’s just like riding a bike. The first time you put those ridiculously long planks on the end of your feet, you lose most of the control you thought you had over your body, making for a hilarious first day on the slopes. I’m talking, so-funny-that-your-abs-hurt hilarious. However, once you have been skiing, you don’t seem to lose it, so even after my long break from the mountains, I was able to pick it up again pretty quickly!
I feel like someone was really looking out for us this weekend because the weather was AMAZING both days. Full sun and pleasant temperatures, we couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Of course, a crucial part of skiing is the obligatory afternoon lunch and a pint. The first day we enjoyed a beer at the bottom of the mountain.
On the second day we found some great bars on the slopes. I love going to these places because they have such amazing views, and there’s nothing better than drinking in the sun!
We managed to have two full days of skiing over the weekend. What I loved about this trip was how free it was, we were left to our own groups to do as much or as little as we wanted! This meant we could choose our favourite slopes, trying out different sides of the mountain and finding routes that were not only great to ski down, but had the nicest views!
After two full days on the busy slopes, desperately trying not to crash into the little children that were practically whizzing between my legs, it’s safe to say that my body was aching in places that I didn’t even know I had muscles. I was so sad to leave the Pyrenees, but after hearing that my university do day trips there for crazily discounted prices, I’m hoping this won’t be my last time on the slopes this year!
I don’t have much more to say in this post other than how lucky I feel to have been able to go on a trip like this during my year abroad. Being an Erasmus student opens up SO many opportunities and I still have so much more I want to do on my year in France. If it’s a possibility for you and you’re considering going on a year abroad then I urge you to DO IT! If photos like these aren’t enough to convince you then at least take my word for it.
Have you been on any amazing trips this year? I’d love to know in the comments!
P.s. Follow my Instagram for more photos of my travels, I have exciting trips coming up that I can’t wait to share with you!