A First Timer’s Summer Holiday In The Alps

If I am to be completely honest I had not been on holiday for years and I was long overdue a break. Therefore, it was time for me to take a week out, which was exactly what I needed to relax and unwind.

I decided to take a holiday to Les Gets in August 07, one of the premier Ski holiday resorts in France during the winter period, but in the summer, it is mountain bike holidays get away, legendary enough to make my mountain biker friend green with envy

I had never travelled alone before so I walked through the entrance of Luton airport like a rabbit in headlights. I had to ask six different people if I had joined the right baggage queue. I was petrified that I would lose my suitcase, as it was a good quality suitcase! Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about and was soon reunited with it.

Les Gets is the largest mountain bike holidays resort around with trails suitable for beginners through to expert level. Now, when I say experts, I mean excellent experts, as the resort is reputed to host many high profile biking events. With well over a hundred kilometres of downhill and cross-country trails, Les Gets is the mountain biker’s dream and thrill-seekers joy.

Driving through the French Alps, the transfer from the airport took me through some stunning countryside scenery, with beautiful mountains in the background; this was my first time sightseeing mountains up close and it was fantastic. This truly is the best place for a first timer’s mountain bike holiday.

Being a lone traveller, the staffs at the Hotel Chammois were friendly, helpful with information on activities and opportunities for me to meet people. My room was comfortable, complete with a balcony; perfect for a spot of early morning sunbathing, which feels odd when you are up in the mountains!

Now admittedly I am not a mountain biker, or a sports based person in general; I went on holiday to relax and Les Gets is surrounded by amazing mountain views. A gentle bustling town with wonderful cafes, creperies and bakeries was more than enough to help relieve my stress, and that was before I discovered the lake. Set half way up a mountain the lake is open for swimming and is the perfect place to unwind or to rest your biking bruises. There are also several late night bars and restaurants, for those resilient enough to want more entertainment after a day of hard biking.

By Wednesday, my stress levels were dropping nicely and I was craving for some excitement. White water rafting is just one of the ranges of activities the reps can help you organise. A short drive from Les Gets (the reps are armed with mini busses) me and the rest of the rafters were kitted out with wet suits, helmets and paddles, organised into groups of eight, given instructions to get us down the river and then set off down the rapids with a crazy Frenchman as our captain.

Until you have been rafting with crazy Frenchmen, you really do not know how much fun you can have in a 14ft dingy! With high excitement all the way down the river, the best part was stopping half way to jump off a huge rock, right into the rapids. What a rush! In addition, professional photos of our voyage were available for a small fee afterwards. This for me was a truly great day.

After all that excitement, I headed back up to the lake for my last few days of soaking up the sun. I must advise, if you are planning on working on that tan, make sure you pack your sunscreen as the breeze keeps you cool but does not stop you from burning. The flight home is rather uncomfortable with a sunburnt bum!

Therefore, whether you are looking of a bit of relaxed fun or an intense mountain bike holiday you can experience the best of both worlds in Les Gets.

Anna Stenning enjoys going on mountain bike holidays and regularly takes a break abroad to try out different activities. For more information on sporting holidays visit http://www.alpineelements.co.uk/mountain-biking-holidays.html

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