Hello, I’m the Co-operative Travel’s friendly globetrotting Gecko. I come from a hot and sunny country – and I love visiting a lot of fun and interesting places. And while on my travels, I’ll be updating this travel blog with all my fun-filled adventures!
Celebrate New Year in TignesSo, I recently celebrated New Year’s Eve in the French ski resort of Tignes. Wow, these guys really know how to throw a party! An amazing pop-rock festival on the highest dance floor in Europe, then a huge fireworks show - amazing!
Since then? I’ve had the time of my life. Sure, dealing with the cold has been a little tough (us geckos prefer a tropical climate) but hey, this whirlwind trip is all about new experiences.
So, if you fancy getting your New Year started in Tignes, here are 5 big reasons why you should book today.
1. Sensational skiingThe first thing I realised about snow and ice? It’s very cold. And very slippy! So first thing’s first, I booked myself in for some skiing lessons. Turns out I was in the right place to learn.
Tignes has some of the best skiing anywhere in Europe, and some of the world’s most extensive “off-piste” runs (which, apparently, advanced skiers love).
But luckily, there are also loads of easy runs for total newbies like me. Plus, you can book yourself on a beginners skiing class to master the basics - oh, and apparently the snowboarding in Tignes is also spectacular. But maybe I’ll leave that until my next ski trip - one step at a time ‘n’ all.
2. Fun for everyoneI loved my skiing lesson, but there are so many other fun things to do here! Ice skating, night time snowmobiling (scary but fun!) karting on ice, paragliding ... for a thrill-seeking gecko like me - this place is amazing.
They even have dog sledding - which most people love. But I don’t think dogs like geckos. One of the little ones barked at me and another one took my scarf and ran off! All part of the travel experience I guess - and, as it turns out, there are loads of other exciting things to do here that don’t involve snow or ice.
Indoor swimming pools, gymnasiums, advanced fitness classes … anyone who’s had too much wine and cheese can do a little exercise and instantly make themselves feel better - but as you know, us geckos like lounging around in the warm - and here in Tignes, there are loads of Jacuzzis, saunas, spas and steam baths - the kind of places to make a gecko feel right at home!
3. Amazing food and drinkNow, as a gecko, I’m used to a diet of crickets and mealworms. Boring! But after a hard day of skiing, you need a lot more energy to keep yourself going. In Tignes, there are over 20 different places to eat, from fancy restaurants (where you get all dressed up) to warm chalet-style brasseries with log fires. Cosy!
Anyway, I got a bit over excited on my first day and ate a little bit too much. First, I went to Bar Du Village Montana for pastries and creamy hot chocolate, then for lunch at L'Armailly for pizza and tart tatin with cinnamon ice cream. Yum!
Finally, I went to a fancy French restaurant called Chalet Bouvier for dinner. They do lots of juicy steaks, but I wanted to try something called a ‘raclette’, which basically involves melting lots of gooey cheese over grilled meats and vegetables. It’s a sensation!
After all that food, I ended up in Crowded House - a funky bar where loads of people go to end the night for a drink or 2. I’m teetotal myself, so I ended up drinking lots of hot chocolate instead. They were delicious, but after a little while, my tummy felt funny and I had to lie down - that ninth cup was probably a mistake.
4. Alpine cosinessI usually make do sleeping under a rock, or a big damp log, but in Tignes? The places you can sleep are so much nicer. A lot of people choose the cosy ski chalets right near the slopes. For big groups or families, they’re perfect. You can hop out of bed and be whizzing down the slopes in minutes.
Anyway, I decided to go all out. There are a lot of luxury hotels here and I went for one called Maison Bouvier. It’s a 5-star hotel (I’ve learnt they’re the fanciest kind) and everyone holds the door open for you and calls you ‘sir’ - I could get used to this sort of treatment!
5. Endless eventsAs if all the skiing, outdoor adventures and activities weren’t enough, Tignes also has loads of events going on throughout the year. This month, the resort is holding Red Bull Linecatcher - a huge freestyle ski and freeride snowboard competition where the world’s big names come to compete (I’m already training for next year).
Then at the end of January, it’s the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup. And during the rest of 2016, there’s a wine festival, live music concerts, theatre and dance performances … the list is endless!
If the rest of my year wasn’t so packed with other travel plans I’d definitely stick around for a while. Anyway, time to move on - next stop, the Caribbean!
Published 27th April 2016