We were up early in Innsbruck and down to the station for a 9 o'clock train to Geneva. We had a 3 hour journey to Zurich, then a quick change and a similar distance to Genava airport. Again the journey seemed to fly by as we had been used to longer voyages earlier in our trip, and there was so much scenery to take in along the way as we passed numerous lakes and mountains. We were both particularly excited (especially Amy) when we found out that the second train was a double decker. We had seen them throughout our trip, but never had to go on one until now.
Amy's aunt Sian picked us up at the airport and took us back to the house in Gex, which is a small town on the French side of the border, just outside of Geneva. The rest of the family were out when we reached the house as it was still early afternoon on a weekday, so we helped Sian move a few items around for an antiques sale she was hosting in the house over the next couple of days.
We met the rest of the family later in the evening (Amy's uncle Peter, and cousins Jack, Louis and Ned), then went to walk the dog with Pete up on a local hill, where we got a great view of Lake Geneva and, beyond it, Mont Blanc (which we could also see from our bedroom). We had a curry for tea, which was great as we hadn't had one for a while, then got an early night as we had arranged to ski the next day.
The next morning Sian took us up to the ski resort, which was only about 20 minutes drive up the mountainside. We had borrowed all our ski gear and passes from Sian and Pete, so the entire day was free, which was great as we couldn't have afforded to do this type of thing on our budget. We started off on the baby slopes, where Sian showed us how to turn and stop using 'the plough', before leaving us to our own devices while she continued preparing for her sale.
After a few hours getting to grips with the concept of sliding downhill on sticks, we stopped for lunch then decided to give the full size slope a go (The blue track is easiest apparently). I didn't make the best start when I didn't sit on the drag lift quickly enough, so I ended up getting dragged by my arms for the first couple of hundred metres. Once we were up there we started to head down a slope and comfortably took a few corners in a row going really fast. It was only once we saw a 'slow' sign that we realised the plough is useless at speed so Amy skiied up a hill to stop, whilst I tactically crashed into a snow drift and ended up 40ft from my skis. The rest of the slope was much steeper than we were capable of manouvering down, so we walked instead. It was only once we reached the bottom that an attendant told us we had gone down an intermediate slope. Pete picked us up afterwards and we went home for tea and another early night.
Sian's sale was up and running the next day, so Pete dropped us off in Geneva. The wind was much stronger today and, unlike the last few days, it was bloody freezing. We had a wander around the town, but anywhere on the lakefront was far to cold, so we got a bus back to Gex in mid-afternoon. In the evening the entire family went out for a meal in a restaurant that only serves chicken, with no variation of dishes. After a while pondering the menu we settled with chicken.
The next day the sale was still on in the morning so Pete dropped us off at the ski resport again. After a morning back down on the baby slopes regaining our confidence, I somehow managed to teach myself parallel turning without conciously wanting to, which makes turning and stopping infinately easier. After lunch we went up to the top again and made sure we went down the right slope this time. We went down a couple of times easily enough, even though we were slow, then I got really confident and started going off piste slightly along the way. Halfway down I went up a small rise before sliding along a plateau for a few metres, before realising I was heading straight in to jagged rocks. I skiied across them for a second before loosing my balance and grazing my backside. 2 weeks later and it's still slightly bruised. In the evening we watched the 6 nations deciders over pizza with a few family friends then I watched match of the day with Jack before bed.
On Sunday morning I got up early to go for a bike ride with Pete and a few of his friends, which is a weekly tradition for them. Someone had a spare road bike I could borrow so we went off for an hour over rolling countryside (past Michael Schumacher's farm on the way). When we got back Amy had recently risen.
The weather had been really nice over the last couple of days, so in the afternoon the whole family went down onto the lake to go sailing. We sailed over towards Geneva and docked near the Jet D'eau, before walking to a local park. Everyone else stayed there whilst Jack, Amy and I went to watch the Liverpool game at a local Isrish bar. A pint got the equivalent of 6 pounds, but we won 5-0 so I was slightly placated. In the evening we spent a bit of time updaint our blog photos before bed.
On Monday Sian took us up to try out cross country skiing. It was good fun, but quite difficult to get used to, and totally different to downhill. As it was really warm, we found it much more tiring than we probably expected. In the afternoon we walked in to Gex and reserved a tickets for the night train to Florence on Tuesday evening. As we had our interrail tickets already, it only cost 25 pounds each to reserve a couchette.
On our last day in Gex, we woke up to find the temperature had dropped and it was snowing slightly, so we decided against our initial plan of an early morning walk. Instead we had a lazy morning before getting the train to Lausanne (just along the lake from Geneva), and heading to the Olympic museum (The IOC is based in Lausanne). It was pretty good and relatively cheap, and they had all sorts of memorobilia.
Later on in the evening we made sure we had everything packed up and had sausage and mash for tea before heading to the train station. We had a 9 hour overnight journey that would take us to Florence.