Earlier this week, my team went on a work retreat in the French Alps. (Typing that sentence did not make it seem any more like a real thing that actually happened.) Morzine is only around an hour’s drive from Geneva, but I had never been to that part of France, much less stayed in a chalet or hiked in the Alps, so it was honestly a pretty incredible experience.
We stayed in this chalet for two nights. It was exactly what you’d imagine a chalet to be like — rustic, cozy, packed with alcohol and warmed by a crackling fireplace.
The view from the porch was foggy due to rain all week, but that just added to the ethereal charm.
There was a looooot of whiskey.
I was the last person to take my stuff upstairs and found that my teammates had left me the best room. Score! I even had my own little balcony. The only wrinkle was that I found a live bee on my bed upon entering the room and started freaking out, but one of my incredibly chill teammates simply lifted it from the bed using her phone and deposited it outside. That’s the one thing I still haven’t gotten used to — it seems in this part of the world there’s an abundance of bees, bugs, and other scary but admittedly harmless creatures. I am always chasing them out the window at work, too.
That first afternoon we hiked up a mountain in the sleepy little town of Graydon. The owner of the chalet let his beagle come with us, and she was a real troublemaker, sprinting up and down the hills and chasing cows. We worried at times that she wasn’t going to come home with us, five strangers who had abducted her, but in the end she did.
Below: spot the beagle!
The following day was endlessly rainy, so we stayed inside for a full day of work meetings. The only time we left was for lunch; it took a while to find a place that was open, since most restaurants were closed for the off-season.
These wine bottles were absolutely massive. I’m talking ‘larger than your head’ massive. I was so curious as to whether they were real or just fun displays.
I ordered a ‘pizza Morzinoise’ just to see what a pizza with potatoes would taste like. Spoiler: it was okay.
The next day it stopped raining for a bit, so we drove to a nearby lake for a team walk.
One of my teammates had actually gotten married at this very location, during the summertime. The muggy photos truly don’t do the place justice.
In conclusion: I really, really, really like the mountains. The air is sweeter to breathe, the only noises are cow bells, and the atmosphere is so calm and still, you really start to lose track of time and the rest of the world. I was thinking about how we had come during the perfect season, since there weren’t any tourists, but then it occurred to me that perhaps every season in the Alps is perfect in its own way. I’m particularly excited to see the snow; I’ve already booked a weekend trip to Zermatt in December and can’t wait to see the Matterhorn in person.