As the heavy wooden door swung open we were hit by the wondrous smell of larch wood. “Shoes off right now please!” I wailed helplessly after the children as they ran through the entrance area like a charging herd of buffalo. It was a well thought-out space, with plenty of hooks and shelf space with a long bench running the whole length through. There was even a second row of hooks at child height, which was sadly ignored by the boys as they threw their jackets on the floor and sprinted into the chalet.
I soon learned that there are three phases to moving into a chalet. The first part is one of Exploration and Decisions. We had already had a pre-discussion on who would be sleeping where and why. Paying no attention to such boring logic, the kids ran straight into the room with four bunk beds and decided to make camp. The adults went more methodically through each floor, looking into all the rooms and figuring out which room they wanted to negotiate for. Thankfully, they were all great options with plenty of storage space and access to good-sized bathrooms. The downstairs rooms had wooden beams running across the ceiling, access to the lower level garden and either a fabulous view across the valley or a promise of morning sunrise over the distant mountain peaks. The two upstairs had a charm of their own as they were set into the exposed rafters. Although we all secretly understood that we were not actually intending to use it, we were all excited at the prospect of there being a sauna in the chalet.
The second phase of moving in is the Grand Unpacking. The kitchen was large, modern and well-stocked. We pulled open cupboard after cupboard to discover pots, pans, raclette machines, fondue sets, mixing and baking kit, more glasses, bowls and mugs than we could hope to use and even a champagne bucket. I loved the huge double fridge with its multitude of large vegetable drawers and its ice-machine. The fact that the kitchen was so well-stocked presented the first challenge. Each family had brought supplies. Where was there an empty cupboard tall enough to store enough breakfast cereal for a horde of eight hungry holidaymakers? The next challenge was trying to get the hob to work, before realising that my precious pan of homemade chilli was not actually compatible with the induction hob.
The final phase is setting up the Moment of Calm. Once the children had been fed, bathed, storied and put to bed with promises of a holiday jam-packed with adventure, the chalet took on a calm, serene feel. Within minutes, the fire was lit, the wine was poured and the adults collectively took a deep sigh of relaxation. Snuggled up on the deep, comfy sofas, with music drifting from the stereo dock we let go of all the daily stresses and strains and allowed ourselves to be enveloped by the magic of the mountains.