Facing risks of cabin fever in the Pyrenees

19:24, Apr 10 2014
john laurenson
JOHN LAURENSON: Has adjusted to French life now.

Intrepid traveller John Laurenson has been living in Perigueux, France, and writing a travel blog while he is there.

The last couple of months have been absolutely hectic; my passport has been stamped to exhaustion.

I'm truly living the dream right now, travelling all over the show, taking it all in. I recently had a week skiing in the Pyrenees with my school, which was simply brilliant.

In New Zealand, I can ski every week in winter, so I consider myself to be quite accustomed to the mountain scene, but skiing in the Pyrenees was something else.

The mountains just go on and on into forever. We took three big chairlifts just to get to the start of the lesson.

There were gondolas, hotels and six-seater chairlifts dotted all over the show. Even the snow felt different.


I'm a snowboarder, but no lessons were offered for we 'bogans', so I converted and became a skier.

I hadn't skied since I was 12, and was a bit worried that my previous four years of cruising the mountain on a tray would cause me to forget how to ski, but it was just like riding a bike, and I quickly progressed through the levels.

My highlights from the week were skiing through a piece of forest, snowshoeing deep in the forest and playing the fool with my newfound mates back at the chalet.

The most interesting part of the week was Tuesday night.

The boys were starting to experience cabin fever, and got a bit rowdy that night.

Captain Responsible here was stacking z's at the time, so I'm not 100 per cent certain of all the details. All I know is that one of the lads woke up to a face full of shaving cream.

He wasn't particularly pleased about this, and neither were the teachers.

So at 1am every student on the camp was ushered out of bed, threw on some warm clothes and were told to go stand outside.

The aim of the game was this: Until someone admitted to the shaving cream incident, we would walk.

After each lap of the small village we were given the opportunity to confess. You would have thought after one, max two laps, we would have caught the villain.

We walked 4km, because nobody admitted to it. After four laps the teachers gave up. You could see from their faces that they didn't really know what to do; they were expecting to be outside for 10 minutes max, and they hadn't really planned for this outcome.

So we trudged back inside and back to sleep.

The Timaru Herald