Travels With Romance: Snow Vs. Sun
Avril Tremayne's extolling the virtues of a vacation in the snow, and Kristina Knight's telling us what's wonderful about vacationing in the sunshine.
Avril Tremayne - A Vacation in the Snow
I live in Sydney, Australia, a city of incredible beaches. In fact, all of Australia (and I’ve holidayed in every state and territory of the country) has incredible beaches. I’ve also sampled more than the average person’s quota of beaches in Indonesia, Thailand, the USA, France, Italy, Greece, New Zealand, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Tahiti… Okay, Avril, we get the picture, shut up!
So I feel qualified to say that beach holidays kind of…suck.
Unless, that is, you like to be hot (not the sexy variety). Sweaty (not talking about a ladylike shimmer). Sticky (block out clogging up pores). Sunburned (you’re always going to miss at least one patch of skin with that noxious block out). Have a penchant for lukewarm white wine (you simply cannot keep that stuff cold at the beach, even if you shove your glass full of undignified ice cubes). Let’s not meander down the demoralizing path of purchasing a swimsuit, either.
And the coup de grâce? All the frolicking outdoors that a beach holiday requires means it lacks a sense of…mystery. Everything’s hanging out, all your skin exposed, your living public, under a glaring sun or a humid moon. And as a person who’s had the occasional ‘intimate moment’ interrupted by people on a nighttime prawning mission—shudder—I know what I’m talking about!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much a sucker for a bit of life al fresco as the next person, but I like it to come with at least an option of disappearing indoors without feeling like I’m cheating myself out of half the holiday.
Enter… The snow holiday.
Want to get out amongst nature? Go right ahead. Ski/snowboard down some powdered slopes, telemark in the wilderness, toboggan down a hill, ice skate on a frozen lake, build a snowman, make a snow angel, have a snowball fight, et cetera, et cetera. But when you’ve had enough of that adventurous stuff, you can move onto what is, in my opinion, the best part: après-ski.
Think cosy cabins; roaring fires; cheese fondue; toasted marshmallows; no-need-to-keep-it-chilled red wine (or better yet, a fabulous cognac). Wearing winter clothes (yay!), only to slowly remove them preparatory to sinking slowly into a hot tub, ready to ease the cramps from those tense muscles that have been slaloming their way down a picturesque, fir-tree-dotted mountain… Or at the very least, enjoy a moment in the steam of a sauna with your beloved, sans stray prawning-obsessed families!
And here’s a true book story. The first novel I ever read that contained a romance was White Holiday, by Viola Bayley. It was written before I was born—1955—so I have no idea how I ever got my hands on it, but I thank my lucky stars I did. It’s a story about two British teenagers (the lovely Rosamund and her young brother, the energetic Will) who are invited on an out-of-the-blue holiday to Switzerland, where they meet handsome Swiss champion skier, Otto, and soon find themselves embroiled in a mystery that threatens Otto’s life.
Hijinks of both the ski and après-ski variety ensue, with Rosamund and Otto falling in love as all three intrepid adventurers solve a mystery. Seriously, there’s no coming back from that! A beach just doesn’t cut it. I will one day name a heroine Rosamund, I have had a significant (if brief) relationship with a Swiss skier, and to this day, a book with snow on the cover is guaranteed to twitch my finger over the ‘buy’ button.
Kristina Knight - A Vacation in the Sun
I do agree there are only a few things better than snuggling up with someone special before a roaring fire… At least, once your tootsies have unfrozen. It’s the freezing of the tootsies, though, that has me leaning toward sun-filled vacations every time.
I especially like warm-weather vacations because we usually vacation in the winter. And why would I go from cold and snowy Lake Erie to cold and snowy Somewhere Else? We are very lucky that we live in a place where a lot of people do vacation—during the summer months, naturally—so we get to take in the amusement parks, the beaches, and the all the other needs-to-be-warm tourist draws in the summer. Winter, though, is brutal here. Snow, snow, freezing rain, more snow. So when it comes time to vacation the last thing I want to do is slip on another pair of boots, five layers of undergarments, a thick parka, and try to keep warm.
Here are my top five reasons to choose the sun when you vacation:
1. Hammock naps. No one at K2 is napping in a hammock before climbing. Seriously, is there anything better than the feel of the warm sun on your skin, a cold drink in your hand, and an afternoon of doing nothing but enjoying those two things?
2. Going night swimming. Whether you feel the need to skinny dip or not, night swimming is one of those romantic escapes we write about in our books… And no one is going night swimming at Vail in January.
3. Picnics. A beach, a blanket, some fresh fruit, maybe a little wine… You see where I’m going with this one.
4. The beach. Speaking of the beach, taking a walk along the shore at sunset—or sunrise, if you’ve stayed out all night—is a moment you’ll remember for the rest of your life. And it’s a moment you won’t find even at the best ski chalet!
5. The laid back atmosphere. Even in the hippest ski resort, you’re going to find people attached to their phones, calling in to work. There is something about hitting a tropical resort, though, that reminds people to leave the phone in the hotel room, and that inspires people to truly disconnect from work and worries and to reconnect to one another.
I’m not going to lie. If someone offered me an all expenses paid trip to Aspen this winter, I wouldn’t turn it down… But if that same someone offered me a choice between all-expenses-paid Aspen and all-expenses-paid Hawaii, it would be Hawaii every time. Beaches, a warm breeze, that spells vacation to me.