Here’s what Freddy, aged 10, had to say about his trip this summer…
I couldn’t believe my ears when Mum asked whether I would like to go to France by myself. It was intended that I would go with friends but they couldn’t come. Mum wasn’t sure that I really wanted to go by myself so she gave me three nights to think about it. I couldn’t sleep with excitement and every day I told her I wanted to go.
Reality struck the night before my departure. I was terrified. I had been so looking forward to travelling by myself (especially the chance to choose something off the trolley on the aeroplane) that I hadn’t really thought about what would happen when I was in France.
At the airport I knew I could change my mind and stay at home but I waved goodbye and headed for the plane. Swiss Air gave us chocolates and ice-cream, which was nice. It seemed like a long journey but was only an hour and a half.
Mum had booked me with Mountain Adventure Camps in the French Alps. It wasn’t a French camp but there would be a bit of French every morning followed by some fun activities.
I knew I would be the youngest person there and Mum warned me that all the others would swear when the adults weren’t listening. She was very worried that I would be homesick and that she would have to jump on a plane and rescue me.
I was met at Geneva airport by a man called Dougie who was all smiles, and drove me, with some other kids to the chalet. It was really exciting because when we arrived the chalet was above the clouds.
The chalet was really nice and I unpacked my stuff in a small room, which I was sharing with a boy called Nathaniel, 11, who had come to the camp with his older brother. We were allowed to chill out before a delicious supper, which was spaghetti and meatballs. Afterwards we went to bed and I was really homesick. All I could think of was my bedroom at home and wondered why I had agreed to come.
We were woken up to have breakfast at 8.15 and then French lessons which weren’t bad at all. One day we did French prepositions by a lake, which was way more fun than doing it at school. Another time we went to the market to buy ingredients for the mountain dish Tartiflette – Reblochon, jambon, oignons, pommes de terre and so on. It was worth it because Tim, our chef, was astounding.
Every afternoon we had an activity. I loved the hiking. Our hiking guide Pip knew the names of all sorts of mountain stuff. That night we made a camp on the mountain. We played games like Capture the Flag in the woods and we had a bonfire and cooked burgers and marshmallows which were delicious.
We also went mountain biking and white water rafting which was amazing. We had to wear wet suits and do a fun safety drill which meant falling in to the water which was icy cold. We had to get up really early one day to go to Tignes to ski on the glacier. I love skiing but it was weird skiing in August. And we went to an adventure park where there were lots of zip wires and obstacles – sometimes I was a bit scared.
The staff at the chalet were really nice and fun. One night we were kidnapped by pirates and taken on a treasure hunt. We found the treasure in the tips jar in a French bar and the French people were surprised to see us there.
We were so busy that I was shocked when it was Friday and I had to leave for home the next day. I really want to go back next year.
Freddy is a regular children’s book reviewer for Scholastic publishers.
Thanks Freddy, we’re pleased you enjoyed your stay and appreciate your review.
Hopefully we’ll get to see you next year. Matt, Rachel, Dougie, Tim & Pip.