Not the Spandex-clad-crazy-person-slide-down-a-sheet-of-ice-as-seen-in-the-Olympics kind of luge, but the direct French translation of luge, which seems to be “sled.”
They have one here that wends through the woods between two villages. It’s about 15 minutes of zigs and zags and straight-aways and randomly placed jumps that made me giggle like a little girl all the way down. Most people do it by themselves, in these little hard plastic sleds. They are pretty fancy, with a place to hold your feet and two handbrakes/steering mechanisms, one on either side of the back controlled by pulling up on what look like ski pole handles.
For a child who is rather addicted to a video game called “Need For Speed,” this provided a real-world example of how going fast and wide on the turn can either put you in great position, or can fling you off the side into the trees. He taught me to take the turns tight into the center, then drift. After I had flown off one too many little jumps and bruised my bottom, Hans suggested I avoid the middle bits. Once at the bottom, we took the free gondola back up to the top and did it all over again.
You can’t believe how quickly you can go on these little sleds, and it just goes to show that the French are not concerned about lawsuits. Or spending money on sporting things.
For example, I’ve been skiing for 40 years. (Holy God!) I have never seen a man (or woman) parachuting down the slope, ultimately landing near me and skiing to a stop. I have now. Twice. I have never seen two men on skis, lashed together somehow, affixed to a paraglider. I have now. I have never seen a hot air balloon on a ski slope. (You know where this is going.) Or a “family park” where there is a giant pillow that people can ski down a run, hit a jump, and land onto without hurting themselves. I have also never seen people snowshoeing on the runs, or just walking along with snow boots and poles, enjoying the scenery at the top of the lift. I have now.
I have also never seen a great little device that heats up the top of an enormous slab of brie-like cheese, that is then scraped off in a pile of goo and slathered onto your baguette. Add a bit of salami and sliced tomato, and you are in sandwich heaven. Another Savoir dish involves a large tart dish in which chicken, onions, and bacon are topped with some kind of amazing cheese that I’ve never heard of that is baked in the oven. Heart healthy? No. Flavorful? Oui.
But then, this is why we travel. To see what we normally do not.