One of my aims for the year abroad was to improve my fitness and join a sports club. Unfortunately joining my company’s basketball club wasn’t such a successful idea as it was mainly frequented by 6 foot+ men, many of whom had previously played professionally. Despite this, France is really perfect for all kinds of sport, especially the southwest. Pau is an hour away from the mountains for hiking, skiing and snowboarding and an hour or so away from the beach, for surfing, sailing and canoeing – perfect! You just need a car. Good thing I have some nice friends. So here is what I have tried my hand at during my stay here, bearing in mind, however, that I have only really experienced the typical hockey-tennis-athletics English school curriculum mix, so all my experiences are new. I was never the best at sport at school but I gave everything a go and although I often failed miserably in front of more competent and physically fitter French people, I had a great time. The most important thing? It’s to say yes! (providing that you have some good insurance)
Rock climbing is the kind of sport where you really need to be with people who know what they’re doing. Luckily I had some great colleagues who had all the right gear and some useful tips. So I successfully made it to the top of this rock.
This is such an exhilarating experience but it’s important to be a strong, confident swimmer. Surfing can really take it out of you! It’s fairly easy to get started and ride with the waves whilst lying on the board but I have yet to stand up whilst riding the waves… which admittedly is the main point of the sport. Just knees for now.
Never done this before. Like England, France has many, many equestrian centres who are very welcoming to beginners. This was my first time on a horse.
I had never been on the typical family skiing holiday like all my friends, so I was excited to be living so close to the mountains and having the chance to have a go without spending a fortune. After many falls I was taken down a terrifying green slope on my first day and I survived!
There is no better way to explore the Pyrenees. This photo was taken at an elevation of about 2,300 m .