Sub-zero morning. The car’s wind screen had frozen frost on it as my friend got ready to go to work. It needed scraping. I’m back in the couch, hearing the sound of pouring water in the small aquarium on the shelf to my right, and Yaya, the little one, running around with one of the kids’ toys. It seems the gold crown will no longer be a crown by the time kids get home.

Indoors, I am keeping myself warm with Uniqlo‘s heattech clothing. There are various variants of similar products from many brands nowadays, but I hear that it warms up only for 3 seconds when you put on your skin. Surprising what difference it makes, because since this technology, we all wear much lighter clothing in winter, a great news for travellers who could do with one less kilograms of weight on their backs.

on board TGV, from Paris to Lyon, Christmas morning

It makes me realise how mild the winter in Melbourne is. How often do I want to put the full gear – the thick down jacket, fleece under it and heattech under that, skarf, knit hat and leather gloves with fleece lining. How often would I realise the loss of heat from the glasspane so we wished we closed the shutter on the windows before going to bed?

Today is another easy day for me. After the warm day in Venezia when I almost did away with the coat, the cold air back in south-east France seems to have been a bit of shock to the system. Also, the fact that there was no hot water left in the tank after kids had a long bath in the afternoon did not help (the boiler runs only at night, to save energy cost).

When travelling, we often feel like making the best of every single day. Time is precious. We all know how many days’ leave we get in a year. We know the cost for airline ticket and the hotels. Well, unless you are lucky as I am to have friends who put me up. Anyhow, since each day is precious, and since you are on the other side of the world that is not easy to come to so often, it is a temptation to plan every day to full, make the best of it, and do all the things that can be possibly squeezed in.

Well, maybe I did that when I was a teenage traveller.

Nowadays, I do not really plan my holiday to start with. That is why EuRail Pass was a great idea  for the flexibility it comes with(until I realised how limited the seat allocations for Pass holders are, and I ended up paying full fee for some trains I take!). I feel a bit sick or weak, the best thing is to take it easy. Have plenty of sleep. Wrap myself in a blanket, with cats around me and stay warm. Take medicine early. Best I do that, rather than suffering from the consequences for longer and feeling miserable in sick bed.

So here I am, watching the horizon increase its colour and brightness. My leg is heavy though Yaya is definitely not as heavy as Pacha and he is very warm on my shins. MacBook is warming my thighs. I just need to get the laundry that run overnight to put on the rack under the heater, and the rest of my day will be slow.

It is a good place to be.