Besides the huge time zone difference, which makes you numb for a while, I arrived in Beijing in one of the coldest days of that year. Temperatures around -14°C and very windy. When I left the hotel without a jacket or a hat, I felt a heavy weight, as if someone had laid their hand over my head, but actually it was the cold wind starting to freeze me up.

Cold, humid days and soft rain. Typical London winter. A good warm coat with a hood played the trick, and the rain did not stop me. There were moments in which I thought I was in a suspense movie, the city is full of alleys, bridges, dead-end streets that give you that creepy feeling.

Spending New Year’s in London demanded a little bit of sacrifice, hours waiting, freezing cold, but all worthwhile. About 5 minutes of show which seemed to be more, the fireworks covering the sky as far as I could see, lots of lights, music and the Big Ben announcing 2010.

I had seen pictures and was delighted with the place. I thought it was amazing, I love mountains – it is more charming when there is snow. I went to Chamonix – Mont-Blanc, Chamrousse and Grenoble.

Loire Valley (Valée de La Loire) deserves a ride, because it is a bit far away and has many castles. It is also possible to join excursions that leave from Tours. We decided to go by car, and as we got away from Paris, we found fields and trees covered in snow, everything white and a cloudy sky, contrasting with the gray road and leafless trees.

Amboise is a city of about 11 thousand residents, inhabited since the first century BC in Val de Loire. Today it is famous for its royal castles and many personalities, including its most distinguished resident, Leonardo Da Vinci.

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