Chamonix

June 25, 2007 at 10:08 am (Uncategorized)

We left Paris on the morning of the 24th, at about 10:00. We had some trouble getting out of the city, but magically found our way to the route we had printed from GoogleMaps. Just as we were about to get onto the autoroute, we missed a turn. If there’s one thing I like about Indian highways, it’s that you can easily turn around. We took the first exit that we could and tried to find our bearings. We asked for directions at a gas station. The cashier told us that if we went “straight away, straight away”, we’d get to the highway.

This, however, turned out to be a long drawn route. We managed to reach Chamonix only at about 3:00 p.m., when we should have been there by 2:00. On the way, we went through quite a few tunnels that had been dug through the mountains. Every time we exited a tunnel, the view got better and better. As usual, once we got into the town/city, we had trouble finding the apartment. To top it all, it was raining. A kind teenage boy who seemed to have come to the town library told us in broken English to follow him and his mother to the place were we were heading, Chalet Beaumont.

The Chalet was beautiful. Breathtaking view of snow capped peaks all around, and a bird’s eye view of the town below. The only minus was the fact that the wireless connection was horrible, but hey! I can live with that!

We did nothing productive that day. My parents went to town to buy us supplies (milk, curd, etcetera). The chocolate croissants were fabulous, as was the bottled chocolate milk. Rich is the only word to describe it.

I did nothing the whole day, except read a book called Velocity by Dean Koontz. I had actually commenced reading the book in December 2005, but stopped because I wasn’t studying for my prelims :D. Full responsible and all!

We planned an early start the next day. However, we set out only after a hearty lunch of MTR Ready to Eat stuff. We were heading for Aguille du Midi, the peak accessible by cable car. We drove down to the Aguille du Midi Cable Car parking lot and parked the car. Surprisingly, there were no boards pointing us to the Cable Car “station”. My dad and I saw some kind of lift nearby. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a construction crane.

A little more exploration got us to the station. Sadly, the car wasn’t making trips up to the peak because of stormy weather. After a mild drizzle, the ticket counter opened again. The trip to the peak was very exciting, especially when we changed cable lines while ascending.

Words wouldn’t do justice to the view from the top. In a lot of places, all we could see was white. It seemed so clean, so pure. The cold was biting my fingers though. I was unable to throw snowballs on everyone without wearing gloves.

There was also a beautiful ice cave at the peak, where i nearly took a nasty tumble. Slippery as cartoony banana peels, it was!

We also witnessed something very nice at the peak. A gentleman from Guatemala proposed to his girlfriend of 4 (I think) years. He’d apparently bought the ring at Houston, Texas a year ago, but hadn’t mustered up the courage to pop the question. It was nice to see them so happy, sipping the champagne that he’d brought with him to celebrate.

The ride down wasn’t as scary as I imagined it would be. There is a change of cable cars half way through, at which point there is a neat system intact to ensure that everyone who’s gone up has come down too.

We did some shopping after we came down. Shopping is not my favourite hobby, but I tagged along anyway. I enjoyed marvelling at how just crossing a border lets you see a completely different style of architecture.

The next day, we took a train ride to another peak whose name I can’t remember. Stayed there for half an hour, took in the view, came back, and did some more shopping. We walked into a shop because we saw a giant packet of Toblerone, but came out in twenty seconds because the shop stank so much. This place specialised in old, spoilt, “collector’s edition” breads. Blech!

We returned to the Chalet soon. I finished my book while my parents and my sister packed up… we were to leave to Luxembourg the next day.

A rather bland blog entry, I know, but I’m writing this for the sole purpose of maintaining a journal of what happened in the trip, so I’m able to relive the memories when I can’t walk without a stick.

Photos on http://picasaweb.google.com/sidzoo/Chamonix

Sid.

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