Thursday, November 3, 2011

A trip to the Mont Blanc

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The weekend of Halloween we decided to take a little day trip and go and see the Mont Blanc. We have driven by this magnificent mountain and through it a lot. We have been looking forward to this trip since last year. Last October is when David started going back and forth between Europe and the states. When he was asked to spend a month here he thought it would be a great idea if I came along. We figured this might be the only time we would see this much of Europe. We were able to go to Annecy and Paris France, Venice and Verona Italy, as well as several places in Switzerland. The last weekend we were in town we were planning on going to Chamonix to see the Mont Blanc but weren't able to because they had closed it to prepare for ski season. We were pretty disappointed and I figured we would never have the opportunity to go again. So obviously we were pretty pumped to get the opportunity for a do over!!

We woke up late the next morning because David had forgotten to set the alarm. This caused us to miss our bus out to our friends house who was letting us use their SUV and were going to watch the dogs for the day. So Miriam was kind enough to come and get us. Once we got to their house to drop the dogs off, I realized we hadn't brought our passports. So back to the house we went. Going into France isn't any different than going into another state in the US. Usually, you don't get stopped and you just drive on through. Sometimes they wave you over though so it's a good idea to have your passports just in case. We have gotten pulled over twice so far.

Once we left the house, the GPS started taking us through downtown on our way out of Geneve. We thought it would be fine on a Saturday but it led us right to the Farmers market, in which the roads were blocked to anything but pedestrians. There wasn't anyway to turn around and everyone was pulling into the parking garage. We pulled in thinking maybe there was an exit onto another road where we could get around the market, but quickly realized there wasn't and had to go out the way we came. In addition we had to pay 1CHF (swiss frank) to get out of the garage. There was a car that had illegally parked on one side blocking everyone from trying to exit the garage and a dumpster on the other. We sat there for a while and then finally a man was nice enough to see what was happening and helped us all get through. An hour trip took about two hours by the time we got there.

When going into France you can see the Mont Blanc from the motorway. In fact, you drive through it to get to Italy. It is the longest tunnel I have ever been through. It costs about 40 euros and takes 14 mintues (11 kilometers) to go through it (not like you have a choice but to pay it if you are headed to Italy). They also hand you a pamphlet on rules while driving through. Of course depending on which side you go into it on, it's either on the French side or Italian side and the pamphlet is in the appropriate language. It comes with pictures for us non foreign speakers which helps!!

We finally made it to Chamonix and it turned out to be a very cute little town. It's got a lot of fun shops, but most people are there to ski or climb or hike. After walking through Chamonix we realized it was getting late and decided to head over to the cable car to go on up to the Auguille du Midi which is a peak near the Mont Blanc. It allows you to go up to the top and get a great view of the Mont Blanc and surrounding mountains. If you know me at all you know that I am NOT a person who love heights. I don't like flying, I don't like to be up in the air, so the cable car was a little scary. It's kind of a rough ride since you are going so high up and during the middle of the ride it dips a little, tilting the car to where everyone let out a little yelp. I think I let out a little bit of a scream. In my defense it wasn't as bad as the time I screamed on a plane which apparently isn't an acceptable thing to do, but that's another story. Anyway, needless to say this didn't set well with me at all. I had my face buried in David's arm and the little girl in front of me was crying. David and everyone else around me was laughing!! I am definitely not a dare devil. I don't like adrenaline rushes!! I'm good with my feet on the ground but that's the only way up so I had to go. You take two different cable cars to get up to the top. There are beautiful views from the cable car but unfortunately you are packed in like sardines and everyone is standing so it is impossible to get pictures. The rest of the time my face was buried in David's arm. I was so thankful when we reached the top. The first thing I said to David when we got up there was...'i thought we were gonners." He laughed!! I guess I was being a little dramatic, but if you don't like heights it's pretty scary. The second you step off the cable car you can feel that the air is thin. Your up high enough to where your ears pop on the way up and then once you reach the top you feel a little light-headed. Nothing like being a dizzy and then being on top of a mountain. Once we took a look at the scenery though we got distracted and didn't notice it. It really makes you realize how magnificent God's creation is. There is nothing like it. You can see the Swiss, French, and Italian Alps all at the same time and it really is one of the most breathtaking sites I have ever seen!! We stayed up there for a long time. They have a restaurant so we got some lunch and picked up some souvenirs and then headed back down. We look forward to going back eventually. There is more we want to do. They have a train you can take up to another mountain that offers up more gorgeous views and a tour of a glacier where they even have an ice cave that you can go through.

I attached our smilebox to the top. I know it's not Christmas yet ,but i couldn't resist the music! Enjoy!!!

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