Western Europe April 2018 travel blog

Chamonix

Mt. L'Aguilla de la Florida

Mt. L'Aguilla Verte

Mt. Blanc


Hi. We left Chatillon when we spotted a Globus bus turning the same way. We drove through the high narrow Valee d'Aosta. Little villages and towns dot the mountainsides. Ahead and to the sides, peaks were white. A narrow river flowed in the bottom. High on the mountainsides terraced fields had grape vines growing in them.

Then we came to the mountains and the tunnels...8 in all with barely a breath between. And high often white-capped mountains. Narrow valleys went off in all directions. In some tunnels we went down, others we climbed up. All were over a mile long. As we climbed to the Mont Blanc Tunnel, the tunnel was over 5000m.

I think the Mont Blanc Tunnel is still the longest tunnel in the world. 15€ in Italy and 45€ in France took us through. Only a certain number of vehicles at a time are allowed in...spaced 100m apart. No passing is allowed. Traffic is two way. It seemed to take forever. But we came out high up in the glorious sunshine with Chamonix far below.

To us Chamonix is synonymous with skiing....and it is a skiers' and snowboarders paradise. You can raft, luge, snowboard, ski, hike and bike here. There are many hotels, a campsite, restaurants, bars, sport shops etc. Parking lots abound. There is an old town as well as new. There is a train.....1909 saw the first...to go up a mountain to look out on Mt. Blanc...over 6000 feet. There is a pink tourist yrain to tour town. One can ride gondolas to chair lifts....only one was open, and not to Mt. Blanc. Paragliders soared high in the air above the town to-day.

We took the train up over 1900m. The gondola would have taken us up 2000m. The ride was spectacular with amazing views down the valley and of the surrounding mountains. Waterfalls cascaded to the valley floor. Steep drops greeted us in places. We pulled onto the siding to let the other train pass on its downward journey. Tamaracks and pine grew along the mountainsides. We went above. When we alighted we were on on Montenvers looking out on L'Aguille de la Floria (2888m). Around and to the side was Mont Blanc (4810m). Between with Glacier Argentiere wasL'Aguille Verte (4121m).

We found a cave of crystals and went in. Crystals were mostly smoky quartz including one that was a foot in diameter. Amythist crystals were also there. Some of the crystals were in situ.

We had lunch here and then caught the train back to the station far below....with some skiers.

We then programmed in Dijon...and headed towards Geneve. We briefly touched the city's outskirts and headed west towards Nantua andBourg en-Bresse where we turned north on A39 to Dijon. Gone were the mountains. Gentle rolling hills occasionally interrupted the flat landscape.

It was just after 4p when we left the motorway to enter Dijon. Of course the GPS took us through the more modern buildings into the old center of town. Thankfully driving is permitted. We got the last room at Hotel du Ducs on the top floor. The drive in was interesting with narrow streets only sometimes one way. Buildings are 16th century. It was and still is Burgundy's capital. Nearby is a circular square with white buildings surrounding it. Statues adorn one. Restaurants decorate some of the perimeter. Pedestrians only so we've yet to thoroughly explore it. We are going to do that now.



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