France was our first port of call on this roadtrip, and 6 months later we are back in the land of baguettes after doing a huge, wiggly loop around 21 countries. Now we have a chance to explore France and hopefully head south to Spain.
Our first stop was a rainy and cold Chamonix, a popular ski resort that sits in the shadows of Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc at 4810m. As we couldn’t see any peaks in the rain, we decided to stay in town and hope for better weather the next day. We normally try to stay away from towns but it gave us a rare chance for a night time stroll to see it all lit up for Christmas. I was gutted though as they had the lights up along all the streets, but they weren’t on! It’s like they were waiting for more tourists to arrive before they wasted the electricity.
We had another freezing cold night and were frozen inside Pablo again. The skies were crisp and clear so we walked through town to a sign labelling all the mountains along the Mont Blanc Massif. We were surprised to see Mont Blanc was just a boring white lump compared to its dramatic neighbours. Huge glaciers swept down the mountains like blue lava. One photo in the info centre showed the nearby church in the 1800’s, the glacier was practically touching it, now it’s receded 1.8km back.
We found out about a hike across the valley so went back to Pablo to get ready. Not only did the town cheap out on the Christmas lights but they also didn’t grit or salt the roads or pavements. So we got a free go at ice skating in the alps. It was awful! I was walking snail pace in my hiking boots and kept flapping my arms in the air when I slipped, then a French women speed walked past me in high heels like it was a goddam catwalk.
When we reached Pablo the outside was still icy, and the key wouldn’t turn in the lock. Thankfully, before Craig pissed all over it we tried the side door which worked, then we cracked the handle back like snapping a glow stick.
The walk led us to a small chalet with mountain vistas. They were awesome mountains; sharp and pointy like a row of sharks teeth. The sun didn’t rise over the mountains till 10.45am, then everything went into meltdown. All the snow from yesterday’s rain began melting off the trees. Craig beat me to the chalet where he waited under the roof to avoid the raining trees. He didn’t anticipate the huge slab of snow falling from the roof and drenching his back though.
That evening we drove up another snowy pass and caught an amazing sunset. The mountains in the distance turned as pink as candy floss. Above us was an impressive Utah style mountain which had a gradual slope up and then sheer rock edges that glowed orange in the sun.