June 25, 2007

Chamonix / Mont-Blanc (France / Italy)



The jagged Alps carve into the sky with a power and scale that is humbling. They conjure up dreams and aspirations, and their silence is deeply contemplative. We felt that if we could choose a place to walk around before leaving the planet at the end of life, this would be it. (Hopefully this wasn't just the low oxygen speaking).

The day began with a tram ride from the French resort town of Chamonix (1036m). The lift is faster than expected... our ears almost immediately felt the pressure change as trees began to fly by... then rocks, then snow. After a station switch at 2308m, the near vertical ride disappeared into a cloud of fog.. then emerged atop a blanket of clouds in an entirely new world. The Aiguille du Midi station stands at 3842m, and was crawling with climbers in full-gear and tourists. Mont-Blanc (4807m, 15,781ft), the Alps highest point, lurks quietly in the near distance, encrusted with massive snow drifts.

Next, we crawled into a tiny red gondola destined for the Italian station of Hel-Bronner, for the most amazing ride of our life. A 40 minute glide over glaciers, through beds of fog, and with incredible views of the Mont-Blanc range and Italian Alps. The sights in all directions are breathtaking and the ride was completely silent....our thoughts were definitely free-flowing in this context. We brought aboard a can of "Leffe" beer, that added to the overall experience.

Following the return journey, we descended halfway down from the Aigulle du Midi station to the Plan de l'Agulle station, and left the tram for a hike. The trail, which began at the foot of the Aiguille du Midi needles, led towards the Mer de Glace glacier in the next valley, below Grandes Jorasses (4208m). It was great to experience the mountains on foot. The views of Chamonix valley below and the alps above were unrivalled.. crossed many mountain creeks, and fields of vivid wild flowers. After 3 hours and a picturesque lunch break, we boarded a cog train and descended back down to Chamonix.

2 comments:

  1. Christados Unidos Carne'7/9/07, 12:51 AM

    Chamonix is amazing - I am siked you guys made it there. Next task for you two is to visit that place in the Winter! Bam. Enjoy your journey.

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  2. Mmmmm, Leffe....reminds me of the summer in Paris. Oh, and the photos of the Alps are gorgeous too. Very tranquil.

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