Monday, August 23, 2010

I can not do 2 things at once!

Packing bags for 24 hours, numerous checklists, 3 trips to the car, we can just see out of the back windsreen, are we are ready to begin our road trip north to the French Alps? Have a funny feeling we have forgotten something; double check on children, passports and husband so think we are ready for our adventure. Heading for Chamonix, we go into an 11km tunnel in Italy and come out in France. We are charged 43.70€ for the toll (return), which I later discover is only the beginning of our toll expense. (We estimated spending over 200€ in toll roads over the week! Wasted 35€ due to paying twice at one stage; our bad. We did not really budget for the toll roads, actually, come to think of it, we did not really budget for the holiday. "We will worry about it later/ You only live once/ Butter and bread for dinner this week/ Blah blah blah!")

It started to rain heavily while I was driving, so with clenched jaw and white knuckles from strangling the steering wheel, I adopted tunnel vision and missed half the drive to Mount Blanc. Although I did have commentry. "Wow look at that castle! Can you see the river! Look over there! How about that!" Taking the manly excuse of "I can not do two things at once, can you take a photo!" Hubby took my hint, and reeled in his excitement to satisfy my nerves of driving in the rain. Once the rain eased off a little, I was presented with mountains that disappear into the clouds; they seemed two dimensional and never ending. French Alps. We were speechless and reverted back to cave man talk. "Wow. Big hill. Nice set."

Chamonix, Mount Blanc, reminded me of a lego town I used to make with my brother and sister on the loungeroom floor over the Christmas holidays. (We are talking in the 80's not recently, although must admit can not wait until daughter shows interest. In lego town, not the 80's.) The villas all look picture perfect, in neat little rows, with pretty flowers in planter boxes and very neat and tidy.

We wanted to go on the cable cart ride to Plan de l'Alguille, 2308m up Mount Blanc, it was 14€ return and departed every 15 minutes. Unfortunately, we were told that children under 3 years should not go up as it was too dangerous on their ears and their hearts, it was our decision and responsibity if we chose to partake, "Take them at your own risk". Deciding that the heart is pretty important for bodily function, we opted for the towns tourist train ride instead. Similar to the size of the trains you see carting children around the larger shopping centres, not really the open bus tour we had become accustomed to, but fun none the less.

We stopped for a lunch of crepes and omelette, then walked the main street, salivating over the chocolate shops and patisseries. Sometimes you can not capture beauty, no matter how hard you try. (I tell myself this everymorning I am putting make up on in the mirror.) Numerous photos were taken of the Mer de Glace (sea of ice) Glacier that kept popping out from behind the buildings and mountains. The glacier is the second largest in the Alps and had a magnetic affect, 14km long, it kept playing peek-a-boo with me all day, and I kept finding it in the corner of my eye. A beautiful backdrop. Seeing snow topped mountains and glaciers in the middle of summer - craziness! We even thought it was snowing at one stage but then realised it was just wind blowing flower particles, (ok, so we are new to this)!

After a necessary chocolate purchase from a chocolatier, it started to rain, so we headed back to the car. We had an hours drive until we reached Geneve, Switzerland, our destination for the night. Three countries in one day, but no jet lag! (Or stamp in my passport so you will have to take my word for it.) It amazes me that within 3 1/2 hours of driving, we travel thru 3 countries, where more than 3 languages are spoken. Do people literally speak a different dilect as soon as you cross that invisible border? We were unsure about Switzerland and were to find out that they speak Swiss German, some French and some Italian. What clever people.

QUOTE OF THE DAY; "I am yelling at you because I love you!"
Daughter tried to open the car door while we were in motion. I found the above words spilling out of my mouth. Soul mate now thinks he has found a great line to re-use in a disagreement with me!

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