Spires to Heaven
This morning, after having a sumptuous French “petit dejeuner” of fresh orange juice, fresh home baked five grain bread, homemade quince jam and yogurt with cereal, we departed for the Alps and to the valley village of Chamonix.
Chamonix is the premier winter and summer recreation area of Europe. The “village”, like any popular tourist area, has grown over time and now over 8,000 inhabitants call this home. Situated at the base of 15,771 foot Mont Blanc, it is the quintessential picture of a charming alpine village.
Before leaving Talloires this morning for Chamonix, it was raining heavily. We decided to go forward with our plans despite the weather. While we were hoping that the weather would be bright, sunny, and warm, we believe that when traveling anywhere, you need to adapt to every situation with the goal of enjoying your experience no matter what. After all, there are things that are totally out of your control.
Taking the scenic route (south), we meandered through some of the most beautiful mountain settings to be had. Little villages clustered along our route added country charm to the towering mountains as we made our way. After an initial detour that took us through some remote areas, our approach to Chamonix became sunnier. And upon our arrival, we were greeted with a great view of Mont Blanc, the surrounding Alps, and a warm sunny day.
Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate and go along with your plans and as it turned out, while it was sunny, warm and bright in the valley, the top of the Aiguille du Midi (at 12,601′ where we planned to take the gondola up to) was too cloudy to see anything. So we opted to stay in the village and wander about. We stopped in at La Taverne de Chamouny, a German-style restaurant with a large outdoor terrace situated in the middle of a pedestrian plaza, and enjoyed German sausage with scalloped potatoes and German beer.
The wonderful thing about eating out at a restaurant or café, simply having something to drink be it a glass of wine, beer, or cup of coffee, is that once you sit down, the table is yours for as long as you wish. No one comes around with expectations that you will have to leave soon so that they can turn over the table to another customer. You can stay as long as you like, relax, and enjoy yourself. We have found this out at every cafe or restaurant we have enjoyed and today we spent three hours just hanging out, people watching, and admiring those amazing spires to heaven that lead to the Alps’ highest mountain…. Mont Blanc.