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Published: June 16th 2015
Road to Chamonix
Looking down on one of many villages.
Monday 15 June 2015
After a fabulous visit to the old town of Annecy yesterday today's plan was a trip to Chamonix. Everyone we had talked to about this trip said it was a "must do". All we needed was a fine day. We are currently in a pattern of thunderstorms and one was expected in the afternoon. So with some excitement, and a bit of luck there would be no rain, we headed off.
There are a few choices of roads to take. We decided to drive through Thones and Flu met on the outward journey and coming back around Lake Annecy. Sun was breaking through but the mountain tops were shrouded in cloud. The first part of the journey was through alpine meadows. As we zigzagged our way up the mountains to the pass (Col des Aravis) we stopped briefly beside a herd of cows and listened to the bells ringing a merry tune.
Then came the downhill drive with hairpin bends every two to three hundred metres. This time we were driving through beech and conifer forests. Some of this drive reminded us of the alpine passes between the East and West Coast of the
The style of buildings has changed.
South Island of NZ. We had a brief stop at Flu met for a coffee on the outdoor terrace overlooking (or overhanging) a swift flowing mountain river. Looking at the foundations of the nearby buildings we wondered how long these buildings would survive.
Our journey continued down another zigzag road. Polly must have been so impressed by our driving skills that she took us down a grade three zigzag road. With great relief we made it to the bottom. From here it was onto the motorway to Chamonix. Europeans certainly know how to build highways. Nothing is a problem. It is either through a mountain or over a valley, and so we did.
Lunch in Chamonix. Doesn't it sound grand. Our lunch wasn't quite in the league of the rich and famous but it did the job. The town was not very busy but workmen were making up for the quietness by using heavy machinery to dig up the roads. A quick visit to the railway station in time to see a regional express train arrive. It would be a fun trip to take. Rain was starting to fall and we needed to return to Annecy.
On the road to Chamonix
Mix of beech and conifers.
trip back retraced our route to Flumet. After leaving Flumet we took a different route that would have us driving around the lake. It wasn't long before we had to take a deviation. Polly was very angry. Every 20 to 50 metres she insisted on us making a U turn. We didn't. We couldn't. Her anger was so great at one stage that she gave us instructions to make a left turn. We hear stories that computers will one day destroy us. If we took the instructed left turn it would be over the edge and plummet into the gorge many metres below. Was Polly aiming to destroy us? After many miles and more zigzag roads we rejoined the original road and continued on to Annecy. Polly was once again on our side.
The lake has the alpine water colours similar to those in the MacKenzie Basin in NZ. Late afternoon traffic combined with the start of some heavy rain made for slow driving into Annecy. It wasn't long before the sound of thunder was echoing around the nearby mountains.
It has been a great day. Everything we expected. Exhilarating mountain driving and tremendous scenery. This outing has
On the road to Chamonix
The viaduct heading towards the Mt Blanc tunnel.
completed a memorable stay in Annecy. Will we be back? It would be well worth considering.
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