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Published: June 29th 2009
The hotel gave us coffee but was not set up for breakfast, so we drank coffee, tried to get online (failed as the hotel connection was down), packed up and left. We stopped at a motorway services where we had the breakfast deal (espresso, orange juice and a chocolate croissant each) then headed for Mont Blanc through a series of tunnels, culminating in the Mont Blanc tunnel itself. This tunnel is long and, unlike the tunnels on the way does not have separate bores for each carriageway. It is, however, really well lit and disciplined. Not really very exciting and none of the tunnels were magic today. The weather stayed glorious throughout - still mid - twenties now at 18:00.
Chamonix, as predicted, is expensive. Our hotel (Pointe Isabel) is really nice and we have a wonderful alpine view (not Mt Blanc as that is even more expensive). We bought a two day transport pass for not much more than the price of a cable up to the Aiguille du Midi. Which is what we did this afternoon. It's 3842 meters up there (you get up in two, breathless, 8 minute rides). We took more photographs than we can sensibly
upload here. We'll make a selection - the rest will get dumped into photobucket when we get the time back home. The views were breathtaking.
As we made our way down, the skies clouded over as a storm rolled in. We had to get off the second cable car - they stopped the service in view of weather conditions. Even when we started the descent the car stopped at one stage, they opened all the windows and skylights to let in air as we swung around in an electric charged cloud.
We learned that altitude makes the earth move. Going from the valley to nearly 4000 metres in the space of 15 minutes had really interesting effects on perception and made climbing short flights of stairs very hard work. Back in the valley, however, the constantly moving earth feeling Hilary has been getting since we hit the alps has abated. Hilary and altitude do not mix.
Safely back in town we got a very late lunch of crepes (mine was calorie overload with chocolate sauce, ice cream and chantilly cream - Ashley had apples and Calvados). Then, having noted it was 3 euros for a tiny bottle
of water and over 6 for a beer, we headed to the supermarket. We have 20 small (25cl) bottles of beer in the mini bar (and a bottle of water) - we may not get through them all but it was around the cost of a single beer in a bar here.
Later we shall head out to eat. There are plenty of places doing a set 18 euro three course meal with Savoyard specialties. Wine will be extra, of course!
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