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Published: October 8th 2009
Andrew rode his bike all the way around Lake Annecy this morning, about 70 km, while I took a hike through the forest. A great way to start the day inclusive of our fresh croissant and coffee. We wish we could stay longer in Annecy but since we can’t, we are taking the long way out of town around the lake. A beautiful drive all the way around. There is only one section of the lake that is dedicated to beautiful waterfront houses. Lucky people with a view of the lake, the city and mountains.
We are off to Switzerland today and are taking a detour through Mont Blanc before we climb into the Swiss alps. We passed a lot of green farmland on the way. The mountains got bigger and bigger with each switchback we climbed. Finally, we turned a corner and there she was, sparkling in the sun. A majestic glacier capped mountain sticking out from all of the other mountains. We stopped for lunch just to gaze at it.
We drove higher to the town of Chamoix which is the closest city to Mont Blanc. Andrew pronounced it “Sham-a-nay”, and I pronounced it “Sham-wa”. We couldn't
decide who was right, so we called it “Sham-WOW”. It was a small town filled with adventure seekers. Tons of people paragliding off of the mountains. We watched them practice and land for a while and felt concerned that some of them should never be allowed to jump off of a mountain. I understand wanting to see what it would feel like to fly like a bird, but I am to chicken to try.
It was late when we got to Interlaken, the base city in Switzerland to all of the famous mountains. We couldn’t see well as it was getting foggy and dark so we decided to stop for dinner and find a campground. The plan was to stay at the base of a small town called Gimmelwald which was only accessible by train or gondola or hiking up. It seemed like it would be easy to find plenty of camping at the base so we followed a sign up the mountain to what we thought was Gimmelwald. We stopped at the only restaurant on the way up. It was very dark now and all we could hear walking to the restaurant was a symphony of cow bells above us. The place was small and only a few locals at tables. The menu was in German and not very impressive so I ended up ordering Snitzel that came out with a soft egg and anchovy on it. Not the greatest thing I have tasted. The town drunk soon came in to annoy everyone. Thankfully, we couldn’t understand a thing he was saying.
It was pitch black when we came out and the cafe owner said there were a couple of campgrounds further up. We found one but the road to it was too narrow at night to get through. We ended up in a town which we thought was Gimmelwald. Andrew was perplexed as Rick Steve’s website said it was a tiny village and we were in a pretty big village. There was an ice rink, bar and information center so we went in and found out we where not in Gimmelwald but we where on the other side of the valley in Gindelwald - which explains a lot. We were tired and it was dark so we pulled in a parking lot in Gindelwald and called it a night. This was the first parking lot Andrew had slept in, (not mine) so he was a bit nervous being there.
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