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Published: June 22nd 2017
Geo: 45.9253, 6.86979
After breakfast, we met our guide for the day, Attilio. He was a hon not a hun and took awesome care of us throughout the day. We tooled up to Chamonix-Mont Blanc in air conditioned comfort, which was a welcome relief on a day of high heat and humidity. As we pulled up to the ticket sales building, the line was at least 300 yards long with an approximate wait of 2-3 hours just get a boarding pass for the cable car. Attilio had better plans for us and jetted to a friend at the group sales counter who had instant passes for us. This allowed us to spend time in the mountains as opposed to sweating on the ground.
The first lift took us to an intermediate stop, where we quickly lined up to board another lift that would take us all the way to Aguille du Midi and a height of 12,602 feet above sea level. All four of us felt dizzy and lightheaded after disembarking from the car and walking up just a few steps. Some small children fared worse than we, and were sitting on the ground, clearly not feeling well. After awhile we adjusted and looked out over the French Alps from several viewing decks before riding a lift/elevator the final couple hundred meters to the peak. The Alpine peaks were pretty pointy as compared to North American mountains. The views were spectacular, the weather was about 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and the sun was beaming down enough to keep us warm.
We took our time, stopping for a drink at the intermediate level. There, people were free to walk around. We saw donkeys as well as people who had set up a tent. There were hikers and climbers all over the place, even at the very top. When the cable cars suddenly dipped and started swinging after passing over the support towers, the passengers let out a “whoo” sound not unlike what you would hear on a roller coaster. This roller coaster like feeling was much more like a free-fall feeling on the way down as opposed to just a bumpy rock on the way up.
Once at ground level, our guide led us through the charming streets of Chamonix to an Italian brasserie, which included lunch as part of our tour. It would turn into our main meal of the day. A “quick meal” lasted approximately 90 minutes before it was time to board the cog rail train to Mer du Glace. We were able to the abrasive effects of a former glacier on the geography of the mountain. It looked almost like a quarry.
After our two Alpine excursions, a nice meal, and a brief walk through the town, Attilio whisked us back to the heat and humidity of Geneva, where we promptly crashed and burned to regain our strength before heading downstairs for a snack and refreshments. We've had the same hotel attendant here for two nights who is very good at his job and has helped us with booking today's adventure as well as printing out boarding passes for tomorrow night's dinner cruise, following our visit to the United Nations, located on the site of the former League of Nations.
In honor of our dinner snack, it's a wrap!
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