Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 17: We'll be comin around the mountain

We didn't wake up this morning until 9:15, so I got around ten hours of sleep. I guess I needed it. We had a good hotel breakfast with abundant fresh fruit, and then ventured quickly into town, St Remy de Provence. We'd heard about a chocolatier there who we needed to visit. We tried the cardamom, violet, and coffee chocolates, and bought some rosemary chocolates, which we have yet to taste.

We packed quickly and got in the car, beginning our long journey to the alps. Except for an epic experience getting gas that took half an hour, we drove straight to Annecy, a town with Mont Blanc in view, set on a gorgeous blue lake. We walked around a bit, ate a sandwich, and then Naomi, my mom and I rented kayaks and paddled around the lake. The weather was wonderful, and the scenery was beautiful. After paddling and splashing for quite a while, we met up with my dad, walked around the canal-laden town, and then got back in the car with wet butts.

After a gorgeous drive through the mountains, we arrived in Chamonix, an active, lively tourist town at the foot of Mont Blanc. We are staying in a hotel in Chamonix our last night of the hike, so we dropped off a bunch of stuff there that we won't be needing for the next five days. NB: for the next five days my family is hiking through the alps, around Mont Blanc. Some days we are carrying everything we need, and some days we have arranged for someone to take our luggage to the next hotel. We are hiking between eight and ten miles a day, with a good bit of elevation change each day.

After dropping of our stuff and the car, we got a taxi to Courmayeur, Italy, where we are staying tonight. We drove through the tunnel Mont Blanc, an 11.6 Km long tunnel through the mountain. There was a horrible fire in the tunnel several years ago that killed thirty nine people, so there are lots of safety precautions taken in the tunnel, including a police and fire station in the middle.

We got to our hotel, showered, and went down to dinner. We were the only ones in the hotel restaurant. We had an amazing four course meal, accompanied by a local red wine, and finished with a selection of local cheeses. My favorite was a cheese called toma. Hopefully we can find more tomorrow. Now, it is time to pack for the next two days and head to bed.

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