Chamonix aka Chamon-naynay
We left Lausanne in the morning and headed for Chamonix, a French Alps ski town. It should have been about a 4 hour trip however when we got to a place called Vallorcine we were herded out of the train and told to wait for a bus. The bus never came and our poor French combined with the train lady’s non existent English meant we didn’t really know why. When the bus did arrive 1.5hours later the driver explained that there had been an avalanche over the road and they could only let 5 cars through a one time….there goes the afternoon.
We got in at 3pm and dumped our bags in the hostel and set about busily exploring the town and working out hire gear so Jono could go snowboarding the next day. It is a really gorgeous town, it’s settled in a valley surrounded by delicious snow capped mountains on either side! Lots of cool shops, plenty of attractive, rich skiers (serious lack of snowboarders here) and awesome cafes and restaurants plus its cheaper than Switzerland of course! Had a healthy dinner of subway (trying to stop overindulging as if this goes on for a year Jono will have to roll me home) and ran into the girls on our way back to the hostel. Turns out they’d also had a horror trip into Chamonix as well!
Our room at this hostel is very reminiscent of bible school, which isn’t great when you’re paying $45 each a night but we had some very good laughs at each other’s expense in this room. We are getting to know way too much about each other during this trip and have certainly become extremely familiar.
Jono was up early and off up the mountain to snowboard while us girls slept in to the late time of 0830 as the owner was very sure she wouldn’t be offering breakfast past 9! Jono told us she was cold to him, not sure what he’d done wrong though as we couldn’t get her to shut up. She talked to us the whole time we ate breakfast and then some – we couldn’t leave! We had a pretty chilled day; we bought gear for the next day, hired clothes and a board and practiced our French in a wee café over coffee. Sigh, coffee. Why oh why can’t it be like back home? Jono tells me this is a first world problem and I should just get over it but every once in a while I just feel like a warm, creamy latte. I have tried everything I can think of to receive a good coffee, I order completely in French (including a self depreciating look and an I’m sorry my French isn’t very good phrase), I’ve asked for a coffee with milk/a cappuccino/latte/American coffee etc. I am informed they don’t make lattes here but since I worked as a barista for years its stupid ‘not to make a latte’ as its just different amounts of froth. End of rant.
Our French is going to improve here. I can feel it in my bones. We don’t have a choice really which is good, seriously hardly anyone speaks English which has made for some interesting conversations. Heidi makes me laugh more than anyone when it comes to speaking French, so far she has said to a ticket lady “Je m’appelle billet” which means ‘my name is ticket’ when trying to buy a ticket and “parlez-vous sac?” when we were at the supermarket meaning “do you speak bag?” She didn’t know how to say ‘we came in on the train’ to a lady who asked in a café so she did the actions to the locomotion. The lady appreciated the effort I think.
That night we ran around in the cold, bought some amazingly huge burgers and ran back and ate them on the bottom bunk while watching pro snowboarders shred on youtube to give Heidi and Carmen some ideas for their first day boarding, ha.
We all woke up super excited and headed to the practice slopes to give Heidi and Carmen some pointers. It was very funny! Mostly because there were children going down the slope faster than the girls but they did awesome for their first time. We left them to practice and headed up to the top. WOW. It is freaking beautiful here, like amazing!!! Check it out…
So much fun, Jono and I boarded together for awhile then we met up with the girls for lunch at the bar on top of the cable car. Jono went off to do his own thing and I stayed with the girls while they went down the easiest slope…a blue run that was really steep. Made for many laughs, turns out (would you believe it) that Chamonix isn’t a really easy option for beginners haha they’re brave units! Jono and I went off again in the arvo and we made it back just in time for the last chairlift of the day, where Heids and Moon were waiting for us with a beer to celebrate the day!! So pumped it was so amazing! More snow, amazing views and incredible powder! Wished we could have stayed here a week!!
Out for a drink to celebrate a great day and we got chatting to these Argentinian guys who worked as mountain guides and spoke 5 languages, vomit. Wish I was a mountain guide. Also got chatting to guys from the UK, one who had badly fractured his arm on up the mountain, they had done Everest base camp and didn’t go with a tour, didn’t even have a guide and said do it the lakes way no to tourist way. That’s me sorted then – with the exception of the no guide business.
Had such a delicious pizza and pasta dinner before crashing out. Next days mission is getting out of here and to Lyon.