Thursday, 10 September 2015

The cheat's way to the top!

So yesterday was just not enough of mountains, we needed to do a bit more today! Not up quite so early today, but still early enough to not find anywhere open to sit and have breakfast! Luckily the Boulangerie was open, so we were able to pick up some croissants and sit in a park and admire the early sun on the mountains in the chilly morning.

Today’s destination was back to Mont Blanc, but this time from a different direction and via a slightly different mode of transport. The ‘Tramway du Mont Blanc’ is a cog-wheel tram that has been running now for 102 years (recently renovated). We were able to pick it up not too far from our hotel and take the 1 hr journey up the mountain. It is a pretty impressive little vehicle, again very full of walkers of all ages and capabilities…people traveling with their dogs for a short outing, to those all geared up to tackle the climbing of rock and ice.

The journey started with a reasonably steep decent up the side of the mountain that St Gervais is located, then around the back and across a ridge to the lower slopes of Mont Blanc. This phenomenal train uses its cog-wheel mechanism to wind us up at an amazing gradient, starting at ~650m and ending up 2345m.  An hour later we were delivered to the little train station way above the valley below and at the start of one of the glaciers running up Mont Blanc…talk about ‘up close and personal’ with the mountain.

Here we amused ourselves for several hours wandering along the easier tracks to get very close to the glacier (at times a little scary for me!) and really just trying to wear out the camera taking snaps. The weather was again very good, although there was more cloud today, so we could not always see the top of the mountain like yesterday!

I do have to say, the French really appreciate their food. Up here, there was a café. We thought of having lunch here but figured the food would be average and costly, but when we went to investigate, we learnt that we were very wrong as the food looked delicious and was most reasonably priced (for way up the side of a mountain), but the queue was too long, so we stuck with our biscuits and cheese.

Returning to St Gervais, we dumped our gear and then headed off down the valley to the Parc Thermal. St Gervais is one of those European historical spa towns and Jackie just could not resist the opportunity for spa and massage. Several hours later, sparkly clean and relaxed we caught a taxi back up to our village, had another wonderful dinner of gazpacho for entre, smoked pork (me), swordfish (Jackie) and then desserts of fromage stuffed with walnuts and a most delicious raspberry sorbet!

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