So, lets continue our catching up on blogs from the Christmas season. Around mid-December, a friend suggested that we go on a day out to Chamonix to see the mountains. Who could resist! So, here’s a quick account of what we got up to.
The main plan for the day was to take the little ‘Train du Montenvers‘ (the Montenvers train), and go up into the mountains to see the Mer de glace. We went to buy our tickets in the little ticket office at the bottom of the mountain, but we had at least an hour (I think it was) to wait before the next train turned up. Good job we were hungry, then.
Whilst we were waiting, it was a chance for me to be shown around the middle of the town (seeing as Maëlle had already been there). It was completely dead! I mean, I know there could have been several reasons for this – it was the middle of a working day, the schools hadn’t broken up yet, and it wasn’t peak ski season. Still, I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so empty! It was nearing Christmas after all, surely there must have been some tourist trade to be had at that point? Apparently not.
Where is everyone?!
Anyway, we went and found lunch at this really nice little burger place. It didn’t look like much from the outside – just a door into a small corridor – but once you got up the stairs, it was a really cosy place! And even though it was just burgers, they were proper burgers cooked really well in a proper bread roll. Yum.
We had a little wander round the shops (Maëlle needed a new ski jacket), and I bought a sticker to add to my collection. It was all very pretty, with the snow and the Christmas decorations everywhere – very idyllic.
Then we went up the mountain on the train! It looked something like this:
It took about 20 minutes for us to get to the top, through a lot of snowy mountain scenery. It was quite noisy and clanky, but that’s just the way it is, I guess. The station at the top was more or less a tourist centre for the main attraction – the Mer de glace, literally ‘the Sea of Ice’. It is the biggest glacier in France that goes right through the valley between the mountains. Apparently, though, it’s a lot smaller than it used to be – it used to go all the way down to Chamonix itself. Global warming, people. But it was an opportunity not to be missed to take a lot of pictures of snowy mountains.
So many pictures of mountains*.
*The last one’s a picture of the glacier itself. I’d never seen a glacier before!
And if you want to hear what snow melting in said moutains sounds like, here you go:
There were a few other things to do apart from wander round and look at the scenery. There were a couple of museums open – one about the glacier itself, and one about crystals. It was quite interesting actually – the crystal museum wasn’t that big, but it gave a brief description of how quartz was made in the carbon deposits in the mountains. And then there were lots of samples of different quartz. Ironically enough, most of them were actually from Brazil, and only one sample was from Chamonix!
The glacier museum was just as short and sweet-yet-interesting. It gave a bit of history on the glacier (how it was formed, how it has changed) and information on the scientific research done on it, and how the glacier affects the valley below (in other words, dumping massive rocks at the bottom of it). We didn’t have much time before we had to go back to the train though. And if we missed it, we would have had another hour to wait!
But that about concludes the tale of my adventures. I’m so glad I got to go to Chamonix, it’s probably one of the most well-known tourist towns in the Alps. So thank you Maëlle for suggesting it & doing the driving!
I’ll see you guys next time!