What a day! The sun finally surfaced and really made our day in Chamonix an awesome experience. Chamonix, home to the Mont Blanc – the top European peak at 4,800+ meters (and home to the 1924 Winter Olympics). Typically this town and its fierce mountains are an ideal winter play-land but summer here is not bad either.
Our main attraction was the Mer de Glace, a 7 km long glacier that runs 200 meters deep (it’s the biggest one in France). In one word: sick! Getting to see this bad boy was quite a hike (down and up). First we took a rack railway train up the mountain to an elevation of 1,913 meters (that’s about 6,276 feet). Then we hiked down the mountain for 30 minutes until we reached the mouth of the glacier. There is a gondola that does this trip in about 6 minutes but it was too windy today so it wasn’t operating… just our luck (we walked the 300 steps instead!). On the hike down there were reminders of how high the glaciers stood back in 1820, 1890, 1990 and 2005. This thing receded hundreds of meters since the good old 1820s, thanks to global warming. I guess we’re lucky to still be able to see and walk through it which was pretty unique. From the glacier we had to hike up for about 45 minutes (thanks wind!), to get the train back to town for a much needed cold beer – a Mont Blanc Blonde beer that is!
To top off the evening we had dinner with Samira and James at a place called “Restaurant du Port” in Sechex. The place overlooks Lake Geneva which makes for a dreamy setting, especially at sunset. Tonight’s treat was Perch Provencal with Fries washed down by 2 bottles of Gigondas (a southern Rhone wine that played well with the fish and the Provencal spices).