I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from Chamonix. I knew it was in the alps, and that the students would be able to go up one of the mountains, but I wasn't sure what to envision. So when we drove into the valley between the two giant sets of mountains on either side, I was a bit blown away. In some way it felt a bit like Park City in Utah (which is also a smallish resort town in large mountains with good skiing close by), but there was also an enormous glacier coming down one of the mountains. Many of the mountains were in full spring green, and covered with trees, while the tips were still drenched in snow. The valley was as picturesque as you can possibly imagine with lots of window box flowers and fancy carved trim lining the roofs. It was completely lovely!
The view of the glacier as we drove into Chamonix
The evening view from our balcony
Good morning from the Alps!
The town was picturesque and the mountains were majestic. And things just got better the more we explored the mountains and the town. We got there quite late on Friday, so we didn't do much that night, but early on Saturday, Adam headed up to Aguille du Midi (one of the highest peaks in the area). Fox was not able to go up because of the elevation, so Adam went up with some of the students and took a bunch of gorgeous photos (about half of these are his photos. The prettiest ones are his).
A few hours later, he came flying into the hotel room, right before Fox and I headed out to check out the town, and breathlessly told me that I needed to go up the mountain right now! He told me it was incredible and that I needed to see it! So I headed out and good heavens was he right!
You have to take two different lifts to get to the top, and good luck if you are afraid of heights, because it was pretty much straight up for about nine thousand feet in a small tram that is surrounded by windows and jammed with people (close to 50). I tried not to think too much about it. The first of the lifts stops about 1/3 of the way up. It is very rocky, without a lot of snow, and some lovely views, but the really incredible views come from the taking the second lift up the to the top. It is a breathtaking view of the valley, snow-capped mountains, and clouds. It was stunning!
I am quite certain that if I didn't already believe in God before, I definitely would after making this trip up to the top! I absolutely felt like I saw God in all the beautiful mountains and clouds. The whole thing was just so awe-inspiring.
The tram to the top
These hikers at the top were so legit! They all had helmets, ice picks and rope. It was pretty intense and the small adventurer in me reared its tiny head and wished it was going with them.
Some of the hikers taking off their snow boots and climbing equipment.
On the way back down
Experience the mountain in chocolate form!
Enjoying the morning on our hotel patio
This is a large glacier up by Mont-Blanc called Mer de Glace (or Sea of Ice). We took a little train up to see it, and then Adam and a few other people from our group walked down to the cave that has been carved into the glacier. Adam took some awesome photos of this cave! Fox had a nice nap on my lap, and I read "The Fault in Our Stars" while I waited. I feel a little silly in retrospect, because I was sitting on a bench in front of glacier in the Alps and I read a book instead of enjoying the view...
A family photo in front of the glacier
Chamonix and the glacier coming down the mountain. I could totally get on board with making a return trip here in the future. Happy Tuesday!