A Very Special Pine Cone

Today I left Elwyn and Rob in town to hire mountain bikes and do some crazy things on them amongst the hills around Chamonix. That gave me most of the day to do a long walk south of the village, with my MacBook of course so I could stop and write often. Along the way I found this gorgeous little pine cone. Rob photographed it in case I couldn’t take it through customs. And it’s on the map of my walk – very clever of him:-)

Along the way I found an old, old plough horse, happily spending his days in the pasture. And a very busy, burbling stream – special ‘cos we have so few of them where I come from.

Dad and Daughter time

After I dropped them off at the start of a mountain hike, Rob and Elly spent the day tramping and scrambling up, along and down the Chamonix valley, sharing the high places that they love:-)

I drove over the pass to Switzerland and found an amazing walk into a glacier which used to be used for ice in the days before fridges. And of course I took my MacBook and stopped every so often to do some writing:-)

Emails with a View

Elly and I discovered that if we sat in the sun outside the tourist office we could still use their wi-fi to check our emails AND have a most beautiful view of the mountains all around this town in the valley!

One of the inset photos is the view from our favourite table at our favourite cafe just around the corner.

The other one is Rob helping me with my emails on the wifi!

Col de St Bernard

By this time we’d driven through the Mont Blanc Tunnel )right through Mont Blanc) from France into Italy, through the corner of Italy and up, up, up an increasingly steep and narrow and dodgy road to the pass into Switzerland, the Col de St Bernard. This is where the St Bernard dogs originated from the St Bernard monastery next to the Col.

Sadly, on the top of the Col, there were a few stalls with tacky guide dogs for sale which would have brought some money for the local economy, but I DID manage to pursuade the young border guards to stamp my passport with a fancy stamp – bit of an ask because they normally don’t stamp passports these days. Elly hung back to see the reception I got, and when she saw that I got my stamp she asked for one too:-)

It was interesting that the road up to the Col (and therefore in Italy) was in dreadful repair but had a fantastic guard rail, whereas the road down from the Col on the other side (and therefore in Switzerland) was a fantastic repair but had NO guardrail to guard against falling over the VERY steep drops off the edges.

On top!

We went in 2 cable cars to get to the top of Aiguille du Midi (= middle needle in the Mont Blanc massif). You can see the entrance to the cable car station in the inset photo. Very cold, very thin air so I got altitude illness immediately which was a bit sad, especially as people older than me were happily prancing around…

Here Rob congratulates Elly on climbing Mont Blanc in the background last year.

We took the cable cars up again the day before we left and I prepared myself to have NO  altitude sickness and really enjoyed it – began to see why Elly first came here.