Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chamonix, Part 1

I have two just-bathed doggies totally passed out in the computer room with me.  They just spent 5 days in jail and smelled like kennel when I sprung 'em this morning, so I had to give them baths.  And now I have two not-nearly-so-stinky doggies!  And I'm happy because I missed them.

So, Lee and I spent the weekend in France because he wanted to go snowboarding.  Geez, I sound like a millionaire or something, don't I?  Well, one of his friends is about to move back to the States and he wanted to go boarding one more time, so we went to Chamonix.  It's in France, but the closest airport is in Switzerland, so we flew into Geneva and then hired a van to take us to the apartment we rented in Chamonix.  Our flight out was ridiculously early on Saturday morning and we didn't eat breakfast before we left, then had no time before we met the van people, so by the time we arrived in Chamonix we were starving.  Mike and his uncle took us to a restaurant they'd been to the day prior and we ended up ordering raclette.  What is raclette, you may ask?  This:

It's cheese.  Point of fact, it's a giant wedge of cheese on this funky machine--the two metal plates heat it up like a toaster and then you use the knife to scrape the melted cheese off onto your plate and then put it on a selection of potatoes, ham, pickles, and onions.  Before Saturday, I kinda seriously doubted that there was such a thing as too much cheese.

I was mistaken.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it was totally *fantastic* while we were eating it, but about an hour later our tummies were like TOO MUCH CHEESE...and I'd had French onion soup too, which hello MORE CHEESE!  So I didn't eat breakfast on Saturday, but after having that for lunch, I didn't eat dinner either.

Here's a pic with Lee so you can kinda see how big that chunk of cheese was.  We didn't finish it, even with Mike and his uncle helping a bit.  It was kinda fun to watch the cheese melt onto the plate, though.  Oh, and according to Wikipedia, the locals say not to drink water when you eat raclette because it will supposedly cause the cheese to harden in your stomach and give you indigestion.  Yeah, our waiter didn't mention that, so of course I drank water.  I still wasn't even that hungry on Sunday morning for breakfast, but I ate anyway because buttery French croissant, DUH.

Anyway, after eating more cheese than I thought possible, we walked through the town a bit.

There was a little bit of snow.

If a cactus had babies with regular snow, I think the babies would look like this.

Then we went to the train station...

And bought tickets to go up the mountain to see the glacier, which is called Mer de Glace.  Sadly, that means "Sea of Ice" and not "Sea of Ice Cream" ("glace" is also ice cream en francais).  Though I suppose that after the first few minutes, it wouldn't be fun to go swimming in ice cream either.

Something about this sign doesn't translate.

There's Reeeeee!

And there's a giant mountain.  I don't know how high up we were, but it did seem like it was taking a bit more work to get enough oxygen from breathing while we were up there.  Lee and the other guys went snowboarding the next day and said that they were even higher up than this.  I, on the other hand, was hanging out in my jammies in a snug warm apartment while they were freezing their buns off and getting bruises from falling down the mountain.

Frozen waterfalls!

Proof we were there.

We think that's the ice caves in the glacier.  Usually the train ticket price (which was pretty steep...both the price, and the ride up the mountain actually) includes the ice caves, but they were closed when we were there.  Boo.

That thing that looks like a road in the middle?  It's all ice, and it's the glacier.

One more shot of the mountain 'cause I thought it was pretty.

Obligatory self-portrait.

So here's a view of Chamonix from the train on our way back down the mountain.  It was about a 20-minute ride and I would not be surprised if that train was going at a 30- to 45-degree angle the whole time.  I would definitely NOT want to walk up that mountain.

Anyway, after the glacier and train stuff, we found an area where they had a bunch of kid stuff, like classes to learn how to ski and a luge thing.

So we went on the luge.  It's hard to tell in the pic, but we're in the luge and most of the way up the hill (I didn't take any pictures once we were on the lugey-part of the luge).  It was fun, the thing goes pretty fast and the track was longer than I would have expected.  I think Mike got a picture of all of us on the luge cars but I don't have that yet.

More snowy pics next time.  For now, it's dinnertime, and I'm making spaghetti.  With NO cheese on top!


CCsMom said...

AND your green jacket! Very nice. Looks EXTREMELY COLD!!! Did your new jacket keep you warm? Now you need a green scarf to go with! Love ya!

CCsMom said...

Oh, and that melty cheesey thing -- I would have so been in heaven! Looks yummy!

CCsMom said...

I am looking at these photos and they are making me cold. I didn't bring my jacket to work today -- shoot, it was 70 degress yesterday. But we're to get rain this weekend. Maybe it will wash the crud off my seriously dirty car. I think it will only make it worse, though. Sigh.