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FrenchAlps

Our next destination was supposed to be Geneva, Switzerland and Lyon, France.  However, on the spur of the moment, we decided to detour south to see Chamonix and Mont Blanc in the French Alps.  Of course, as usual, we had a stop or two along the way.

We had listened to an Audible story based on the famous "Prisoner of Chillon" story by Lord Byron, and since it was not far out of the way, we decided to stop to view the Chateau Chillon, where the prisoner was kept.

Our next stop was the small town of Martigny, near the border between Switzerland and France.  Before we departed Switzerland, we wanted to sample authentic cheese fondue.  As we walked around the town, Dave took a chance and asked a passerby if he knew of a place that served fondue.  He walked us around the corner to a small pub, where we had our first taste.  yummy!  Two years previously, Johnny and Dave had tried fondue in Wilderswil, but it was horrible tasting and smelling.  To our delight, the cheese here in Martigny was wonderful.

As we climbed higher and higher into the French Alps, we found ourselves driving through an increasingly deep snow.  Going downhill was slow.  Others were passing us; Dave was trying to be safe.  All the while, though, we were concerned what would happen when we had to begin our climb back up out of the valleys.  All too soon, we hit that spot, and our light weight front wheel drive Ford Fiesta rental car simply would not progress further.  We turned around to the last small town we had passed, Le Buet, and there we asked where we might purchase snow chains.

People in two different stores told us to take the train down to the next town.  Oh, and the train leaves in just five minutes.  We raced to the train station, arriving just as the train pulled in.  Once we were aboard, we realized that we had no idea what size tires the car had.  When we debarked at the next town, we discovered it also did not sell chains.  It turns out that the people in the stores meant that we were to ride the train to the next town down the ROAD, to Argentiere, which was actually the SECOND stop on the train route.  The train does not follow the road.  We had gotten off the train at Montrac-le-Planet.

We hitchhiked to the correct town and found the store that sells chains, but he did not have a book that might tell us what size tires our car would have.  Oh, and the train only travels each direction once per hour.  Since we had a long time to wait, we decided to hitchhike again back up the road.  No one would stop for us.

So, we caught the bus back up the road, but it turns out that it also does not follow the road and doesn't go to that small town of Le Buet where our car is.  So, we rode it up to a ski resort at Le Tour, the end of its line, and then back to the town where we had first gotten off the train.  There we caught the train back to our car, got the tire size, and then caught the return train and bought the snow chains.  Ninety five euros!  (about $150.00 US)  yikes.  Oh, well, we had no choice but to buy them and get back on our way.  Even with this huge expense, we were still able to stay under our budget of 94 euros per day (approximately $135 US) for the trip.

Though we were not in the best of moods, we still noticed that the area through which we travelled was amazingly beautiful.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Rhine River area of Germany

Lucerne, Switzerland

the Swiss Alps at Murren, Switzerland

Bern, Switzerland

the French Alps

Geneva, Switzerland

Lyon, France

Paris, France

Rouen, France

Normandy Beaches of France

Brugge, Belgium

 

 

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