CHAMONIX, FRANCEJune 25 in France
This town is so cute I could pinch its cheeks (edited for Buz). It's directly out of a fairy tale. In the French Alps, close to the Swiss border. Think Sound of Music meets Beauty and the Beast. The village lies at the foot of Mt Blanc, nestled in a valley full of dramatic landscapes. On the train climb up we saw mountain goats, waterfalls, glaciers, and skinny, long train bridges. The apart-hotel, 'Le Majestic' is this stunning 1920's (??) palace. Look up Grand Budapest Hotel and I swear it's a spitting image. The long hallways are so wide I could lay across them 3 times. I honestly can't see where it ends. There is an incredible urge to cartwheel until I just can't cartwheel anymore. And it feels empty, which makes it even cooler! And more likely that I will cartwheel.
Photos to follow... this is definitely is a playground I want to explore!!!
Chamonix started off with a bang (literally) in a family paintball match. So. Much. FUN! I've never played paintball, but the boys were so enthusiastic to try we had to give it a go. There is something very therapeutic about shooting your loved ones. A young guy named Teddy set the course up in the woods in Les Tines. Loads of forested ground on which to play: many forts, hiding spots, cubbies... The boys were in seventh heaven. Priceless! We played for 2 hours and went through 3 bags of ammo. Buz seemed to be the overall winner, although Zach and Jesse are pretty good shots. I need to go to the shooting range for a bit more practice, it seems. We all had fun comparing our little bruises after (although the 5psi guns are pretty tame, they still pack a punch).
Yesterday we took the cable car to Plan Praz. Buz and Jesse were extremely brave and carried on with cable car #2 to Breventz. I'm a bit ashamed to say that neither Zach nor I could manage to coax ourselves on. In fairness, the cable car is suspended between 2 super-high, rocky snow-covered peaks with nothing in between but sheer drops thousands of feet below. It's maybe an 8 minute ride across air. If something were to happen, I can't see a back-up plan. So I justify our cowardice as intelligence.
After Buz and Jesse returned safely, we started off on an alpine hike to Flegere. AWESOME! The boys are turning into mountain goats and managed the hike brilliantly. Although it's 'level,' there was a lot of ascent/descent in between and a few hours of walking. There were patches of snow to play in, cliffs to cling to, scree to cross, and most of all just stunning scenery which I won't even try to describe.
We liked hiking so much that we went back up to Plan Praz today and attempted the hike up to Breventz peak. Unfortunately we hadn't realised most of the track after a certain altitude was all snow. Zach only wore his canvas skateboarding shoes which were quickly soaked through. And Jesse hadn't eaten breakfast. But the REAL reason we didn't make the peak was that the boys were having too much fun turning their rain jackets into makeshift toboggans and spent ages 'sleighriding' - every time they got a bit of altitude they would fly back down. Australians and snow- they couldn't resist. And it probably ended up being more fun than reaching the peak.
Buz kindly took the boys while I repeated yesterday's hike to Flegere solo. Because honestly he was having as much fun as the kids playing in the snow.
Tomorrow more paintball is planned.Read more