It’s always best to keep gratitude higher than expectations. Ray Wylie Hubbard said it best. Expectations and hopes always get you in trouble. This is especially the case if you are the owner of an overactive imagination. Chamonix may be the only place I have had the good fortune of going where expectations were grossly lacking…even for a person with an imagination that needs a hit of Ritalin.
Impressive. Hardly. Amazing. No, doesn’t cover it. Majestic. Too cliche. Ineffable is probably best. Magic is close. Magically ineffable is as close as we can get within the sticky constraints of language.
Just getting on the Mont Blanc express, you know this is going to be a different kind of journey and a different kind of place. It’s red and white and positively alpine. The engine roars into a burly and throaty rumble and is built for operating in the most inhospitable of environments. I know I will like it here.
We arrived to the steady greeting of buckets of rain and temperatures we had all but forgotten about in the heat of Paris. We got hopelessly lost on our bikes from the train station. Eventually, we were pointed in the right direction and got to Le Vert Hotel. The staff was lovely and it was the perfect place to dry out and served as our Chamonix base camp.
We played the parts of tourists, which this town is no stranger to. Rode the luge, ate bubbling tartinette in a cave, ate a healthy brick of emmentaler cheese under a group of climbers, and took pictures of everything in between.
Now we sit somewhere in Switzerland gearing up for a visit to the Matterhorn tomorrow. Even so, I am feeling a little melancholic. A weird homesickness for a place that isn’t even home. I can’t explain the sentiment or the reason behind it. It’s sort of like having a nostalgia for a time that you never were a part of. I do know that we’ll be back and that my gratitude is at a historic high. Feeling full just knowing places like this exist. That there is magic nestled snuggly in the folds of the French Alps. And that home can span time zones. Thank you, Chamonix.