After the arduousness of the Middle Distance Triathlon I am now in Chamonix having a relaxing holiday. We are here to walk round the Tour du Mont Blanc but this is not possible because there is still too much snow above 2000m so instead we are just staying at a much better Hotel then we are used to and doing some walking.
Our first day had low level cloud so we headed up to Col le Brevant to see if there really was too much snow. There was. No way of walking up there without full winter kit and we were not up for that – besides which the cloud is low and we couldn’t see much so what was the point.
So back down to Planpraz at 2000m and although there was some snow to start with it was a pleasant walk along to Flegere.
There were plenty of Alpine flowers on show so although the views were largely obscured by cloud it was still a pretty walk. There was red tape all along the footpath as it is part of the route for the Mont Blanc Marathon which takes place at the weekend. There were several runners out having a look at the route and, I guess, getting used to the altitude.
The weather deteriorated so we decided to take the train up to Montenvers Glacier.
The glacier is 7km long and 600 feet deep. It is the longest glacier in France. The view of the glacier was really spectacular – just as you imagine a glacier to be.
The railway was completed in 1913 and the station was built at the level of the glacier. Today the level of the glacier is so low that there is a gondola ride down and then 430 steps – down and back up. This takes you to the ‘Grotte de Glace’ which is excavated out of the glacier which is moving at about 1cm an hour. The caves are re-sculpted every year and touched up every morning. Inside the caves there are ice sculptures of various rooms in a house. You can even have your photo taken with a St. Bernard dog for 6 euro! We were blown away by the experience of being inside the glacier.
After all that excitement it was back to the Hotel for some relaxation in the Jacuzzi.