And before you go mis-pronoucin’, it’s CHAMONIX – as in shaw-mah-nee. Ever heard of it? It’s in France.
OH how I miss the Nard Dog…
Anyways, back to the vacay.
If you haven’t figured it out already, I married a mountain-man. A crazy, oxygen-filled, iron-lunged, skiing, ice-climbing, beer-drinking sonofagun. And ever since this Heeman was a wee-man (baahaa) he has wanted to ski in Chamonix. And being the kind of gal who will NEVER turn down a trip to France ever, I obliged and went along.
Our flight over could not have been more perfect, save for flying first-class international in one of those mini-suites where they do everything except birth you a child. We left around 2 pm out of the ol’PDX, carpet and all, and 1o hours later arrived in Amsterdam. We jumped on another hour-ish flight to Geneva and were picking up our rental car in no time!
The Renault was a nice lil ride and the drive to our hotel in Vallorcine (about 20 miles outside of Chamonix) was wonderful, until we realized we had missed our exit…
Many of the roads in France are on tolls which is FINE when you have a credit card that works or euro. We had neither. And after we flipped a B to head back to where we had missed the turn, we immediately hit a toll booth. Assured by the rental car company that our Visa would be fine, we were very surprised to learn that we had no viable currency to pay with. Yippeee!
“Autre card!!?” (Other card!?) yelled the middle-aged French women through the crackly speaker.
“No autre card!!” we retorted (for the 10th time I might add).
After 10 minutes of explaining we DID NOT have euro OR another card, she had us hold up our Passports to the closed-circuit cameras so she could write down our home address and bill us. Whatevs, madame.
After spouting off over 20 cuss words we were on our way and headed in the right direction!
Upon arriving in Chamonix we immediately found a petit cafe (get used to me using French where I can here, folks) and ordered a cheesy, delicious hot sandwich with pomme frites!
We pinched our little selves and just couldn’t believe we were there. Colossal mountains just spewed out of the ground, and felt like they were just feet away. Somber French couples, sporting his and her messy buns, being chic and chain-smoking while probs laughing at my clothes from the Gap.
We stayed at the Residence and Spa Vallorcine, which was quaint and perfect. Our room was a decent size, with a little sitting area, dining table and kitchenette. The bedroom was small and the bed was even smaller. I kindof felt like Shaq sleeping in that tiny European bed.
The only thing that would have made the room perfect would have been carpet. You guys KNOW I love me some carpet, especially in cold environments such as Chamonix. The cold tile flooring did not help the fact that the heaters in France are just NOT up to snuff. I need that central heat, yo.
The first night we threw on our ski sweaters and I debated making Bryan call me Bunny (or Muffy) all night. I would call him Carl…as in,”Oh Carl, we just have to order the brie!”
We went to the cutest little restaurant in Vallorcine (one of like, three restaurants) and ordered fondue, a goat cheese salad and wine, obvi.
The next few days went something like this:
Wake up around 7, consume croissants and/or pain du chocolate.
Annnndd ski some more
Stop for café au lait
Make some videos
A bit more skiing
Our late afternoons and evenings were spent in a variety of ways. A couple of days, it was shopping around Chamonix, buying macarons and stopping for wine and crepes.
If you can believe it, my favorite crepe turned out to be plain ol’ sugar. Something about the crunch I think. Another funny thing that happened in Cham, was that I got a bit of altitude sickness. Nothing crazy – just a bit of dizziness paired with a loss of appetite. You can imagine how great is was to lose my appetite while in FRANCE! No – actually it sucked. And when it finally came back I was hungry AF.
One day, we took the tram up to the Aguille du Midi which takes you to about 13,000 feet, which makes it the highest cable car in Europe. It is interesting how I never learn my lesson, agreeing to do these things. The St.Louis arch = meltdown. Top of the Space Needle = no thanks. Yet somehow I let Bryan whisk me up in a shaky tram and walk along a staircase clinging to the side of a precipitous cliff. Oh, and did I mention the steel staircase was see-through? I would have snapped a pic had it not been for the mounting terror surging through my body.
Dinners out occurred daily and the fare ranged from elegant French cuisine to the nachos I ordered on our last night, made with DORITOS. God bless those clever little Frenchies.
I was left on my own a few times and Of COURSE y’all know I frequented the French Pharmacies I was so excited about. I spent a good hour in one, picking up product after product and trying unsuccessfully to read ingredient lists. I did ended up with a few GEMS so stay tuned for a WHOLE post on that, mon cheres!
I also did a fair amount of pretending to be a cool photographer, taking pics that were all arty and deep. Really, my point-and-shoot and I just kinda mozied around, taking sub-par pics.
So there you have it, our
super -relaxing ski vacay in the French Alps…I think it’s time to go back to Hawaii :).