08 September 2010

Playing tourist in Chamonix & Courmayeur

OK, so my flight to Europe didn't start very well with delays on the first leg that caused a cascade of misses and a subsequent reroute from Vancouver. But I made it, and importantly, so did my bag of race gear. It was time to kick back a bit and get the lay of the land, acclimatise a bit, and brush off my highschool French. I spent two days in Chamonix France, and today came through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Courmayeur Italy, on the other side of the great white mountain. (gee, that almost makes it sound Canadian!)

Here is a quick photo journey of some of the highlights so far:
First night's dinner on my hotel balcony in Chamonix - local Savoie cheese, sausage and wine
It rained each morning with low clouds, so the mountains didn't appear often if at all.
Krissy Moehl's signed UTMB-winning shoe in the Rapatel sports store
Typically clouded view for me of Mont Blanc. This is about all I have seen of it so far.
A brewpub in Chamonix, run by four Canadians. What a find! The beer was great.
Mer des Glaces glacier, the biggest in Europe. Took a cog railway up here to Montnevers, then hiked back down.
Baguette jambon et fromage avec double expresso - French lunch a-go-go!
Cavern drilled into the glacier itself - wayyyyy cool! (in both senses  :-)    You can see last year's cavern to the left, collapsed and moved down the slope. Apparently this glacier moves 1cm per day - is that a glacial pace?
One of the most amazing things I have seen. It was surreal to touch the ice and wonder how old it was.
Deny this - here was the glacier's height in 1990. There were signs all along the path down with the ever-diminishing height, but it was most notable from this point.
Hiking down, the path went by a summer luge track.....
...and I had just enough time to squeeze in a run before catching my bus to Courmayeur. Wheeeee!
Courmayeur and the start/finish of the Tor des Geants is set up already! The weather was better here, and that is Monte Bianco in the background. The scenery here is going to be absolutely phenomenal!

Cournayeur is a small town. so it I was there about an hour before coming across Daniel Probst. We had a dinner of ridiculously huge calzone and pizza. The picture was taken by the people at the table next to us, a couple from Annapolis Nova Scotia - yay Canada!


Anonymous said...

Awesome ice tunnel photo! It reminds me of that episode of the Six Million Dollar Man in about 1978. There was a yeti involved and the tunnel spun around inside.

RunSueRun said...

Wicked cool, Bruce! :) Looks like SUCH a nice time. Kinda drooling at the first night's dinner... :)

Henry Wilsenack said...

LOVE your luge ride... Weeeeeee!! Also love the glacier tunnel. Two fab highlights. Very cool. Enjoy!

lonerunman said...

Hey Sue, I'm sure you are more than familiar with the pizza and terrain over here from your own Alta Via trip (I discovered later that it was a different Alta Via than what we are doing! doh!)

Thanks for the good wishes, Henry! It's nice to take in some fun features of the area and play a bit besides just thinking of running - as much fun as that is :-)

Justin Maclaurin said...

Just catching up with peoples blogs and saw your pics of the Glacier. Loved the glacier as well, I was there In October as I have friends who moved to France last year not too far from Chamonix!
Hope you're running well and see you at another silly run sometime.


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