To my surprise the European Alps continued to impress me! I thought Chamonix would be a letdown after the magical adventures I'd been experiencing so far. Wrong! The French Alps did not disappoint!
The afternoon we got there we experienced our first grey day of the tour. It was perfect for walking around beautiful Chamonix full of Alpine shops and good restaurants.
The next morning we welcomed blue skies again and I caught an early tram up to Aiguille du Midi at 12,602 feet. Spectacular!! And cold! First time I needed my compact down jacket. I walked around and took photos from every direction I could. Then I watched the mountain climbers get ready to head out into these massive mountains that surround us in every direction. True adventurers of life.
In our Rick Steve Tour book he has a map of "Alpine Crossing from France to Italy" ... and shows a "WOW!" above the gondola. Well luckily the weather was perfect and the gondola was running .... so off to Italy I went for lunch ... and it truly was a "WOW!" experience for 40 minutes floating over these stunning glaciers and surrounding mountains in a gondola to myself!! I arrived at Helbronner station in Italy at over 11,000 feet. There was a lovely cafeteria so I got a glass of good wine and some lasagna and I couldn't believe I was actually here ... looking out this giant window at this magnificent view in Italy after taking a gondola from France. It was a priceless experience! I just couldn't force myself to leave ... so I had a second glass of wine! We should always celebrate the beauty in our life every chance we get! Thank you Rick Steves for this magical opportunity!! What an amazing final adventure on our 12 day RS tour!
After getting off the bus in Chamonix heading into tour days 10, 11 and 12, we all walked across a plaza to the lovely Hotel L'Arve.
My comfortable room had a balcony just above the river ... and a view of Mont Blanc. Another fabulous hotel location within walking directions of everything you want to see.