*** BONJOUR EVERYONE !
CROISSANT COUNT: 12 ***
CHAMONIX / MONT BLANC is surely on the tourist trail as
I got lotsa company running at Lyon station from
platform-to-platform, train car-to-car, only to be
told it was the wrong one again. Reassuring to get lost
in numbers though. Eventually we got to St Gervais where a little
train took us into the northern French Alps where we could see
beautific snow-clad mountains if we peered real hard through the
fog and rain.
Thus it was far from SUNday at Mt Blanc. Cablecar people said
'no open' whole day due to 'strong winds', so I went to
take the cogwheel train up to see La Mer Glacier instead.
Brrr, cold. Rain had stopped. I tried cable car again but
twas open only half-way up to Aiguille du Midi (3842m), how come not half-price too? Bit of
snow fun up there and saw 2 suicidal chaps leap off
the ledge - paragliders those, cool.
So conned. Barely one hour after I got down, the fog lifted, the sun
emerged shining mockingly, and the blue skies panned out.
The cablecar probably goes
all the way to Pointe Helbronner in Italy now, but I ain't gonna pay again.
Used my free train pass to go up to a place called
instead that appeared to be a 'mad-cow' place
then back to my hostel in glorious sun looking
Had been puzzled by the French's prevalent gambling
habit until I read that "Casino" is a grocery chain.
It's also becoming a "pain" to eat bread all the time.
Brasserie's no lingerie place either.
Someone from Samsung-land commented my Creative MP3
player looked bulky, time to chuck the fossil out of my valuables
AVIGNON in Provence was not quite the quaint walled city I had
imagined. V hot & dusty. Kamikaze cars everywhere.
Impressive Palais des Papes palace built over 2 popes but only
structure intact, mostly empty chambers inside. Pont
d'Avignon bridge in that French nursery rhyme runs
halfway into the river here.
Paid pilgrimage to Vincent van Gogh's place, ARLES. He's all
over alright, in tourist garb, not a single painting of
his here however and his studio had been destroyed in
The winding streets make much nicer
paint subjects than the colossal but cruel Roman
amphitheatre now-matador arena. Musée Réattu here has got many cool
Picasso sketches, hey just realized his weird faces
are actually twin ones, the original 2-in-1 creator!
My French vocab increased dramatically, esp in train
lingo where Lonely Planet left out the most important
word: Supprime! (cancel). My 3 trains to Lourdes: 1st
Supprime-d; 2nd Retarde-d (delayed) 40 minutes; it was a
miracle (pun unintended) that I finally made it to
First impressions - tacky hotel place. Quite a sight
however to see the sheer religiousness of the masses
at the Sanctuaires Notre Dame de Lourdes, esp the elderly and wheel-chaired.
The cathedral looked like a castle and mega queues to touch the
Miraculous Cave and to dip in the 'miracle' pools.
Male-Female ratio for the pools should be 1:16 instead of 6:11, judging by
how the male queue disappeared after 1 hour while the
female queue doubled. I settled for holy water bottled
from the taps across the river.
Visited nearby 'eye-problem' place in the Parc National des Pyrénées
called CAUTERETS. Great Valley de Lutour hike here, even though I didn't make it
to the final lake destination.
One too many photo stop along the beautiful woods,
beautiful cragged peaks,
into valley with snow mountains ahead,
PLUS 'less mad' cows & an extended lunch break of berries crepe hot choc
at a deliciously-named Le Fruitière Hotel mid-way in the hike, no kidding.
Nicest hike I've had in ages
The French should have stuck with that new law
allowing employees to be terminated, in particular
striking traffic controllers be Supprime-d. Getting
out of Lourdes proved as difficult as getting here.
Yep, train cancelled again. At this rate, they'd run
out of strike quota by the time World Cup cometh.
Sorry En Hui, gonna be v late for that welcome dinner you
are preparing... to be cont'd.
|* Windows @ Avignon, French Alps train & Chamonix church.|
Enjoyed reading about yr recent Europe trip and the picts... the flowers, the scenery...please load more! France has never been one of my "must go" list of European countries but now, i changed my mind. I will constantly visit to see new paintings (which by the way, are great) and your other travel updates.
Am TOTALLY impressed by the number of towns you got to and this not a driving holiday!! Just reading the French names makes me want to be there, let alone your great travelogue! As for the French, believe me there are nice ones ...
really really enjoy your travelblog. very funny + brings back the memories of backpacking Paris ...
i had an enjoyable time reading your travel updates twice and particularly the photos ! am sure u had a great time and ur photos brought back memories of my trip to stockholm, copenhagen and oslo for me. =)
After 6 yrs, I accidentally came across your website again. In 2002, I left a message in your guestbook after seeing your Rockies pics. Just gone thru your journal of France & Scandinavia. Very entertaining, very nice pics. Wish I could travel that long like you! Was this your last trip?
Other europe stories:
Gaudi - Barcelona's Famous Son &