Chamonix and Mont Blanc

This past Saturday, I did one of those “never in my life did I ever think I would do this, yet… here I am” things.DSC_0142

Luis and I traveled from Geneva, Switzerland, all the way to Chamonix, France and then took the cable car over 3,000 feet above sea level via the Aiguille du Midi cable car to experience some of the most breath-taking views of my life.DSC_0179

(it was a little bit sunny up there)

We originally got the idea for this day trip when we were trying to think of a away to see/ be in the Alps without spending a ton of money.DSC_0097 

Switzerland and France can be expensive, ya know!  So we did a Google search for one day excursions and an excursion came up for a trip that would take us from Geneva, to Chamonix, include the cable car, as well as the Mer de Glace train and a tour guide.  This day-long excursion would have been over 170 Euros per person, so I started looking into how we could do this on our own.  It’s possible!  Anything is possible, my friends πŸ˜‰DSC_0278

First, traveling to Chamonix from Geneva isn’t a bad trip- a little over an hour and you’re there.  The tougher part is the fact that, apparently, the trains to Chamonix are a pain to manage, so you need to go by bus.  There are lots of transfer companies to choose from, particularly from the airport, but they range from private pick-ups, to medium-sized vans, to big tour buses.  We wanted to go as economically as possible, so after some research and comparison, I booked us round-trip tickets with Easybus.  Tickets were about 40 Euros per person (round trip), which was the lowest I could find.  They had one bus (more or less) running each hour, but if you miss the bus, they let you take the next one if there are available seats (and you can also leave an hour earlier).  Overall, highly recommended!  Their reviews are pretty bad, but we left and arrived on time on the first leg, and although they arrived about 30 minutes late on the second leg, they let us catch the earlier bus. 

We got up early, had breakfast, and headed to the airport for a 9:30 pick-up.  (If you go by Easybus, they leave from the arrivals bus terminal and its an orange van).  We found the van right away and we were off!

The ride starts out grey, but with each passing minute, it gets snowier and snowier (and darker,too) and you’ll be thinking “great!  I won’t be able to see anything on top of the mountain!!!”DSC_0017

But as elevation increases, so does the light!DSC_0026

The bus dropped us off in Chamonix, which is a very, very traditional ski-town with skiiers and ski schools evvveeerrryywhere, as well as hotels and lodges and cozy little restaurants.DSC_0033 DSC_0035

We found the Aiguille du Midi ticket office and bought our tickets before having a coffee.  (Tip: try to check to make sure the Aiguille du Midi is open on the day you intend to go, as some days in winter it is closed due to weather.  At the very least, check the weather for the day you intend to buy bus tickets).DSC_0038

Tickets are pricey (60 Euros round trip per person), but this isn’t any ordinary little cable car.  This baby takes you allllllllllllll the way up, and the platform above has so many incredible viewing points and little “museums”.DSC_0235  

You should reserve 2.5-3 hours of time to spend up there, including time for pictures, exploring, learning, and lunch.

SO the cable car, it wasn’t your ordinary cable car.  They jam you in there like sardines and you have to share precious oxygen as the car rises up into the mountains and oxygen becomes less available.  But it wasn’t bad.  The only scary part was when it goes over three different towers, which causes the whole car to rock and slightly drop.  But those views…..DSC_0066

There are actually two cable cars, so after the first, you have a few minutes to take photos and think “wow, this is incredible”.  But then you’ll take the second car and go up even higher and think…ugh that was nothing compared to THIS.DSC_0102

It really is like you’re on top of the world.  The clouds were below…DSC_0219

The first thing we did when we got there was head to one of the cafes to try and warm up before walking around a bit more.  At least the views were decent πŸ˜‰DSC_0094 DSC_0099 DSC_0089

Then we spent the afternoon checking out the various observation decks which were innnnncrediiiible.  It was quite cold, but not horrible when the wind wasn’t blowing.  But when that wind kicked up….boy, oh, boy.  This picture is a good representation πŸ˜‰DSC_0185DSC_0106DSC_0114 DSC_0165

If you go, do the “step out into the void” photo opp!!!  It’s awesome and a little bit scary…in a good way.DSC_0214 DSC_0215

And those slippers were great, too.

Eventually, we headed back down, pausing briefly to snap some photos after the first cable car (which felt like summer time at this new elevation!!!)DSC_0263 DSC_0301

Then headed back down to grab a souvenir and catch the next bus transfer home!!DSC_0309

What an unforgettable day!!!DSC_0168

And finally, since I have so many pictures I want to share, but I don’t want to overload this post, check out this gallery for more photos: