Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Chamonix, France

After checking out the sites of Geneva, I took a 2 hour bus ride to Chamonix, France to go skiing in the Alps. This was my first on ground experience with the Alps. (had one previous in air viewing of them) They were spectacularly beautiful. Snow capped enormous and truly inspiring. Brought to mind the verse "He who formed the mountains, creates the wind, reveals Himself to man, He who turns dawn to darkness and treads the high places of earth- the Lord God Almighty is His name." -Amos 4:13

Skiing was fun. After a 4 year hiatus, several runs down the slope had me performing with relative success. The tough part was the ski lift. As opposed to traditional benches with a bar to keep you from falling, they had these things which I would describe as similar to a tire swing that you sat on and would pull you up the hill with feet still on the ground. I never really got the hang and at one point got frustrated enough to take off my skis and walk back up hill. The experience gave me appreciation for a saying of possible future usage: "as hard as skiing uphill." You really don't want to try this. The town of Chamonix was a neat little ski town with lots of shops and restaurants obviously catering to the ski crowd.

After taking a bus back to Geneva, I caught a flight back to London and arrived a bit on the late end of the evening. I then took a train back to Central London and planned to transfer via the underground train system back to my home base of Paddington. Just before getting on the underground, a small set of tourists from Norway asked if this was the train to Paddington and I answer in the affirmative and assured them that I was going there. Unfortunately, the underground system does not run 24 hours a day and as I arrived to the station around 12:30, I mistakenly took the incorrect train which I did not realize until too late. The first few stops were the same as I would expect and then we hit a stop out of the customary path. By this time, I investigated and discovered that I (and the Norweigan tourists) was on the wrong train and needed to turn around. The train did not cooperate but actually went all the way to the end of the line without stopping at any more stations and since Murphey reigns in these situations, it was the last train of the night. Mind you, the end of the line is way, way far away from where I live and walking was certainly not an option. It was either try to navigate the London Night bus system or taxi it back to Paddington. The bus system being somewhat confusing even in the light of day, I chose the later and brought my crew of Norweigans along with me. It had all the feelings of adventure and frustration packed into one. Seems kind of comical now.

I promise to post pictures of these last two adventures but am preparing for an early depature for the next destination of Italy in the morning. Stay tuned.

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