On top of the world
Trip Start Mar 04, 2003
17Trip End Mar 20, 2003
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We made it to the top but after getting up later than we intended, missing the first train, not taking the express train and then eating dinner we were about to miss the last elevator to the top observation deck. That would have sucked. So we were rushing to get on that elevator. We made it in time and enjoyed the beautiful view.
They were in Chamonix on Holiday. Really good ole chaps. We had a fabulous time talking to them and we all decided to have a few beers together. We descended the mountain and went to a little bar. I knew what time that the last train left and we had plenty of time so we stayed and enjoyed our new friends until the last minute.
This is not where the trouble began. We were a little buzzed but still aware of our surroundings. We made it in plenty of time to catch the train to St. Gervais. The train that we took to Chamonix made at least 7 or 8 stops between St. Gervais and Chamonix so we were watching the time and counting the stops. They had all of the lights on in the Train so seeing outside was nearly impossible. We had made about 3 stops when suddenly the train was headed in reverse... It couldn't be. We had missed our stop. As St. Gervais faded into the distance our hearts sank. We hoped off at the very next stop. Actually it wasn't much of a stop. The building was no bigger than my bathroom at home and it was all locked up. All that was there was a train schedule. I already knew what we were going to find., we were on the last train. We were stuck.
Cory suggested that we start walking. His reasoning was good. We had been going about 30 miles an hour and had only traveled about 5 or 10 minutes on the train. To get to St. Gervais it would only be about a 20 minute walk. He said that we should just follow the train tracks. That is how two lost Americans started walking the train tracks in the middle of the night, in a country where they didn't speak the language. I was panicked but as Cory so wisely pointed out."It isn't like we are going to get hit by a train, that was the last one!"
We had traveled about 10 minutes. It felt like hours. We came to a place where a road crossed the train tracks. Off to our right was a bar that seemed to have very lively occupants. As we approached the door we could hear the people talking and laughing and the warm glow of light from the windows was welcoming. It was a small town so this had to be the local hot spot.
The door opened and everything went dead silent. Okay if the French have a problem with Americans this is where it is going to manifest itself. Timidly I said "Bonne nuit Parle voh Anglaise?"... Several people all at once said Noh Noh. So that is when I said "St Gervais?" The outpouring of help from people trying to communicate with someone that didn't speak their language was life affirming. They were all trying to explain in French. One woman kept making a gesture like a stop sign. Finally I got that it was a round about. Another women kept saying "Left, Left" Mind you, we never made a left on our walk to the train station. We did manage with their help to find it though.
Finding it didn't end our problems. We had missed the last train out to Aix Les Bains. So now we were trapped in St. Gervais. There was a hotel right down the road from the train station. It was another lively place. We walked in to find a party. If we hadn't been so upset, tired from walking the train tracks and totally disoriented we would have joined them but instead we went up to the front desk to see if they had a room. The owner of the hotel was British and unfortunately out of rooms. Fully booked. His kindness went above and beyond. Knowing that we had a communication problem and that we were in a bind he must have spent 30 minutes calling every hotel in town to find us a room.
And THAT is how we spent the night in Le Relax.
The day in film www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwMlyl8CEgQ