We left stunning Annecy in mid afternoon by bus, arriving in Chamonix at about 5.30.
We were met by a few of our crew and hiked out to our hotel which is a little out of town, as the biggest endurance event in Europe climaxes today. The UTMB ultra endurance races around the Mont Blanc region, including a 160km run around the same route we will be taking. Our walk takes 10 days, the winner of the ultra marathon took 20 hours!
Lots of undernourished, skinny people staggering around town as our crew chowd down on pizza/pasta/hamburger & and or steak at a restaurant in the centre of the village.
Chamonix is quite a large town, with a vibrant shopping/restaurant/cafe strip, and a typical holiday vibe.
It was great to finally be all together, as we rounded out our walking crew with Gemma & Liz, who have been in Italy for a few days, and Denise & Dan straight from Oz.
After a busy evening we only have one full day in Chamonix, spent wandering the streets, doing a bit of shopping, maybe partaking in a pre lunch G&T, and have a birthday lunch with Rachel who is spending her first birthday away from her family.
Some went up the chairlift, but not the most famous, the Aiguille du Midi, as it is closed for repairs. Something about frayed cables, or some such!
Pretty important to the machinations of cable cars to have fit and healthy cables, non?
The Aiguille du Midi is the second most visited attraction in France, after the Eiffel Tower, and the closure is costing approx 1 million Euros per day!
More window shopping, a beer or wine and a 6pm briefing with our guide Ishmael.
Afterwards we had a welcome dinner which turned into a small birthday celebration for Rachel, with Champagne (thanks Specks) and a cake courtesy of our hotel.