Driving to Chamonix

(This post follows ‘Drive-through Europe’.)

When Vinod changed my original plan of taking scenic train journeys in Switzerland to driving through Europe, he included France too. Technically speaking, this was our second cross-country drive; the first being UAE-Oman-UAE.

Our drive started after we picked up the rental car from Geneva International Airport on the Swiss-side. A free upgrade meant access to an in-built GPS navigation system. Vinod and I agreed that he would focus on the navigation system and that I would focus on the road. I got behind the wheel and pressed the pedal!

Our destination for that day was a typical chalet in the mountains of Chamonix some 100 kms away. (Wow!) Now, we needed to cross into France by road! However, first, we had to cross Geneva city.

The moment we entered Geneva city, old memories flashed back. (We had been to Geneva in 2010.) We passed by Jet d’Eau. It still amazed us. We felt like getting off and spending some time there. However, reaching the chalet on time was more important.

Getting out of Geneva city was a little difficult as our navigation system misled us a couple of times. I tried to make some illegal turns. My car might have looked something like this. Sigh!


After we left the city, it was a pretty smooth and a very scenic drive. We took the shortest route to our destination. All along, we were being extremely cautious not to overspeed and to change lanes in order. We were worried of being fined in euros. Paying fines at home in dirhams was inevitable, but if we had to pay in euros, it would have sucked the fun out of the experience.

We reached Chamonix by late evening. We checked into the chalet (booked through AirBnB). It was amongst the last few houses on the lane in a quiet area. Its balcony overlooked the mountains of Le Brevent! There was nothing else other than vast mountains that was visible from the balcony. The view was awesome!

After some time, we wandered in the area looking for dinner. There wasn’t a single restaurant that served pure vegetarian food. They served French fries; we had to inform them that that’s not food.

So, we started off to Chamonix city for dinner; but stopped at Chamonix Sud by mistake. We came across many nice restaurants that were inviting us with their decor and menu. However, we didn’t know where we could park nor did we know how to pay for it. The fear of being fined was still looming. After all, it was yet our first day of driving in Europe. So, I waited in the car while Vinod went out to see what he could bring us back.

Meanwhile, I rolled down the window and took in some fresh French air. Mountains surrounded Chamonix Sud from all sides. They seemed overwhelming, but not a bit intimidating.

A little while later, monsieur came back with a margherita; which was the best he and his mademoiselle had ever had and which they were going to have a lot in the days to come. That night, they slept to the sounds of Torrent de Taconnaz.


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