There’s always one day in the holiday that you mark as the low spot. It can’t be fantastic every day, can it?
On the face of it, a trip up the tramway de Mont Blanc should have been a thrill. A sedate and comfortable chug through larch forest, breaking out into alpage and finally coming to a stop near the terminal moraine where the fabulous cafe serves incredible coffee. Sadly only one of those things is true.
We were naive enough to assume we would be able to get on a tram within 15 minutes of arriving at the station. No. Not even 50. Make that two hours. Two hours to wait in St Gervais, a one-horse town without a horse. OK, I’m being unfair, there is the Parc Thermale which is lovely. But still, any hopes of a major hike up top were severely dashed.
The tram was crowded and uncomfortable, the journey tedious. At the top we had to immediately book our trip back by waiting in a queue for ten minutes to be told the return was in just over an hour. We gave the cafe a miss after passing downwind of its toilets, and headed for the glacier.
The views of Mont Blanc were stunning, how could they not be? But it was just one long procession of people who want to tick the ‘I’ve nearly been up Mont Blanc’ box. We were joined on the way back by a few Mont Blanc summiteers who had come from the Tete Rousse hut. Must have been quite a contrast for them after a couple of days away from civilisation.
I wouldn’t recommend the tramway for all the reasons above. Go on the Montonvers railway instead. Much better value.
Today’s lovely thing
Actually, I want to mention a sad thing. Earlier in the week, eight people lost their lives on Mont Blanc after a serac fell and engulfed them. A further eight were saved. Saddest of all is that their bodies can’t be recovered until the glacier gives them up many years from now. Their names will be placed on a plaque in the town cemetery along with those of many others whose resting places are on the mountains.