On Thursday we had an early start, leaving home at 5am to head for Heathrow to catch a flight to Geneva. Arriving at around 11am, we picked up our hire car and headed down town to Lake Geneva where we took a boat trip around the lake before enjoying an ice cream in the park. We then headed across the border to France where our hotel was located just outside Annemasse.
On Friday we visited Annecy, a beautiful and genteel town beside a lake, about an hour south of Geneva. Here we wandered through the market set along the cobbled streets of the old town before eating lunch at a creperie. We then headed down to the lake where we hired a 'speed' boat for an hour. Toby & Joshua both enjoyed driving the boat, with Joshua thinking it was great to go round and round in circles - but for a 3 year old he did a pretty good job.
On Saturday we made an early start and arrived at Chamonix just after 9 in the morning. We took the Montenvers train up towards the Mer de Glace, a glacier running down the valley. We walked the mile or so descent down to the valley and then Graham descended the 284 steps down to the glacier to enter the ice grotto - a tunnel dug into the glacier itself. Fortunately there was a cable car to take us back up to the train station ready to catch the train back into Chamonix.
It was then onto the Aiguille du Midi cable car, which was actually two cable cars taking you first to about 7,000 feet, then a second continuing the journey up to 12,000 feet where a cafe and viewing platform were to be found. The last part of the cable car run was near vertical and with about 50 people in each car it made you think how strong the cable holding us up must have been.
On the way up we descended through one layer of cloud and out into the blue sky again, with the viewing platform and Mont-Blanc itself constantly moving in and out of the clouds. At 12,000+ feet the lack of oxygen was noticeable when climbing up stairs or undertaking any other physical exertion.
On Sunday, it was back to Geneva for our noon flight home. All in all, a thoroughly interesting and varied weekend.
See the rest of our pictures here for Geneva, Annecy & Chamonix.