Written somewhere over the atlantic.
Last time I wrote I had just gotten back to Charlotte. I drove down last Saturday afternoon from my mom’s house in New York, arriving around 2 am Sunday morning. I got a few hours of sleep, took a shower, and headed out for Sunday Funday. It was a beautiful yet aggressive day of drinking and watching football with great friends.
When the opportunity to go to Geneva presented itself, at first I hesitated, thinking that I should stay in Charlotte and get my life sorted out. But after a few long island iced teas (we refer to this as “getting on the island,” try it) I made the executive decision to jump on a flight on Monday and I’m so glad I did.
The last time I was in Europe was in 2010. I studied abroad in law school and lived in Holland and Switzerland. Switzerland is one of my favorite places in the world, and it was awesome to get back.
I arrived Tuesday around 5pm. I showered up and set out to find some wine and cheese. I stumbled across the cutest little restaurant – Cottage Café. The waiter jokingly refused to seat me because I was alone, but I forgave him for giving me grief as soon as he brought me my wine. He recommended a fantastic syrah that I absolutely adored. The rest of the night was spent at another little bar drinking wine, and then back to the hotel.
On Wednesday I decided to take a trip to Chamonix, France. When I lived in Lausanne, Switzerland I used to stare at Mont Blanc while I ran along Lake Geneva and I have been wanting to get up there ever since. While I only spent an afternoon there, Chamonix rose towards the top of my favorite places list. Such a perfect little place with a stunning back drop. There’s a river running through the town that is just gorgeous, the air is the freshest I think I’ve ever breathed, and the streets are lined with the most adorable shops, hotels, and restaurants. The whole place is just a dream – I’m pretty sure I wore a goofy smile across my face the entire time I was there.
The weather was fantastic. I dressed warmly because I thought I would be a bit higher up, but ended up walking around in jeans, boots and a t shirt. If life were like a cartoon, I would want to be drawn in this outfit.
In order to get to Chamonix, I walked up to the train station and caught a train back to the airport. I then hopped on the “Alpybus,” a shuttle that took me directly to Chamonix. To get back, I used EasyBus, as they had a better return schedule. I was able to book my return online while I was enjoying beers in town.
I had missed the trains in Europe. When I arrived at the station, I almost trashed the Cham Plan as I was overwhelmed by the amount of places I could get to from Geneva. But the Cham Plan was a good one and I’m glad I stuck to it.
So, I took a train to the airport, caught a shuttle, and ended up in Chamonix. It was a quick trip and I needed the nap on the bus. When I first arrived I headed straight towards the gondola – I wanted to get up the top of Mont Blanc. A lot of the businesses were shut down when I got there around 2 pm, including the ticket windows for the gondola. So, I walked up the hill and found a cute little café that kept the gondola and mountain in direct sight. After about 30 minutes I was informed that the gondola was not running at all – too windy. It was disappointing, but I was still so happy to be there that it wasn’t a big deal. Also, I knew that an afternoon in this incredible place would never be enough, and I would have to plan a trip back anyways. So, I ordered another Leffe and continued to eavesdrop on the girls sitting next to me.
Let me tell you ‘bout these girls. They had been traveling together for a year. Both of them were in committed relationships, one with a girl and one with a guy. Both of them hated that their significant others smoked weed. They argued about whether it was an addiction or just a culture. The lesbian girl seemed very unhappy with her partner – she found her to be lazy, bad at traveling, and referred to her as a golden retriever. My immediate thought upon hearing this: “shit, I’ve totally been the goldren retriever.” Big gulp of Leffe. This girl seemed weighed down by life and there was a general err of negativity about her. Oh, and her friend was the one who planned their year of travel. She was just following her along. Hmm…
I suppose I shouldn’t criticize, as I was the creep who was sitting there by myself listening to their conversation….and taking notes about it. My final note about this experience was “I could sit here all f’ing day.” And I totally could have.
But finally I left, venturing further into the town to see what other wonderful things Chamonix had to offer. There were tons of ski shops, souvenir shops, and cute little restaurants. A highly trusted source recommended that I go to Poco Loco for “the best burger ever.” This thing was massive – and the bread, oh the bread. I ordered a giant beer and sat outside next to a Patagonia-clad couple who responsibly ordered small beers and a burger to share. When I first started eating the beautiful creation I thought “there’s no way I’ll finish this thing.” A little while later I realized that I only had a few bites to go, hadn’t even touched my beer, and that I was completely covered in crumbs. Like, my lap, the table, my phone sitting on the table – all covered in crumbs from the fresh, delicious, flaky hamgburger bun. I looked over at the couple politely splitting their burger, and then looked back at my beer and thought “you’re next.” No shame in my burger game. 🙂
I spent the rest of the day in Chamonix popping in and out of shops. I found fantastic headbands for the girls at “technique extreme” and made my way back to the shuttle. I fell asleep on the way home with my cell phone in my hands and woke up to the sound of it falling onto the floor, and into the door of the bus. I could see it dangling between the running boards and almost lost my shit. Fortunately the driver pulled over (about 20 stressful minutes later) and I was able to retrieve it. Eek.
Although I was absolutely exhausted, I ventured out that night. I drank a good bit of wine at Le Rouge et Le Blanc and ended up sharing a taxi with two older British couples. This didn’t make much sense as I was very close to my hotel, but it was an experience nonetheless.
Thursday was cold and rainy and most of it was spent at the spa. I desperately needed a facial – my skin was horribly dry and my eyes had bags under them. The traveling, drinking and lack of sleep had taken its toll on me and it was visible on my face.
I wandered around and found a delicious sandwich for lunch – just a simple tomato and mozzarella on a baguette…simple, fresh ingredients are really all you need.
Dinner that night was back at Cottage Café, although this time I had some fantastic company. We had the same wine I had the first night, as well as the “cheese frenzy” cheese plate, stuffed figs, smoked fish, and squid. It was a beautiful night to be sitting outside, and the view of the lake and city (ok and maybe the company) was fantastic. After dinner we stopped in a little pub for a few beers. They were playing a Passenger album (the guys who sing the Budweiser puppy commercial song) and everything about the place was just relaxing and fun. I added a bunch of their stuff to my music library and now every time they come on I think of that night, and this trip to Geneva.
It was awesome. I had forgotten how much I loved Europe and how easy it was to travel there. Over the past few years most of my travel has been to hot, island destinations, and this trip, particularly my adventure in Chamonix reminded me of how much I love the mountains, cool weather, and the culture of Europe.
Next up: my trip back & QC weekend festivities
Thanks for reading! ❤