4 Sep 2011

Fear and Flying - My Holidays Part 2

In lieu of a proper Top 10 List today, I have just naughtily split the top 10 between yesterday's post and today's as er, it's a bit long! But you do sort of get a mini photo essay *and* a video. Not of me.

Anyway, in case you missed it, I spent the last week in Chamonix in the Alps....if you've not been before, it looks a bit like this:

Anyway, back to the list, I did a lot of reading whilst I was away (because of the spraining-of-ankle debacle)....

5) The Books
My very lovely parents-in-law got me a kindle for my birthday. Now I was quite averse to the idea of a kindle when they first came on the scene but I can now assure you that in resting ankle type situations and killing two hours at Geneva airport and general reading on mountain situations, they come in very handy. As I certainly could not have fitted all the following books I read into my hand luggage:

  • The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly -  awesome read, couldn't put it down. (thriller) 5/5
  • How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran - also awesome, will be a doing a whole separate post on it (feminism) 5/5
  • Last Train From Liguria by Christine Dwyer Hickey - slow start but gripping (historical) 4/5
  • Hollywood Sinners by Victoria Fox - pure bonkbuster trash, loved it! 4/5
  • That Summer In Ischia by Penny Feeney - a bit disappointing tbh (general fiction) 2/5
  • Shopaholic Takes Manhattan/And Sister/Ties the Knot/And Baby by Sophie Kinsella - i've read all these before, decent chicklit and exactly what my poorly ankle needed 4/5
6) The Paragliding
At the top of the Planpraz cable car, rough opposite the Aiguille du Midi, all the (crazy) paragliders jump off the mountain side. It's bloody awesome/terrifying watching them. I can't decide if I want to have a go at some point or not. Anyway, here are a couple of pics and also a video of them taking flight!

7) The Hiking
Last year, when we went to Sorrento, we used the Cicerone hiking/walking guide and it was spot on.
This year we thought we'd pick up the Walks Around Mont Blanc guide and use this along with a decent map. However, the guide book wasn't really quite as helpful this year but in case you're interested, we did the following walks:

  • Le Chapeau + Tete Des Prapatours - high and frickin scary. Also the ankle-debacle walk. Awesome views though, over Chamonix valley + up to Monte Blanc/Aiguille du Midi
  • Grand Balcon Sud: La Flegere to Planpraz - amazing views of Bossons Glacier/Mont Blanc/Aiguille Du Midi and also the paragliders taking off. Easy walk, bit high up though
  • Lac Blanc: La Flegere to Col d'Index via said Lac. High, boring, hot. Lac a disappointment. Oh and we also got lost. So ended up being an 8 hour walk not 4-5hours :(

8) The Eating + Drinking
The apartment we stayed in had a kitchenette so on the days my ankle was bad we stayed in and had spaghetti for dinner. However that's not very exciting so places in Chamonix I would recommend are:

  • Hotel Eden - technically this is in La Praz, about 30 mins walk from central Chamonix. It's a cute boutique-y still hotel but the food is GORGEOUS and very good value
  • Poco Loco: cheap burger bar in central Chamonix BUT serving  best burgers I've had.
  • La Terrasse - nice bar with the most amazing views of Aiguille du Midi, Monte Blanc + the Bossons Glacier. Bizarrely all the staff appear to be English!
  • Aux Petits Gourmands: Yummy bakery - perfect for consuming all calories burned off hiking.

9) The Sexism
Whilst we were away, the following events occurred. I leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide if the behaviour was sexist. Oh, and FYI our hotel booking was in my maiden name and paid for with MY credit card.
  • Incident 1 - when we check in, I give The Man at reception my credit card to take a copy but when I proffer my passport too he insists on taking husbando's only. He also appears to only speak directly to husbando.
  • Incident 2 - When we check out I make it clear the booking is in my name (again) paid for by me (again) with my credit card (again). Even so The Man man addresses all questions to husbando, and gives him all the paperwork EVEN with my sodding name on it. When we have to pay cash for something I get my purse out, get 20 euros out and hand it to The Man and he then bloody gives the change to husbando
10) The View
And finally, in case you've forgotten, here's a taster of some of the views. All the awesome pics are on my camera which husbando has. When I can wrestle it off him, I shall post a proper photo essay with pics of glaciers/Mont Blanc etc

So that's it. I'll be back this week with a different sort of book review of the Caitlin Moran book as well as a new WOTW (Perspective) and some other bits and pieces! Thanks for all the blog love last month also :)

Thank you and goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building


  1. know the alps pretty well but only when they are covered in snow ....I was so tempted to do the paragliding my last visit ...perhaps next time !

  2. I would LOVE to try that paragliding! Sounds like you had a good time despite your ankle, glad it didn't sour everything.
    And what an idiot - laughable though - that he handed the change from YOUR payment to your husband!I'd hate to be traveling alone there...

  3. that's the trouble with great trips....they end. speaking of endings...DON'T paraglide. it's 'safe' until it's NOT SAFE. if humans were meant to soar thru the thermals like that we'd be seagulls. and I ain't about to start eatin' raw crabs and crappin' on old ladies' heads....that reminds me....bring home any good souvenirs? you were in france (technically) after all.....also, kinsella has another good book about life in a posh, glitzy manhattan apartment building, called One Fifth Avenue (or something like that). the manhattan vibe and the london vibe must have a lot of similarities, so the characters and urban situations should translate very well. what's autumn in london like? describe ur own town thru travellers' eyes. know how to deal with that biased crap at the hotel? put it on the web. blog about it again AND NAME NAMES---hotel etc.. commercial concerns hate that kind of word of mouth, especially from someone whose material gets a lot of traffic. THE POWER IS YOURS and who knows?...the argument may go viral!

  4. Sounds like you still got a lot done despite the ankle incident. I really like Caitlin Moran's column in the Times, so looking forward to that review. on the sexism, reminds me of some of my Utah-based friend's stories.


  5. I seem to have deleted some words from the middle of my comments - oops. Can't remember what they were, but the gist was that The Man's attitude sucks.


  6. Hey thanks for the comments guys :)

    @kez - nothing in the world could induce me to run off a cliff attached to nothing but a harness + large piece of nylon :P but if you do it, I expect a guest blog post pronto!

    @li - thanks lovely, nope lying on a sun lounger wasn't too stressful :P Glad to know I wasn't overreacting re: The Man

    @wilkravitz wahhhh totally agree re: paragliding, you're so sensible! Re: naming+shaming, I'm thinking of writing to their head office, rather than publicly denouncing them. It was a lovely hotel and only The Man's behaviour soured it.

    @caroline haha, you'll have to fill me in on Utah tales when I see you, week after next! xx

    Thanks everyone!