Chamonix, France; Day 1

We ended the day in France but first spent some time exploring Geneva. We have enjoyed good weather through most of our trip. We even avoided significant rain in Venice despite the forecasts. Today we were only partially as fortunate.

We started out with Brunch a place that offered pancakes – always a guarantee to put a smile on the kids’ faces.

From there we walked to the central feature of Geneva – the waterfront where Lake Geneva exits as the Rhône river. We were getting intermittent sprinkles so we knew our time was limited but the temperature was comfortable and we wanted to see the number one tourist attraction in town. When we arrived it wasn’t turned on which was a disappointment but before Brian and Tiffany finished their Cafe au Lait in the park that was remedied.

The Jet d’Eau
Adventurers at the Jet d’Eau

The Jet d’Eau (Jet of Water) shoots 130 gallons of water per second 460 feet into the air. The first Jet was installed in 1886 as a safety feature. At that time, water was pumped into the city to support commercial machinery. At night, demand would slow so pressure would build up in the water lines. To relive the pressure the water was released in via a safety valve in a jet that would reach 300 feet.

The aesthetic value of the Jet d’Eau quickly became apparent and 5 years later it was moved to its present location. For over 125 years it has delighted residents and visitors alike – including the 5 Adventurers today.

The rain continued to hold off so we took in some views of the city. Usually we earn our panoramic views by clambering up hundreds of stairs or steep hills. This time we did it the easy way – via the Grande Roue.

Geneva’s Grand Roue
Short line today for the Grand Roue

It’s wasn’t a terribly long ride but we got a great view of the city.

On our way through the park, we encountered a man blowing huge bubbles. As grown up as the kids are getting, they still love to chase bubbles – especially when they are bigger than a soccer ball.

Kids being kids
Geneva waterfront park

Next we pursued another local institution – no, not Swiss Army knives although those were for sale everywhere – but high end chocolate. We chose a place called The BonBonniére, an easy walk from the waterfront.

Browsing the cases at The BonBonniére

The kids chose some milk chocolate lollipops with designs on the front and seemed quite pleased with their choices.

Spoils of chocolate shopping

For their treat, Brian and Tiffany chose a small selection of chocolates from the case – nougat, orange and raspberry.

Our luck had run out with the weather. When we left the shop a light but steady rain had replaced the occasional drops. No worries – we had gotten a free pass for public transportation so we jumped on the local bus and got dropped about a block from our hotel. We were a little damp, but overall felt pretty lucky.

Since the weather didn’t look to improve, we got on the road to our ‘home’ for the next few days – Chamonix, France. Only about an hour from Geneva, it’s a charming ski town and was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924. Its local population is around 10,000 but over 5 million visitors a year come for the skiing and mountaineering. The drive into the Alps was beautiful despite the rain. Tall cliff faces and misting clouds dwarfed small hamlets scattered along the route.

We didn’t see much of town. The rain grew steadily so we ventured out for only a quick dinner and grocery run. What we did see looks like a movie set ski town – cute shops and restaurants with mountains rising dramatically in every direction. We are staying in an apartment in town with a little view from the patio.

Path to town from our apartment

We’re looking forward to a few days exploring the town and the area. The weather is predicted to be rainy but we’re hoping our luck wins out. If not, we’ll find mostly indoor Adventures to have.

It was a good day in both countries so it seemed fitting to end it with fancy Swiss Chocolate and tasty French wine.

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