Tuesday, 21 September 2010

dans les montagnes.

a few weeks ago jd asked me if he could take me to the mountains. the answer was a clear: oui! making the most of london's proximity to geneva, we left friday after work and arrived late in the night. in some ways, i think this is the best way to arrive in the mountains, you awake hours later to daylight and this: 

our view.

it's so spectacular, it's breathtaking. in every sense of the word. it is hard to imagine you have left behind  the hustle and bustle of the city for the still majesty of the mountains. i have been fortunate to spend time in the mountains before and regardless of where in the world, or how big, their relative enormity to everything else, simply astonishes me. 

les praz.

the weather on saturday was variable. mainly cloudy, a little rainy, and really not great for being up the mountain. so we amused ourselves with a walk into town along a mountain stream, hot chocolate, croque monsieurs and shopping. after salivating over gear we felt as though we were terribly restrained to only walk away with a pair of new boots and some running kit for jd and a new mid-winter jacket pour moi. 

the town of chamonix is amazing. it has a really relaxed feel to it, and while it is obvious that it is a mountain town and caters to all sorts of adventurers, it also really feels like a place where regular people live and work and get married (we witnessed two weddings!) 

we meandered back to the hotel and lazed the rest of the afternoon away, jd being particularly thoughtful and sourcing some local french cheese and charcuterie for a late afternoon snack. we then ate dinner in the hotel dining room, which by the way, had the most incredible breakfast! dinner did not disappoint and we supped at what is widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in the area. let's just say that it's a darn good thing that JD and i share an appreciation for good food. it really makes everything so much better. 

sunday morning we awoke the most amazing site: sun! it was perfect for going up the mountain and we were ready. chamonix is a valley town, surrounded by mountains, most famously, mont blanc. 

there are cable cars up the side of the mountain, a feat in engineering and audacity if you ask me. there's not much one can say about the mountains, mainly because they render you speechless. i am always in awe of the creator when i stand in the midst of his grandeur, and this was no exception. 

gondola up the mountain.

and amidst all this beauty, and the daring feat of man to tame the wilderness, you are reminded that really, it's all very wild. the sound of rescue helicopters is almost constant and it is clear that those climbing the mountain have a deep reverence for the power of nature, and for the potential for anything to go wrong at any moment. it is amazing to see people tackle these enormous, and terribly unforgiving peaks.

we spent time marvelling at the creation and taking the requisite photos. along the way we met a number of lovely people, most of whom seemed to have come from canada, or have a connection to the great white north, particularly, and not terribly surprisingly, la belle province.

it is simply the most stunning place. 

this could be an iphone advert.

i think we should be in the next brochure for the chamonix bureau du tourisme.

taking the gondola back to the mid-station we decided to hike back down the mountain. which, contrary to popular thought, it harder than hiking up. two days later, my legs are still feeling it. 

and so i came to a realisation, one which i have probably had before. one i am now writing down - i like to think of myself as a city girl. i love the rush of it all, the frenetic pace, the hustle and bustle, the access to  many of the greatest museums and theatre and restaurants in the world. but actually, probably, i'm much more restored in the wild-ness.  i connect with who i was created to be. i know myself more. and it was so great to get to know jd there also. to have those talks that define who you are together - who you want to be - who you believe god is calling forth. 

one of my all-time favourite songs from summer camp was spirit of gentleness: 

You moved on the waters, you called to the deep,
then you coaxed up the mountains from the valleys of sleep,
and over the eons you called to each thing:
Awake from your slumbers and rise on your wings.

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