Our Swiss adventure began in July. This was my first time in the Alps and I was SO excited to glimpse them from the plane! When we landed in Geneva, we grabbed a train to Bex, just south of Aigle. As we passed along Lake Geneva through Lausanne and Montreux, I was astonished at the beauty. Towering mountains, clear turquoise waters with swimmers and paddle boarders, vineyards for miles, chateaus and French villas! I wanted to stop there and skip the rest of the trip… I mean, it couldn’t get any better right?
But we continued on to Bex where we would catch a small local train up the mountain to the village of Gryon where I had booked a dirt cheap flea-bag chalet on AirBnb that was still available for the day the Tour de France was coming through the valley!!! Score!!!
Well not so fast. First we had to find it. ‘Joe’ did not give very good directions, actually he gave no directions. Just an address. But how hard could it be to find a house in a tiny village on the side of a mountain in the Alps? You know the answer to this question. Another tidbit of information is that google street view has not mapped a lot of the streets in the Alps so all I knew was take the first left after the train station and follow that street to the end. Ok. But there was no street sign! There was no street sign anywhere! And our phones had no signal so we can’t call ‘Joe’ either.
We asked the lady at the cafe du gare. She lived here and had never heard or our street! Great. She lets us use her map app on her phone. We thought we knew where we were going. So off we went. Uphill. With our luggage.
The street divided more than expected. We chose poorly and when we reached the end of the that street 1 kilometer later and approached the house… it was occupied! Turn around and walk 1 kilometer back to the train station with our luggage. And all along the way, never seeing any street signs at all. But at some point I fling my suitcase on the ground open it in someone’s driveway and completely unpack everything to find my phone charger parts which I did not pack together. (Mr. Hubs rolls on the ground laughing at this juncture and I’m pretty sure we did not have an argument then.)
At the station I take a picture of the map (Duh- you didn’t think of this before?!) posted on the wall of the station. This is mildly helpful. However our phones are almost dead as are we from exhaustion that we have dinner at the cafe du gare to regain some strength and rehydrate since we didn’t plan for this long of a day and our water is gone. We drag our little suitcases out on the balcony of the empty cafe trying unsuccessfully to not look TOO touristy.
After a tasty meal involving cheese, we set out again. Hubs is pretty sure of which wrong turn we made. So this time we choose the high road (note: they are all high) and come almost to the end of the street and approach the house with the correct number and it is occupied too!! (Sacre bleu!) But a lady on the balcony says ‘AirBnb?’ and we say ‘Oui!!’ And she points across the street. So ‘Joe’ had given us the wrong house number in addition to no help finding it! We see the lock box and get the key and VOILA! It opens the door! Merci beau coup mon Dieu!
We tumble into the house and quickly open as many windows and doors as it is quite hot inside. After taking cold showers and donning fresh wrinkly clothes we sat on the deck and had tea. And there was silence. And there before us were the huge mountains staring us in the face just sitting there like they have done for millennia. Awe….. Stillness…..Not even a breeze. Just air hanging between us and the mountains like it has done since Hannibal crossed the Alps with elephants 2000 years ago. Timeless giants waiting on the next human to see them and be stunned.
The next morning we planned our day around ‘The Tour’ and it was a bit tricky……next post!!