Elaine Miller (otherwise known as Gusset Grippers) is a Women’s Health Physio and wonderful comedienne from Edinburgh. She has just completed a sold out stint at the Edinburgh Fringe doing an evidenced-based show on the pelvic floor! You have read about her many times on my blog. I met Elaine years ago on Facebook and we have become firm virtual friends. We met IRL (in real life) a couple of years ago at The Women’s Health Summit and as I was coming to London on my way to Florence for ICS 2017, we arranged to meet in York as it is approximately half way between London and Edinburgh.
We had a delicious spread at Mannions in York – worth the trip alone for the morning tea.
It was so good to be able to brainstorm some ideas with Elaine and chat about her future gigs – many of which are in Australia later this year. Using comedy to bring continence and sexual dysfunction out of the cupboard is such a brilliant idea and Elaine does it with such aplomb! Saying pish in Scottish is far less awkward too. York is a gorgeous city – very historic and lots of fabulous pubs and cafes to eat at.
Friday saw an early start and an Uber to Heathrow to fly onward to Europe. We flew into Geneva and hired a car driving to Annecy in a very quick time. Annecy is a beautiful French town with a definite old and new section. We stayed in the old section and it was easy to wander around for hours, stopping occasionally for a pizza and Aperol spritzer.
The next day we headed with great excitement to Chamonix and Mont Blanc. This has been something I have wanted to do since our wonderful walks around the Swiss and Italian Alps in previous trips and some very good friends had stumbled across Chamonix accidentally and reported its beauty to us.
The first day was rainy and chilly as we headed up to Montenvers and the Mer De Glace – via a little red train to 1913 metres to see this famous glacier.
The panoramic view of the mountains was obscured unfortunately by cloud and rain, but we were able to still descend to the Ice Cave and witness for ourselves, as we climbed down the 448 steps, the terrible effect of global warming on the depth of the glacier. It’s quite staggering how much it has receded, particularly in the last 2 years, between 2015 and 2017.
448 steps down and up to the Ice Cave
At the entrance to the Ice cave and Bob and Jimmy at ‘The Bar’ inside the Ice Cave
This dog accompanies one of the workers and spends the day at the glacier every day
The most frequently visited app on my phone around holiday time is the weather app and the completely clear yellow sun with no clouds showing on the app for Chamonix was the best news there could be. It was to be Sophie and Jimmy’s last day in Chamonix and to see the tip of Aguille Du Midi revealing itself above the mountain in front of our hotel was very exciting. I’ll let the photos do the talking, but this should be a must on any bucket list you create.
I would recommend staying a week in Chamonix. The town is exciting and very pretty and just sitting in any cafe and looking in any direction and there’s a stunning view to behold. There are so many walks to do – I would definitely recommend getting at least a 3 day pass to get onto all the gondolas to the different areas – this includes the Du Midi but you’ll pay an extra 29 euro to take the Panoramic Mont Blanc Gondola to Helbronner which travels across to Italy. It takes 30 minutes each way and allow time to spend there checking out the different view to the Italian Alps.
To get the most out of the day we grabbed some quick lunch and then headed off to the Mont Blanc Tramway – it was the final day this was open so we were very lucky with the timing (we had no idea this would close for the season so early). It was very crowded and as time was short (and I was suffering with a touch of altitude something) we decided to jump back in the return trip and then set off hiking from the train station at the top of the mountain down to Les Houches. It was such a beautiful walk and a great way to finish Sophie and Jimmy’s stay with us.
The busy Mont Blanc Tramway and the mountainside wildflowers and panoramic vistas on our hike
We were a trifle worried when we chose these dates for Mont Blanc because the famous Ultra Trail Marathon is on at this time. But if anything I think it makes it more exciting to be here with the UTMB on (but accommodation is difficult to get at the last minute).
Time for bed but there is more to come with the beautiful Chamonix…..