Naïveté, bad luck and good fortune all had parts in our eventful journey from sunny Strasbourg to rainy Chamonix in the French Alps on Monday.
Three trains were to take us on the nine-hour trip, but a bus and a very expensive taxi ride saved the day in the end.
The second train ride, meant to take us from Lyon in southern France to Saint Gervais, started well. But, when we got to the end of the line, we discovered we were in Evian! (Try that word backwards.)
We had lost half our train! It turned out that at one of the stops, the last three cars decoupled and they went to Saint Gervais, without us.
It was 9 p.m. and we were in Evian, a long way from our hotel room. We found the train engineer and he found us a bus, which took us back to Annemasse. He said to tell the folks at the train station what happened and that they would call a taxi to take us to Chamonix. A Japanese photographer in the same boat followed us.
We pulled into the Annemasse train station about 10 p.m. The bus driver spoke little English, but had been told of our plight and waited while we sought help.
However, the station was deserted. Now what? The benches looked like last-resort beds. Ouch!
Sue tried calling a taxi, but the first call went unanswered and the second got a recording in indecipherable French. The driver needed to go. We needed a taxi. A bilingual woman on the bus hopped off and called a taxi for the three of us.
It was nearly 11 p.m. when we pulled into Chamonix. The meter read 240€. As Sue and I approached the locked lobby of the La Chaumiere Hotel, tourists from London unlocked the door. An envelope on the counter welcomed the Spittles, our key inside!
It has been raining all day in Chamonix; our Tour du Mont Blanc begins tomorrow with more rain forecast. We will begin, rain or shine.
In Scotland, they might say “It never rains on the trail!”