For this year’s summer vacation, we decided to drive from Venice to Copenhagen – 18 days with 11 days on the road. That would take us about 6000km there and back!
23rd July 2009 – Day 1
– departed Venice for Annemasse (a suburb of Geneva , but on the French side) . That took us approx 7 hours driving. We used viamichelin guide online and our GPS to take us from Venice to Annemasse, passing through Milan and heading towards the Mont Blanc tunnel. We drove mainly on A4 highway until close to Torino, where we headed north on A5 towards Val D’Aosta and the French border.
Mont Blanc Tunnel Entrance
The entire trip was spectacular driving through the mountains. Along the drive through Aosta we passed impressive rows of grapevines and fruit trees – as far as your eyes could see, covering the mountain sides and valleys. Occasionally I spotted forts and castles on hilltops – some looked abandoned.
Eventually, the landscape changed a little – it got drier and rockier. We went through the Mont Blanc tunnel – it is approximately 11.6 km long and the toll price was €33.20 for a car one way. Along this route, we passed several known ski resorts like Courmayeur and Chamonix. We stopped in fact in Chamonix for a quick bite to eat and a little sight seeing.
Chamonix was full of people – mainly those into hiking and mountain biking. It is a picturesque town although one gets the feeling it is a little over commercialised-posh, overpriced hangout for the rich, fancy finding a Chanel boutique there – I mean in a ski-resort – I guess for those that do not ski, they can go shopping too! Anyways, I digress – as we were late around 3.30pm our options for a proper sitdown lunch were limited. We stopped at the first decent restaurant who happened to be serving food all day long – we had a great big salad there.
What would a resort like that be, if they did not have a proper bakery… we found one not too far from where had our lunch. It is called Aux Petit Gourmands (168, Rue du Docteur Paccard) bought 2 pieces of lemony ‘sable’ and a bag of their speciality ‘Palet de Glace’ – nougat pieces coated by meringue (photo left). The latter I must say were ‘heavenly’!
After spending like 2 hours in Chamonix, it was time to head back to the car and continue towards Geneva – our first overnight stop. The feeling being surrounded by the mountains and the fresh crisp air (took many deep breaths to cleanse the lungs.. hahah), we did not want to leave. But we are up against a tight schedule because the following day, we had to get to Paris and that would be another 5 hours of driving .
But wait.. on the way to the car, we spotted an imposing glacier – took like 20 shots of it… here is one of them (below)! Amazing…
We arrived in Annemasse around 7pm and found the hotel (Accor Hotel – good price, clean, close to the motorway and price included breakfast) and checked in. At 8pm, hungry and tired, we sought some local restaurants. If truth be told – Annemasse does not have the nicest neighbourhoods or streets like in Geneve . We drove and found the little town centre that is charming enough with a little bit of life! We had dinner at Le Tournavel (10, Rue Adrien Ligué, F-74100Annemasse) – serving fondue, raclette, savoyard specialities.. yum! I took the meat and cheese platter (actually an appetiser) but with the loads of bread and meat I wasn’t able to fit in more into my tummy.
My dinner at Le Tournavel
Unfortunately, our bad luck – on that day the hotel’s aircond was not working ended up not sleeping too well … Shites! Well the next day will be a new day – off to Paris.