Bastille Day and an Update on the TMB

Today is the French Holiday of Bastille Day, when France Celebrates it’s independence. And tomorrow may be another special day in France.

Flag of France.svg
Public Domain,

What better way to celebrate than with fu-fu coffee at a local French restaurant?

I think this is Affogato but you’d think a wouldna fogato that.

But our special days in France are also coming shortly.

Sylvia and I will soon be embarking on the adventure of a lifetime – the Tour Du Mont Blanc, 100+ miles of walking through what many consider Europe’s finest Mountain scenery! Our excitement has us near to bursting.

Meanwhile, the French Trains are embarking on another sort of journey – a labor walkout. We have gotten news that a strike is ‘expected’ on the day we are supposed to travel from Paris to Chamonix. We didn’t know this when we booked several months back, of course…had we, we might well have opted for the (much more expensive) alternative of a flight into Geneva.

We have been following the situation as best we can. Most trains apparently do run during the strike. The TGV high speed trains will likely run, maybe with delays…but many of the local trains will not run. What that means is, we SHOULD be able to get as close as Annecy…only an hour from our destination – before we run out of train. From there, worst case scenario we could hop a bus or even rent a car to take us the rest of the way.

That failing, it may be possible to rent a car from Paris itself (seems unlikely if the trains go completely out) or hop a bus (for a VERY long cross-country ride.) Another worst-case possibility…we can simply arrive a day late an pick up our itinerary a day ahead, using our extra time at the end of the hike to complete circuit if we are so willing and able.

One of the annoying thing about the strike is the fact that there’s no good way to know if a train is running or not until the day before it actually runs., the French National Rail Service website, helpfully has info showing how much our carbon footprint will be for our train ride (is it more if I have an extra soda?) but so far says nothing about whether the train will run or not.

Here’s the image at the top of SNCF’s Strike Info Web Page…note the level of deep concern on the face of the redcap below, who looks as if he’s about to punch out the rude scarf waving tourist.

“I’m sorry sir, your travel plans are completely f-ed. May I offer you a crepe instead?”

We have looked at, and ruled out, a flight into Geneva as a possible work around. Re-doing our itinerary at this point would likely cause more problems than it would fix, as well as adding sharply to the cost of the operation.

At any rate…we’re prepared for delays. Such is the reality of travel.

On the other hand we’re finished with the preparations for the trip. We checked in with all our reservations and all but one so far has confirmed…we’re on for the tour! The last of our wanted gear  has arrived, we have field tested our packs…

Brian has declared himself in the best shape he can possibly be in, under the circumstances (these being an over-abundance of birthdays, his ‘trick knee’ and over-fondness for chocolate) and Sylvia is responding to treatment for her ‘crankle.’ We’re basically at the point now when any additional preparation is more likely to do harm than good. There’s only one thing left to do…and that’s the walk.

Here’s a few photos from a recent training walk on the Neuse River Greenway





We’re almost there! The Hundred Miles Afoot in the Alps is coming!



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