January 4th 2015 - Travel from Prague to Chamonix - Day 140

Today is the day Peter has been waiting for the entire trip - we are heading to Chamonix to ski for 5 weeks.  Peter has worked hard to make sure he is done with school so he can ski everyday while we are in town and he is just about there.  He did two semesters in the span on one and it was a huge accomplishment for him.  

The day was pretty easy.  The flight was on time, the van we booked was there and waiting for us. The driver was informative and filled us in on where to ski, and the rental manager was there waiting for us when we arrived at our apartment, then things slid off the rails a bit.  As I said a few days ago, the lodging we book can really determine the quality of the stay and after being in so many different places we can tell pretty quickly what we are in for.  This place was booked through a local company rather than VRBO or AirBnB so we at least had someone who we could work with.  The apartment is on the top floor of a Chalet a few minutes walk to the Chamonix city center, which is great.  It has a fantastic view of Mount Blanc and has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, but that is where the party stops.  When we walked in the smell of cigarette smoke was prevalent.  After touring the property we figured the elves that lived here full time must be smokers.  Being in the top floor of a chalet sounds glamorous until you are in the top floor of a chalet.  Think attic.  The only way to stand up in Peter's room is to be 6 years old.  There is room in the "master" for a queen bed.  I did not end that sentence prematurely, that is all there is room for, not standing people AND a bed, just a bed.  The elves kitchen would fit nicely on a small sailboat, but is a little tight for four people.  And oddly enough for a building where there are smokers, there was no smoke detector - nice touch.  It may sound a little like I am complaining when I should not be, and that is probably right, but it certainly was not the welcome we were hoping for.  We worked with the rental company to air out the place, install a smoke detector, but they refused to raise the roof so we could stand up.  So we are here and making due in our small quarters for two weeks before moving 10 minutes up the valley to Argentiere.

The rest of the day was spent buying our used skis, getting our lift passes and getting some basic supplies for the apartment.  Chamonix is a very cool place and the mountains surrounding the town are the most impressive things I have ever seen.  We are all very excited to go skiing, but also a bit nervous as we have never been skiing in Europe on mountains like this before.