Monday, May 10, 2010

The Wrong Way Up

After the Nestle visit, we had a quick lunch and it was off to Charmonix, France, home of Mont Blanc the tallest mountain in Europe.  My main goal was to climb to the top, but well, I didn’t quite achieve that goal today.  First off, a few of us purchased train tickets to for a trip to the top.  With our amazing French we were able to buy the wrong tickets for a hour tour ride to basically nowhere.  Luckily, we were able to get a refund to the right ride up.  By the right ride up, I mean a lift to the wrong mountain and not all the way up.  Apparently Mont Blanc is unclimbable, at least by amateurs.  It also was cloudy and a bit stormy so the lifts were going up and down irregularly and there was zero visibility.  So, instead I ended up getting some last minute shopping done, mostly gifts to bring home.  Something I really need to do, so maybe this all was just a sign.

I can’t say France was my favorite place.  The city and scenery was quite nice, but the people weren’t necessarily the friendliest.  Or, at least not from what I saw. You can definitely tell the image of the French and their take on Americans, however we made the best of it, despite the language barrier. 
This trip has been full of rain, and we have been told we’ve see some of the worst weather in the area for quite some time.  Still, it was a good chance to just look around at the mountains and valleys and really take in the sites.  The backgrounds are all so beautiful and the buildings filled with such history and character.  It’s hard not to look around and be amazed, and I often wonder if those that see these sights everyday take them for granted. I know there are so many things back home that I begin to take for granted myself, and one of these reasons I love to travel is because it really bring things back into perspective.

Europe is very similar to the US, but still, I realize how lucky I have it back at home and find the things that I miss.  When I lived in South America, being in a third world country, it really showed me the extravagant lives we have been blessed with, and I vowed never to take things for granted again and try to live in limited means.  However, I find myself doing all these things over again and maybe even feel a bit ashamed.   We really need to take time to see how something as mighty as a mountain is nothing without a low valley and begin to give thanks for all the gifts we have been given, even if we don't get to the summit right away.

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