As you can see from the picture above, views from downtown Chamonix are not hard to look at! Right now we are making trips down the valley to town on an almost daily basis in order to get various housewares and other essentials. Since we do not have a car yet, we take the bus and can only get as much stuff as we can take in our grocery bags and backpacks (sac a dos in French). Hopefully it will not be long until we have most everything we need and do not have to go into town quite so often. If we happen to venture into town at the wrong time, the bus can be a bit crowded!
The picture on the left is looking forward on the bus, and the one on the right is looking backward. For reference, the buses are the same size as the Summit Stage buses. The Cham bus drivers are not afraid however to pack as many people as can possibly fit. There seems to be no limit as there must have been 80 people on the bus in the pictures above. More than half of the people in the above pictures were little kids so they are short and you can’t see all of them in the pictures. Emily and I were squished into our seat so as to allow as many kids from the local UCPA to squeeze in as possible. The UCPA is like a state supported YMCA of sorts. They have all sorts of outdoor classes for kids and adults. On the day the above pictures were taken, the kids were going climbing. In the torrential rain. The UCPA people do not let any kind of weather stop them from getting outside.
The one nice thing about having so many people get on the bus at the same time, at least on a cold day, is that within minutes the bus heats up by about 15 degrees! On warmer days, the windows are usually open so this is not a problem. Being on the bus when it is that crowded has happened to us a few times and every time we marvel at how many more people can get on the bus when we think it is packed like a sardine can already.
It will be very interesting to see how many people are able to get on the bus when winter arrives and everyone has skis, boards, helmets, boots and packs!
The only really bad part about the bus being so crowded is that you can not see very well out of the windows because they are blocked by people and are sometimes foggy. When you reach the “S” curves lower down the valley, the bus becomes more like a roller coaster and can make one car sick. It is for that reason that I recommend always sitting on the right side of the bus. It allows a better view than the left side where the view out of the front of the bus is blocked by the driver. (Pro tip!)
It seems that most trips on the bus involve some sort of adventure or interesting happenings, so I am sure I will write about it again in the future.