Night of the Gnomes

Finhaut Travel Blog

 › entry 12 of 31 › view all entries

Florence to Finhaut Switzerland: 5/21/08

            This was going to be a very long day of traveling. We were leaving behind Italy and heading up to Switzerland and the Alps . Both Dave and I are very glad to be heading to Switzerland !

            The journey begins with the 11:14 train from Florence to Milan . Again we had a good person to talk with, but this time the person spoke very little English. Dave sat next to him and was able to have a good conversation even though both were very limited in each others languages. In Milan we caught a train to Brig Switzerland , then another train to Martigny. Before crossing into Switzerland we gave our final respects to Italy ; fingers bellow the chin and with a quick flick of the wrist outwards we said goodbye.

In Martigny they speak French, even though we are in Switzerland . The final train of the day would take us from Martigny to Finhaut. This train climbs straight up the mountain hugging the edge of 1,000ft cliffs. The view from this train is unforgettable! Waterfalls across the valley, hawks soaring on the updrafts and a long way down bellow a river makes its way down to the valley. We had a ride waiting for us at the station in Finhaut, we pulled in just before 19:00. The walk is not bad from the station to where we are staying but it is pretty much straight up. After checking in it was obvious that we had this entire place to ourselves, not only the hotel but the whole town! We headed out for a short hike; the clouds were hanging in the valley so it blocked our view of the glacier above. With all the moister in the air and the low hanging clouds, this area reminded me of the Pacific Northwest . After the hike we sat in the hotel bar and Dave spoke with the only other patron, who so happened to work for the private railroad that goes up the valley to Chamonix . Dave speaks fairly good French so he was able to converse with the guy. We soon found out that the French rail workers would be going on strike the next day. So there went the possibility of heading to Chamonix and a lift up to Mont Blanc . “Just like the French!!!”

That night all alone in the hotel I thought up a great idea for a movie about Gnomes attacking backpackers high up in the Swiss Alps. This was all brought about because of all the Gnome statues that were EVERYWHERE in this small town. Needless to say this put us on edge whenever we heard a small noise come from somewhere in the empty hotel. The next morning we would find Gnome statues on the window ledges down by the front office. The sun was just starting to come out and the clouds lifted for a few hours in the morning before we had to leave. So we went out for a short hike; half way through the hike the clouds came rolling up the valley and once again things were socked in.


Next stop Gryon, Switzerland.

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