Walks and hikes in Europe and California, posted sporadically as they happen… or as I reflect on them…

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Alps, 2013, 1: Thonon les Bains

Thonon les Bains, June 20, 2013

After a long flight, San Francisco-Chicago-Philadelphia-Frankfort-Geneva, complicated by late planes and therefore missed connections, we finally flew into Geneva, Mont Blanc welcoming us through the windows on the left side of the airplane, at five p'clock, but where are our bags? Oh: on a different belt, for some reason.

We take the nominally free train into the city, paying for it necause we bought the tickets just outside the airport, and then tried to find the bus station for our bus into Thonon les Bains. I ask a seedy- looking guy for directions, then disbelieve him because he contradicts advice I'd heard from others, and he is indignant; we search further asking people in a dubious district full of plump scantily dressed women lounging at street corners in heavy makeup. 

Finally we find the station, buy tickets of another seedy fellow who is negotiating with a Bulgarian truck driver who wants to park in the bus lot,and get on our bus. Where to get off? I ask about this of many other passengers and the coductrice driving the bus, eliciting considerable discussion. Finally we get off, with an Algerian who had reserved the same hotel on Bookings.com just before me.

This is one of those unattended residence-hotels: the blackboard welcomes us and directs us to our various rooms, where we find a key. We shower, change, and go to the first and only eatery we find still open. a Mexican joint, pleasant, amusing, and relaxing. By night the town is quite beautiful, mysterious, entrancing; or it is perhaps our fatigue, and our uncertainty about tomorrow. 

 Restaurant, Thonon les Bains

Then back to our hotel, where we share the double bed quite chastely. When making the reservation I'd requested two beds, but you don't always get what you ask for.