Villarodin-Bourget, June 24, 2013 —
We were up at seven, waiting for breakfast at eight: bread, croissant, nice plum jam, orange juice, an underripe nectarine, café au lait. Then we packed, settled accounts, and stepped out onto the drizzly street toward the main street where we hoped a bus would appear to take us to Thonon. We stopped at a sporting goods store, where I bought a Bic to light the next candle, and a pharmacy, for some hand gel, and then the bus did appear, and we rode it for an hour through beautiful Savoyard country: pastures full of flowers, forests, always, beyond, the mountains.
We were in Thonon about 11:30 and stopped into a café for a coffee and to watch people. Then we got on our train, which took us to Bellegarde. There we changed to the Grenoble train. At Chambéry, though, where we were supposes to change trains, a group of young people with bicycles and backpacks rushed into the coach, detaining us on our way out, and the doors closed irreversibly just as we got to them; the train started up, and we were trapped.
The conductor showed up and I explained what had happened. He made an annotation on our ticket and told us to get off at the next stop, half an hour away, and take the next train back to Montmelian where we would catch a train to Modane. There was no better solution. We arrived in Modane an hour later than planned, to find the restaurants all close on Mondays, all but one rather seedy bar wrun by a frazzled, good-natured young woman who I kept amused. (I'm getting by in my version of French; not many I've encountered so far speak English.) you can read about dinner on the blog. We then took a taxi to our night's stay, an apartment in Villarodin-Bourget, very nice and cheap even with the taxi fare.