We begin with the travel to the start day where all we needed to do was catch a flight, then a bus to Chamonix and into the hotel that we had booked. As ever we didn't have much time. I went to Steve's place of work and he managed to burn a precious hour tidying up before we headed to the airport. With some confusion about which gate we should be running for over with we were thankful to actually be on the plane heading in the right direction. I can't remember how we got delayed on the bus trip, perhaps it just took longer than we had planned, but it rolled into Chamonix at 1am but that was ok because we had booked a hotel right? In the dark we were using a combination of maps on phones, printed out sheets and blind guess work to try and find the nirvana of a warm bed, ideally one we had already paid for. Wondering around town it was obvious this was not a 24 hour party town, it was a barely a Tesco express sort of town, and everything was quiet and dark. In our minds we were trying to match up the thought of a well lit hotel reception area with helpful staff to our surroundings and even the most optomistic person might have to conceed that it was looking rather unlikey. As a light rain joined in mocking us we found our hotel. In a slight jerk of reality we realised that the door was not only locked but all the lights were off. A quick retrospective meeting revealed that while we had thought we had booked the small print suggested that until a confirmation email was received this might not actually be the case. A survey of other options came up with a damp bus stop or worse so Cliona, being the best French speaker we had, called the hotel's number. Clearly delighted at being woken in the middle of the night they weren't exactly falling over themselves to give us a room but they did have one room spare and came downstairs to open the door. At this point Cliona went in to check out the room and seal the deal. With the room bagged Cliona popped her head out to explain that there was one double room free and left Steve, Duncan and I looking at each other with the afore mentioned bus shelter in mind wondering if the invite included us or not. Not fancying sleeping rough so early in the trip we imposed ourselves after getting the nod from Andy.
Day one - Haute route