Our bus came to a halt in front of a hotel covered in snow, Hôtel & Chalet du Bois, Les Houches. Although, previously booked by us, we had no idea that it was not, actually, in the city of Chamonix as we have assumed. We were, most especially my husband, somewhat upset. However, the driver insisted that according to our booking details this is the hotel in question and there is no other Hôtel & Chalet Du Bois in the Chamonix Valley. Moreover, the city of Chamonix is only 5 km away. Of course, (thought my husband with a wry expression) 5 km away on a glaciated alpine road covered in snow. Who would walk that road? Anyway, we had no choice but to get down of the bus and figure it out with the hotel. They were, as it happens, expecting us with a warm welcome. Well, we narrated our dilemma to the attentive receptionist, who was nice and eager to help. However, all effort made that late evening to find a solution proved abortive.
The helpful receptionist said we should calm down, we are here anyway and let’s try to make the best of our holidays, we should not let this ruin it all. So, she gave us two keys and said we should go and have a look at the two rooms indicated on the key holders and feel free to choose which ever we felt like. No extra cost apart from what we have already paid for. The first room was a normal double-bedded (small) European room and the second room was a (duplex) chalet that left us gaping in wonder. We immediately decided to stay put and spend the night in the chalet. I was so excited, to stay in the two storey wooden house, with a private entrance and long double cornered balcony that overlooks the massifs of Mont Blanc. We immediately drifted into a cheerful mood. Who wouldn’t? Not only did they offer us the chalet they also invited us to a delicious dinner. Truth be told their kindness and empathy left us open-mouthed, it really helped us see everything in a different light. We were excited indeed, we were also told that there are free buses that shuttles the Chamonix Valley. The next day, we (actually I) discovered the city of Chamonix with the free bus as explained to us and I realized that as a matter of fact, I prefer this small alpine village, Les Houches, to the crowded city of Chamonix with all those skiers carrying their skiing equipment as if fleeing from a war zone. If we should visit again, chances are that we would lodge in the same hotel or simply stay in one of the less crowded villages in the Valley. At this point, I still had no idea about his engagement plans.
My husband was so anxious to take the cable car up to l’Aguille du Midi, however, it was closed beacuse of the cloudy snowy and rainy weather. He was worried because it seems that the bad weather was going to jeopardise his plans of asking me to marry him 3842 metres high. Of which I was absolutely oblivious of.