What a day of contrasts! I was initially let down at the French night camping site – the staff didn’t speak English, and it felt like I was given the least appealing pitch. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was because I spoke in English to them. However, the location redeemed itself – just 15 minutes away from the Little St. Bernard pass at the French-Italian border.

The statue of St. Bernard

St. Bernard Fact: St. Bernard of Menthon is known for establishing a hospice and monastery on the Alpine pass that now bears his name. The Saint Bernard dog breed, known for rescue operations in the snowy Alpine regions, was named after this pass and the hospice.

The early morning drive through the pass into Italy provided breathtaking views. But it was the return journey to France that was noteworthy: I drove through the expensive Mont Blanc tunnel (53 euros) back into Chamonix to marvel at Mont Blanc’s magnificence.

A photogenic lake near Great St. Bernard pass

Mont Blanc Fact: Mont Blanc, the “White Mountain,” is the highest peak in the Alps and Western Europe, standing at 4,810 meters. It’s not only a popular spot for mountaineers but also serves as a natural border between France and Italy.

From Chamonix, my journey took me to Switzerland, specifically Martigny. The heat surprised me, soaring over 37 degrees, which felt quite uncharacteristic for Switzerland. Another surprise was the absence of border controls despite Switzerland not being in the Schengen Zone or the European Union. However, I had to part with 40 euros for a vignette to access the Swiss motorways, valid for a year, if I’m not mistaken.

Martigny is city close to the Swiss-French border

Driving in Switzerland felt more pleasant than in France – too many speed bumps in France for my liking! In Martigny’s center, it seemed like a pedestrian-only zone. But it turns out vehicles can drive there, albeit very slowly.

Finally, I settled down at the Camping des Glaciers after navigating the slightly less picturesque Great St. Bernard pass. Looking forward to a peaceful night here!

Safe travels and may your adventures be filled with joy!