A beautiful five hour train ride North-East of Chamonix delivers you to the lakeside town of Luzern. Most of the year Luzern is simply known as a beautiful Swiss city certainly worth a visit, but for the week leading up to ash Wednesday the masked brass bands rule Old Town in a frenzy of music, dancing, and debauchery known simply as Fasnacht.
Luzern may strike you as beautifully innocent, but we know better!
A viking themed brass band blows for the afternoon crowd
Survival Tips to Help You Last from Dirty Thursday through Fat Tuesday:
– Blend in with the locals by rocking out in a colourful costume
– You will be outside for the majority of the festivities so make sure your costume fits over warm clothes
– Drink Holdrio to ward off the cold. The local mixture of tea and brandy that will warm you up inside and out!
– Eat outside to save those Francs. Choose from bratwurst (9 Francs), kebabs (9F), pizza (5F), or the local grilled cheese known as raclette (6F)
– If beer fuels your dancing be sure to stock up at the grocery store to get your cans of Eichhof for 1.90F instead of the 5F street price
– There is only one way you can lose track of time in Switzerland….Fasnachting around!
Garden Gnome Float
Lil' Sailors getting ready to march in the afternoon children's parade
Bears Blow Brass
Monster Masks Taking a Break on the Brass
Incas celebrating carnaval before the world ends in 2012!
We Love Fasnacht!
The life of a permanent rambler means always coming up with the next adventure. And becoming a ski-bum for a season has been on my ‘to-do’ list for as long as I can remember. So I wrapped up my summer tour-guiding job in the ol’ U.S. of A. and headed for Chamonix, in the crown of the French Alps. Nestled under Europe’s tallest mountain and surrounded by six high alpine ski areas, Cham has enough adventure to fill all the work-free days of every happy bum.
After my first month and a half in the Alps I am positive this is right where I should be, still waking everyday in awe of the beauty that surrounds me. I haven’t even lost my taste for wine and cheese yet.
Looking up Grand Montet and the Argentiere Glacier under a Half-Moon
The town of Argentiere is just 10km North of the ‘big-city’ of Chamonix. Living here means a two-minute walk to the Grand Montet Gondola, and then a 15 minute journey that will deliver you onto the Argentiere Glacier at 3275m.
Blue Crevasse on the Argentiere Glacier
Skiing on a gnarly cravasse filled glacier means you earned a drink! In Chamonix the rues are filled with bars that are packed starting with the apres ski crowd and rock till the early hours of the morning. On Argentiere’s one little rue you can choose between four bars that all have competitive happy-hour prices, but when the ‘Piste-Boys’ are playing at Le Savoy Bar the decision is made for you!
Looking down on the town of Argentiere from the top of Grand Montet
Frites! In Les Houches, Vallee de Chamonix