The wonderful world of Oz awaits.
Today covers Days 35 and 36. Courmayeur and Chamonix. Both sit in the shadow of Mont Blanc. Different. Exciting.
Courmayeur is the last community in northern Italy. Near the French border. On the french side is Chamonix. A 9 mile tunnel through Mont Blanc connects the two.
Courmayeur is an Alpine resort. On the sunny side of Mont Blanc. One of Chamonix’s distinctions is it sits near the junction of France, Italy and Switzerland. A skiing resort in the “French Alps.”
Between northern Italy and mid eastern France, computer/internet connections have been a disaster. I think it is because I am high up in the Alps. Whatever.
I could not blog yesterday. Today is a double header. Every word worth reading!
If I had been able to do the blog yesterday, my opening comment would have been…..The last 48 hours have been amazing! Absolutely amazing! Hard to believe!
Here it is…..48 hours ago I was in Athens, Greece. Yesterday Novara, Italy. Today Chamonix, France.
How about this…..Athens a boiling 90 degrees. Novara’s humidity a killer. It snowed last night in Chamonix and is presently 29 degrees Fahrenheit.
The trip caught up with me in Novara. The humidity unbearable. Italians have electrical power problems. Ergo, little air conditioning. I slept in Novara the one night with no air.
Fortunately, only one night in Novara. Then to Courmayeur. Courmayeur is the area in northern Italy immediately before France. I am staying a couple of nights in a Swiss chalet designed condo there.
The drive from Novara to Courmayeur took 2 hours. The speed limit was 85. I was the only one doing it. They were passing me at 125 miles per hour. Each time a car went by, I did not see it for long, but heard it loud and clear. A long swishing sound.
I stopped at a super market before going to the condominium. Needed breakfast goodies. The parking lot was an eye opener. The parking spaces were all half the size of those in the U.S. The cars small also. No big cars here. I was driving a Fiat. Stick shift.
Italians pay $12 a gallon for gas. They learned a long time ago to conserve. We have not when it comes to cars. I doubt the American public ever will. The desire is for big and more big.
Courmayeur looks like a Swiss movie. Makes sense. Switzerland is only one hour away. Old stone homes. Hundreds if not a thousand or more years old. Stone with wood trimming. The stone is gray, the wood brown.
There is a lot of renovating going on. Huge cranes all over the hill sides.
Courmayeur is in the Alps. So is Chamonix, France from where I am writing this blog. The Alps are big. No question about it. I had never seen anything so big anywhere. Majestic.
Mont Blanc is huge. As far as the eye can see in any direction. Higher than anything I have ever seen.
Mont Blanc is not one peak jetting upwards. It is a series of peaks. Eleven peaks sitting on top of an already high broad miles long mountain. The whole thing is called Mont Blanc. One of the peaks is specifically named Mont Blanc. The biggest of the big. Four thousand eight hundred ten m. I do not know what the m means. Suffice it to say, I have never seen anything bigger!
Mont Blanc is beautiful. Breathtaking.
The condo I am enjoying has two bedrooms. The building itself all stone. Two private balconies. Balconies and trim wood.
My intent was to drive to Chamonix the first evening and have dinner in France. Only a half hour away. I was too tired. It was bed for me.
Courmayeur is a valley. About two thirds the way up Mont Blanc. I was glad I had jeans. It is cold that far up.
Many power lines run along and on the mountains. Italy has a power shortage. France does not. France has nuclear reactors producing electric power. The Italians buy much of their electricity from France. At a premium price. The Italians voted at one time to ban nuclear reactors in Italy. A costly decision dollar wise. Whether health wise is another question. I make the observation because France and Italy are so close. Any French nuclear disaster would pour down on the Italians.
The drive from Novara to Courmayeur was interesting for a number of reasons. One had to do with castles. So many. Each built high on a hill. A small one. Apparently making it next to impossible for an enemy to scale the walls.
The castles were about a mile apart. I recalled that way back when there were many Italian kingdoms. Each with its own king. They warred constantly. It was easy. They were each a mile distant from each other. One hour’s walking time. Less on a horse.
Churches everywhere. Apparently each castle had its own church. The church was an integral part of each kingdom.
That is the end of Day 35. I had intended to go on to the next day. Day 36. A rendition of my first day in France. However, I am too tired. I apologize. The trip is starting to get to me. I will pick it up here tomorrow. You will love the glacier and snow stories, the dramatic drop in temperature, and the high quality of Italian roads and bridges. And more.
Enjoy your day! I am mine. I know this is the trip of a lifetime and one I will never do again.
The Wall Street Journal is a conservative publication. In the past 4 years, the Journal has basically supported Trump.
Trump spoke Sunday at the CPAC meeting in Orlando. Part of his self-serving speech was his claim that his 4 years as President were the best. Especially year 4 which he described as “fabulous.”
The Wall Street Journal disagreed. An Editorial piece yesterday titled The Grievances of Trump’s Past hit the nail on the head: “If 2020 was so fabulous, why are Republicans shut out of power up and down Pennsylvania Avenue?”
There is insanity on both sides of the aisle in Washington. One example is the Warren and Sanders proposed 3 percent tax on billionaires. In bill form labeled Ultra Millions Tax Act, they propose a 2 percent tax on the $50 million wealthy rising to 3 percent for billionaires over $$1 billion.
Where is the fairness? These people have already paid any taxes due in the years they received the monies. Isn’t what is proposed “double dipping?” Double taxation?
Warren and Sanders believe their bill would “close the wealth gap” between the rich and poor.
If I was fortunate to have $50 million or $3 billion, I would take my money and body and move elsewhere.
Joe Manchin is playing “power politics.” The Democratic Senator from West Virginia knows he is one of the swing votes. With an equally divided Senate, the Democrats need his vote on most if not all measures. Our country will never correct itself if Biden and team cannot get legislation passed which would get the U.S. over the many humps it faces.
Manchin has become a pompous obstructionist. He is nickel dining bills like the present stimulus one. He doesn’t care. He has his fortune. What of those that do not have a fortune to rely on and are having grave difficulties even putting food on the table.
Some of his muscle flexing hard ass tactics include his refusal to vote in support of getting rid of the filibusterer. Without it, Biden will fall far short of what he promised he could do and will do.
Even with the $1,400, Manchin is pushing Biden to give less.
He vocally opposes policy proposals from the progressive wing of his party, including Medicare For All.
One of the biggies today. Manchin is opposed to increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
On this day in 1990, 6,000 drivers went on strike against Greyhound Lines. An impasse was reached in negotiations following the calling of the strike. The union remained adamant. Greyhound fired all 6,000 workers.
Shades of Ronald Reagan and the air controllers a few years earlier.
On this day in 1899, The Court of Inquiry investigating the loss of the Battleship Maine met in the Key West Custom House.
Harry Truman was quick to recognize a good thing. Especially when it came to Key West. The President arrived this date in 1951 for a three week vacation at the Little White House.
Topsy turvy Syracuse basketball. Syracuse beat North Carolina 72-70 over the weekend.
Some sportswriters are now saying Syracuse is back on the bubble and might have a chance to play in the NCAA tournament.
Tonight, tonight will be like every Tuesday night……My blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time.
Great topics. Less fire and brimstone now that Trump is no longer President.
Join me for a quick moving half hour. Guaranteed you will enjoy. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.
Enjoy your day!