Day 5: Monday July 26th, 2004 Read Short Version View Photos

Short Version Instructions: Only read every other paragraph.

Another 8:30 departure day, another uneventful breakfast. We were going to France so we all needed our passports and our jackets. In reality we needed neither.

Thumbs Up: Ancient Roman stuff We arrived in Pont-Saint-Martin, early as usual, and waited around for our tour guide. Right next to the parking lot was the largest Roman arched bridge in existence, which was really cool. We got some water and eventually returned to the bus and left. This tour guide proved to be very boring throughout the day, but hey, you can't win them all.

Thumbs Down: Ancient Roman stuff Just outside of town we pulled off the freeway into what looked like a breakdown lane and went up on the "Roman Road," which was an ancient road built by the Romans that was still here. It wasn't terribly interesting to begin with, and our guide's descriptions weren't helping any. We quickly got back on the bus and zipped up to Aosta, where there were even more Roman ruins. You'd think you were in Rome. Or something.

We walked down a bustling main avenue to the city walls and the entrance arches, continuing around to an ancient theater which was under reconstruction. We then ended up in a main square and were given an hour and a half for lunch. We ended up back at the entrance arches and had a tasty meal outside. I had spaghetti with meat sauce, Tyler had ravioli, Tori had penne with meat sauce and Jessie had the gnocchi with pesto sauce she had been craving. We then sought out gelato and went back to the main square, where Tyler crammed himself into a kid's ride for a photo.

As a group we then backtracked and went to a church where there was a funeral in progress, so we explored the side area instead. When we finished with that, the funeral was still going on, so we went to the ruins of an ancient church and checked that out, then made a group decision that we wanted to leave instead of waiting to go into yet another church. Our bus driver picked us up and we headed towards Mont Blanc.

Thumbs Down: Pointless daytrips We drove for about 45 minutes up towards the snow covered mountains which separate Italy and France, and ended up in a parking lot where gondolas take people up and over the snowy peaks. We got out, took a few pictures, Tyler jumped over the raging river (or maybe just three feet of it), we hit the messy bathrooms then left. Back for the hotel. No France. No jacket needed. No exciting, amusing, thought-provoking or noteworthy destination. Just a parking lot and a U-turn. I can't speak for everyone else on the tour but the four of us were pretty letdown and mad. The upside being that we didn't get back to the hotel past midnight, and had time to hang out and relax for a change, which we did.

Dinner was at the hotel, again (are you seeing a pattern here?), and wasn't bad. Mark sat with us again but Levi ditched us for the kids table, so we ended up with Louie, Lewis' dad, who turned out to be pretty cool. I had penne with cheese and everyone else had penne with bacon and tomato sauce, and I had the rare and thinly sliced roast beef cold over salad, which wasn't bad, and everyone else had the pork. There was small slices of cake and a strawberry half for dessert (apparently known as "Typical Sweets" in these parts), then we went to Jessie and Tori's room to chill out for another couple hours, then off to bed.