Can someone explain to me how I managed to walk for 9 days, traveling about 160 kms, ascending(and descending) 10000 metres and STILL managed to put on weight?!
Was it the food, the wine, the beer…or all of the above?
Maybe? Um, perhaps? Oh, ok…yep!
Oh, and brilliant company in spectacular surroundings!
The appetite is wet the moment you enter this wonderland, attacking all the senses relentlessly.
Before we even start our long walk we’re settling into leisurely lunches in Chamonix, watching the passing parade on the streets of this beautiful alpine ski town, filled with adventure pursuits, designer shopping and restaurants galore.
Whom ever said omelettes where only for breakfast has never stopped at the Refuge de Miage for lunch after a solid mornings workout getting there! Perching on benchs looking up the valley of lush fields, backdropped by soaring peaks, the omelette and accompanying salad were a sight for sore eyes and hungry stomachs.
Washed down with a coffee, wouldn’t be dead for quids!
Picture this if you will…lunch on day two, perched on the side of a mountain, lolling back on lush green grass gazing down the valley to a speck of a village encased in soaring mountain ranges; a lake off to one side; an eagle hovering overhead, oblivious to the scenery as it seeks its own lunch; the stuff of dreams. Baguette in hand, laden with ham, cheese and salad, one of our group, Tony, proclaimed this was the greatest lunch he had ever had!!
He had to recant that statement twice more on our walk!
Cafe life can be tough…
“Une rosé locale ou peut-être un vin de rouge, monsieur?”
“Oui, merci”. Don’t mind if I do, “et une biere pour ma femme, s’il vous plaît”…while tucking into a charcuterie of ham, cheese and local delicacies on the cobblestoned lane dressed with checkered table clothed tables and wicker chairs
After a tough but spectacular day two we settle into our digs for the night, Les Chambres du Soleil, with an ice bath in the stream behind, then rehydrate in the courtyard of the B&B, walls leaning over us with over 150 years of eyes and ears upon it.
Beer never tasted so good in the company of friends; ahh for another ‘la blanche’ by ‘brasserie du Mont Blanc’!
…and then of course you step from France to Italy.
I guess when in Italy lets eat pizza, and pasta?
Courmayeur, we loved you.
Coffee wasn’t bad either!
If you ever want to be impressed there’s no more impressive than the Val Ferret, and another unforgettable lunch looking as Mont Blanc as she seemed to lean in over us as we tucked into another delicious lunch.
The view from the Swiss border looking down the valley to la Fouly is priceless, as is the refuge for lunch and a refreshing ‘les bières du Grand St. Bernard’. All this walking in this pristine environment sure builds up a thirst, and where better than in a converted farmhouse looking down on the Swiss meadows, cows asunder.
Raclette anyone? One of the beauties of travel is diving into local specialities, and around these parts Raclette is very much local. A mouthwatering blend of melted cheese with cured meats, pickles, onions, potatoes and condiments, all washed down with a local white variety, Fendant, which is fragrant and fresh.
To top off the meal an alpine liqueur, Génépi, poured into shot glasses to mixed reactions from our group…from all accounts a few strange dreams were later had!
Hôtel Splendide, in Champex Lac, certainly lived up to its name, offering the most stunning patio overlooking the valley below to dine alfresco on the freshest salads, meats and gourmet treats with local Dole wines, beers and coffee to finish.
And this was only lunch, as the days walk had been merciful short.
Restorative strolling in town around the mirrored lake, reflecting the mountains surrounding it, trout leisurely swimming with little to fear from the frustrated anglers; admiring the Swiss architecture whilst wearing off a long lunch, before wandering back to the hotel to rest up before another culinary offering for dinner in the formal dining room.
After a glass or two of rose overlooking the gorge and valley below, of course!
Another long day on the circuit, switchback after switchback, climbing steadily up to the saddle which marks the border with stone obelisk, and its au revoir Switzerland, bonjour Français…best celebrate with another spectacular lunch spot gazing down the valley to our nights destination, Argentiere, a mere speck in the distance.
It’s hot, damn hot, when we finally shuffle into the village and book into our digs for the night, Hotel la Couronne, which brilliantly is directly opposite a very inviting bar.
We invited ourselves in!
You’re getting the picture, aren’t you?
One final push, uphill, to our finish back in Chamonix and a celebratory beer at our hotel, thrilled to have finished, but oddly saddened that it was over.
Wander around town, maybe a macaron, or a G&T overlooking the river, satisfaction rite large at all we have achieved as we all contemplate leaving this stunning locale.
But not before a farewell dinner, and maybe a bar or two to finish.
Quite frankly, I’m not sure what made me question my expanding waistline on the TMB, it’s all too obvious isn’t it?
It was so bloody fantastic, the food, wine, scenery, company…laughs, memories, experiences…who cares, I wouldn’t have changed anything for all the rose in France!
Till next time,