Day 3 started off with rain! We hung out a little longer at the refuge waiting until the rain slowed down a bit. Once we got going it was a nice (muddy) hike through grassy hills.
10.15 We found a great place for a short break and a snack (20 minutes). This place would also be great for camping. There were large, relatively level and flat spots to pitch a tent. We keep note of these places because Jörn is into night photography.
11.50 Arriving at the Refuge Bertone at lunch time seemed like a happy coincidence. We had removed the packs and found a nice table to enjoy our lunch when Jörn reported that they don't start serving lunch until 12.30. Huh?? At that moment it started to rain again so we decided to quickly gear up and head down the steep trail to Courmayeur and have a late lunch.
There was quite heavy traffic going against us on the steep trail. I felt sorry for all these people, they really looked tired! As I mentioned in a previous post, going down is not easy for me and this one was no exception. We hiked downhill for 2 hours, this was after already hiking for 2 hours. By the time we reached the edge of town my knees were swollen and my toes ached. This was the only part of the hike so far where I got a bit grumpy.
My dearest husband did his best to distract me by teaching me about European history. I believe the conversation started with, "Honey, could you tell me about Prussia?" His response, "The old one or the new one?" Huh?? This then makes him sigh very deeply acknowledging that the history curricula in US high schools is far below what he considers 'necessary knowledge'. Then he begins to talk. Listening to Jörn talk about history is great, really! You can hear his passion with each story, each recount of a battle or event. He will continue to talk until I say 'Pause'.
14.11 We reached our charming hotel to be greeted by a house dog, love it! This place, Hotel Walser, was awesome (or is it relative because we spent a night in dorms?). Our room had a giant queen bed, plus an extra single bed, two balconies, and a BATHTUB! We proceeded to take showers and unpack quickly because by now we were very hungry.
15.00 When we arrived in Courmayeur we passed a little place called MMMartine touting take-away food. Once we were all clean we quickly made our way back to this place, best decision that day! She had 4 different kinds of quiche, we took one piece of each. We also had some fresh local cheese with a pesto like sauce on top and a caprese salad. She asked if we wanted to eat it now, duh? and proceeded to put everything in a little basket complete with forks, plates, a chilled bottle of local rose wine and directed us across the street to a little garden where we could eat. WOW, everything was sooo good!
We had plenty of time to kill between our late lunch and dinner. It was super hot in Courmayeur, I read that it has a unique greenhouse effect because of it's situation in the valley. We decided to just head back to the hotel and chill. I took a nap and Jörn looked at his pictures and washed clothes.
19.00 Dinner was quite bland at this otherwise lovely hotel. There was a salad buffet to start. My first course was a buckwheat crepe with mushroom sauce, it was gluey and not really tasty (especially compared to our lunch!). Jörn had pasta as his first (remember we are in Italy), he was also unimpressed.
Our second course we both had the burger. To my surprise it came to the table sans bun! Just a nice lump of meat dressed on the side with the only delicious part of the meal, fried potatoes. The owner came by the table several times, maybe too many times. He was super friendly and nice but he reaked of cigarette smoke. He was dressed like a farmer from Indiana, and moved like my dad :) I honestly laughed out loud when imagining my dad in this guys place.
For dessert he insisted I take a piece of cake. By now Joern and I had made up our mind that the food was just so-so and we were both quite full but I couldn't really say no. A piece of cake finds its way in front of me and I'm thinking, "Ok, this has to be good, let's end this meal on a good note." Nope. It's not often I say the cake wasn't good but it really wasn't. It was two parts, the bottom cake-like, the top custard-like. But the cake was too dry and the custard too wet.... almost impossible to imagine but in the end not good.