TMB Day 3, Rifugio Bonatti to Courmayeur

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  • August 17th, 2018

  • 17km | ascent 310m | descent 1076m

  • Accommodation in Courmayeur: Hotel Triolet (booking.com, €110 including breakfast)

As agreed last night, the first alarms in the room went off at 6am and everyone got up and ready for breakfast which started at 6:15am. I popped outside to see if Mont Blanc was visible and was delighted to see the snow-covered peak in view.

Early morning at Rifugio Bonatti and our first view of the snow-covered Mont Blanc

Early morning at Rifugio Bonatti and our first view of the snow-covered Mont Blanc

Breakfast was similar to other days with a buffet of cheese, yoghurt, bread, jams, cereal and cake. We were delayed leaving (7:15am) because I couldn’t resist taking photos and a time lapse of Mont Blanc, who knows what the weather will do over the coming days?! The guidebook mentioned three options for this stage to Courmayeur and we agreed to stick to the main TMB route – although this was quite confusing as we didn’t see the three options mentioned, only two of them. We passed a lot of people coming the opposite direction as we mainly descended the whole day into Courmayeur. We also passed a second group with a pack horse.

TMB Day 3 - Rifugio Bonatti to Courmayeur

TMB Day 3 – Rifugio Bonatti to Courmayeur

Do bumble bees sleep under thistles?

Do bumble bees sleep under thistles?

Dad placing a stone on a cairn, hopefully he's asking for good weather for the hike!

Dad placing a stone on a cairn, hopefully he’s asking for good weather for the hike!

TMB signs

TMB signs

Mountain and glacier views on the TMB

Mountain and glacier views on the TMB

Alp Leche cattle byre between Rifugio Bonatti and Rifugio Giorgio Bertone

Alp Leche cattle byre between Rifugio Bonatti and Rifugio Giorgio Bertone

The views were breathtaking and although we’d eaten a big breakfast, conversation turned to what we would like to eat today in Courmayeur, one of only two days we’d be in Italy on this hike. We both agreed we had to find tiramisu and I wanted pasta.

Dad descending into the Val Ferret valley towards Courmayeur

Dad descending into the Val Ferret valley towards Courmayeur

Passing a French group with their pack horse

Passing a French group with their pack horse

Mountain views as we descend to Courmayeur

Mountain views as we descend to Courmayeur

A junction of paths on the TMB

A junction of paths on the TMB

Descending to the buildings of Rifugio Giorgio Bertone

Descending to the buildings of Rifugio Giorgio Bertone

The buildings of Rifugio Giorgio Bertone

The buildings of Rifugio Giorgio Bertone

There's no shortage of water on the TMB

There’s no shortage of water on the TMB

We made good time and arrived into Courmayeur at 11:30am – we were hoping to have enough time to take the Skyway Mont Blanc cable car in the afternoon to Pointe Hellbronner (3462m high), a highly recommended activity to get up close to Mont Blanc.

Entering Courmayeur, a popular Italian alpine town

Entering Courmayeur, a popular Italian alpine town

However, first things first. Walking through the gorgeous town, we passed a creperie so I bought a grand marnier crepe to eat while walking to our hotel. Then we passed bakeries and delicatessens and our progressed was slow as we ogled all the delicious food. It was very busy with locals and hikers and we assumed it must’ve been a holiday, but apparently not, this is just a busy Italian town.

Our home for the night at the excellent Hotel Triolet

Our home for the night at the excellent Hotel Triolet

Our room at Hotel Triolet, Courmayeur

Our room at Hotel Triolet, Courmayeur

We checked into the hotel and were greeted with very friendly staff. When we told the lady at reception that we hoped to take the cable car, she checked the webcam on the top of the mountain and showed us the screen… it was a whiteout and the forecast was for rain for the afternoon so she advised against us paying the €49 ticket. Not to worry, we know we have one more chance from the other side of Mont Blanc in Chamonix, so fingers crossed we have better weather then. We now had the whole rest of the afternoon to explore and eat!!

A late lunch of foccacia pizza and local beer in Courmayeur

A late lunch of foccacia pizza and local beer in Courmayeur

We were surprised that after checking in to the hotel at midday, showering and returning to the main part of Courmayeur that most of the shops were closed for a siesta! Some were closed from 12:30-2:30pm, others from 1:30-3:30pm. But that’s lunch time, and this isn’t Spain!! So while our foccacia pizza was actually very delicious, it was also one of the only places open to eat and had a queue out the door for this reason! Afterwards we found the tourist office and asked about options for returning to the trail tomorrow as we’d heard about a cable car option. We were then told that Courmayeur’s famous for icecream, so of course we had to have one. And then after a coffee, finally the shops had reopened for us to continue ogling cakes and local specialties. I bought some local cheese, salami and a bread roll for tomorrow’s lunch, and then we started thinking about dinner. (If it sounds like all we do and think about is food, then you’re wrong, we’re also walking a long way and talking about food each day!)

Dinner at L'Etoile near our hotel, everything we had was fantastic, including the tiramisu for dessert!

Dinner at L’Etoile near our hotel, everything we had was fantastic, including the tiramisu for dessert!

TMB Day 3 - info from Garmin Connect

TMB Day 3 – info from Garmin Connect

TMB Day 3 - profile from Garmin Connect

TMB Day 3 – profile from Garmin Connect

Today was a delightfully easy day as we mainly descended to Courmayeur which is a super Italian town and I’d happily come back to visit.

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