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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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!)
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.