Day 7: Rufugio Elisabetta to Courtmayeur

After posting last night we went to dinner and we’re seated with three others, a guy from North Carolina who lives in Dubai and a couple from Lithuania. It was lovely getting to know them over the best risotto (they just called it rice, but it was so much more than rice), roasted pork, green beans, potatoes, and panna cotta. The seven of us played card games, compared customs, and talked about the hail for the day’s hike.

We were all seated together again when the breakfast bell rang at 7:00. This breakfast was much more enjoyable: little pastries, strong coffee, and fresh bread with ham and cheese. Filling and a good start to the day.

The weather forecast had predicted cool temperatures and rain again today. We put on an extra layer and the rain cover of our packs. The first mile or so was cold and windy, but the sun was out and that lifted our spirits tremendously after yesterday’s experience. Plus it was a gradual decline. A perfect start.

After two miles the wind eased and the great incline of the day began. Only 2,400 feet today, but it was in one steep section. The suffering was fairly minimal. Are we actually getting kind of used to this? Once we reached the pass, or col, we started a lovely gradual decline. We zoomed through it and found ourselves at a rufugio for lunch at 11:30. We had huge paninis (not grilled) and then continued the descent.

The descent rapidly changed from pleasant to terrifying. The trail led us straight down the side of the mountain. The moving was slow, but those intentional, careful steps paid off as was followed the TMB right into Courtmayeur. We wove through the ancient buildings and found our hotel, Maison La Saxe.

This hotel might end up being the highlight of the trip. The building was built in the 700s and only has six rooms! The girls got one and Zak and I got an amazing one with two balconies and original stone walls. The owners are awesome humans who have gone above and beyond for us. If you’re ever in Courtmayeur, you must stay here.

When we checked in we were graciously informed that they provide a laundry service for just 8 euro! All four of us gasped with glee. All the other nights we have to wash our own laundry in the sink or shower and hope everything dries by morning. It often doesn’t, so we have to use carabineers to attach the wet clothes to our pack. It’s real cute to hike with your underwear waving behind you. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to have it done. And it saved us the hour plus it takes to complete.

We spent the afternoon resting and watching the local roof cats hop from stone roof to stone roof. The owner of the hotel told us a spot that we had to go for drinks, as it’s where all the locals go. Shortly after ordering a spritz, a whiskey sour, and two nonalcoholic house drinks, a charcuterie board and a bowl of Ruffles was brought to our table. We shooed the server away, informing him that we hadn’t ordered food. He then told us it came with the drinks. Huh?? We were asked if this is our first time in Italy and, upon informing him it was, he explained this custom. After work, before dinner, the bars give free snacks to carry you over until the restaurants reopen. Like happy hour, only better!

Our hotel host secured us reservations at the locals’ favorite, Pizzeria Ristorante du Tunnel. We had a very patient server and were all very happy with the only real dinner we’re getting in Italy. Homemade pasta and tiramisu made me a happy hiker!

2 thoughts on “Day 7: Rufugio Elisabetta to Courtmayeur

  1. We look forward each morning to finding your TMB posts. What an adventure you are having! Congratulation on each step accomplished. And welcome to Italy (even if for a short stay). Bravooooooo!!!!!!!

    1. We are already talking about a trip back to Italy. Scratching the surface was not nearly enough!

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