TMB Stage 4

Before getting to today’s hike I think dinner last night deserves a small description. We were seated at a table with a young couple from Lithuania and a young single guy from Virginia who now lives in Dubai. The first course was a delicious risotto served from a giant pot rolled from table to table on a cart. After finishing our first bowl the cart came around again and we all took a second. When it came around the third time only the former Virginian took more.

Next we had a plate of thinly sliced pork tenderloin with green beans and roasted potatoes. Finally, a custard with caramel for dessert.  We all chatted throughout the meal and traded descriptions of favorite foods from our respective countries. After dessert we headed up to the room to grab a deck of cards and some money to pay our bill.

When we came back down to the dining room we found out three dinner mattress still at the table and the Virginian with yet another bowl of risotto. We rejoined them and drank grappa as we taught them a card game.

When the Virginian asked for yet another bowl of risotto the girl serving of table reacted with a mix of surprise and delight. It was the first night they had served the entire giant pot. She took his picture and we all offered our congratulations on the accomplishment.

The hike today began easily. Mostly flat on a trail through a valley that was built with a small stone retaining wall on each side of the rocky path. Eventually we left the valley to climb up the side of a mountain, but only about 1,500 feet, so less than many we’d done. We descended about the same amount on the other side before stopping for sandwiches and drinks at another refuge.

At this point we were only about 4 miles from the hotel. There was actually a ski lift available to ride the rest of the way to town that many people were taking. We opted to walk. It was about another 2,000 feet down over the next 2 miles and it was very very steep. The steepest descent we’ve had so far. By the time we reached town the muscles in my legs were straining to take each step. With a mile and a half to go until our hotel the only option was to press on.

Today’s hike

When we did arrive at Maison La Saxe we were ecstatic to find a charming hotel, with proprietors that went our of their way to take care of us. Upon check in we got a detailed description of the best course to follow through town. They made us reservations at a friend’s restaurant, did our laundry, and sold us their last two (personal) beers. On top of it all our room is adorable, making up the top of the 1,000+ year old structure with views over the entire town of Courmayer. We spent the afternoon relaxing on the decks watching roof cats hop from one building to another.

The view from our balcony

As dinnertime came around we headed out and got a recommendation for a place to have a drink before dinner. We were directed to a bar in the center of town with outdoor seating. We got there, sat down, and ordered drinks. A few minutes later a server with two charcuterie platter and a bowl of chips arrived at our table. We told him we hadn’t ordered any food and he told that they came with our drinks. When our server returned with our drinks a few minutes later we were still in shock so he took the time to explain Italian dining to us. Since the restaurants don’t open until 7 it is custom for places to offer snacks with drinks to tide you over until dinner. Pretty amazing that the snacks are this good though!

The free snack that came with our drinks.

Finally, after a walk around the city center, we made our way to dinner. I had a homemade pasta with a cream sauce, cured meat, and onions. We decided to order dessert and each picked one out. The name of one, “Elvis”, caught our attention so we decided we better order a 5th to share. It turned out that Elvis was the name of the plastic figurine that a child’s scoop of gelato came in as a take home toy. Molly did some googling and discovered a whole line of different characters available.


Our server explained that they had actually run out of the Elvis so we got a different one. I named it Elvis anyway. The table of four adult Italians next to us was so amused that they ordered an Elvis and a “Hip Hop” for dessert. Overall another great day on the TMB, and now to bed!

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