Very down today…
Praise The Lord! After what has felt like endless days of upness, we have finally had a day of down – & what a joy it has been.
Having had a pretty good night’s sleep at La Fouly (twinned with the town of La Sillay) & with no-one else joining us in our exclusive side room, we woke knowing that the day ahead was the equivalent of ‘a rest day’. If you’d told me a week ago that walking 15km & climbing to 1466m (the equivalent of Scafell at 750m, twice) was going to be ‘a rest day’ I think I may have told them to stop acting La Fouly! (see what I did there..? you can’t buy this you know, it’s all original stuff, & free!)
And actually, we only climbed 420m of it, because we started at 1046m… but it was still good going alright!!
We did a little shopping before we left La Fouly & bought some cheese, some bread rolls (that was a pain…)(see what I did there…?), some tomatoes & some juice for our lunch.
Then we just set off. Very little sun as we walked, mostly overcast all day. After walking down for about 3 hours we arrived as Issert. Almost the entire route had been littered with beautiful picturesque villages, which we either walked through or saw across the valley, or seemingly suspended half way up mountain sides. The landscape is so totally different from that of the Italian route. Soo pretty. A lot of the wooden chalets looked very new, but there were still ample examples of lovely quaint old chalets – some looked as though they shouldn’t actually still be standing, with balconies bowing under the weight of huge wood stores. One chalet building along one street we walked through even had an armchair outside, with a standard lamp beside it, looking like the owner sat outside of an evening to talk to passers by!
After Issert was the only ‘up’ of the day, a pine forest trail following the contours of the mountain upwards to the final destination of Champex where we’ll be sleeping this evening. After an hour or so’s climbing we stopped for our lunch & enjoyed the shelter of dense pine branches overhead as we looked out over the valley as it started to pleut. It didn’t pleut heavily, but the sound of it falling as we munched on Swiss cheese, bread & tomatoes was idyllic. Our favourite lunch so far I reckon. I received a text from a work colleague as we sat there, which was really nice. She said it was very quiet without me there – I think that meant they missed me…
We also discovered an actual real life hazelnut bush! Mike took some of the fruit off & broke it open to get at the nut & ate it – he said it was lovely. I was too scared to eat it in case it gave me tummy ache – I’ve not been well you know. I’ll let you know how Mike is in the morning!
The rest of the ascent to Champex was perfectly manageable & we arrived at our refuge in good time, around 4pm. We’re in a room for 6 (3 bunk beds), but we’re the only two in it. This is becoming a bit of a common theme… I’m just wondering if Mike ticked a wrong box somewhere when we booked this… well, whatever ailment/lurgy they think he’s got, I’m happy to go with it!
Actually, I tell you what he has got (well, had) – bloody lethal toe nails! I returned from my shower to find that one of his toe nails had launched itself across the dorm & landed on my pillow! What a good job I was out of the room – it could have had my flaming head off! I obviously chastised him & demanded he come & retrieve it immediately. Which he did. I also gave him a look & his head did go between his shoulders for a minute or two, but we’re friends again now so all is well.
No wifi again this evening, so this’ll be uploaded tomorrow when we get to Col de la Forclaz. Another relatively leisurely day too as we cover just 16km & climb to 2000m (an ascent of 762m from where we are). It should only take us about 5 hours though, so all being well we should arrive at our destination by mid afternoon. We’ve been & bought some more bread rolls, proper cheese (we watched it cut from the block & everything, proper job), tommies etc. So we’re all set for another ‘alpine feast’, probably at Alp Bovine – a gentle slope of pasture facing northeast along the Rhône valley. If it sounds idyllic, it really is. I can’t recommend it highly enough! (see what I did there…?)
So, with today’s blog done by 6.15pm & with no wifi, I reckon it might be Kindle & lights out very soon after this evening’s meal. Either that or a toe nail fight back in the room… I’ll certainly have the advantage!
As they say in Italy, “Ciao”. Did I mention my language skills…