Day 5: Samoens to Refuge de Moede Anterne
Day 6: Refuge de Moede Anterne to Chamonix
Day 7: Chamonix to Les Contamines
Day 8: Les Contamines to Refuge du Col du Bonhomme de la croix
Day 9: Refuge du Col du Bonhomme de la croix to Refuge de la Balme
When we got to the sleepy little village of Landry on the Isere river, it wasn’t clear if there was a train running from there to Bourg St. Maurice, where we were hoping to spend our rest day. We walked to the tiny deserted station. The only sign of activity was a screen announcing upcoming departures. But against most departures, there was a Bus icon. Sure enough, in half hour, a bus arrived. As the bus approached, the driver waved his arms in a what looked like a “who are you and what are you doing here?” gesture. We got in (no ticket necessary) and were soon deposited at the train station in the lovely little town of Bourg St. Maurice.
Right across the station was a row of restaurants. We walked into a brasserie and ordered Leffe, our favorite Belgian beers. It was 2 pm, but everyone was hungry. Rohan and Douglas got very good burgers with fries and Jill got a lasagna. I abstained in favor of a good dinner.
We then walked around looking for a hotel. There was a cycling group in town, so the handful of hotels in Doug’s guidebook were all full. Finally, we found one that had rooms. It was simple but good and run by a very nice lady.
After a hot shower and some rest, we walked around the town, window shopping the boulangeries, charcuteries and fomageries. Soon we were hungry and it was time to choose our dinner. We all agreed on a Moroccan place we had seen by the station. We were not disappointed. It was a magnificent feast of mezhoui (a Berber dish of roasted spiced lamb), tagines and couscous.
Day 11: Bourg St. Maurice
Yes, we were ready for a rest day. Douglas decided to eat breakfast in the hotel. Jill, Rohan and I made like locals and went to a cafe in the town center and had croissants and coffee under a cool morning sun.
After breakfast we strolled around and did some shopping: a detailed topo map, so we can find our way without Douglas, more cheese and saucisson, toothpaste etc.
We strolled over to a park by the river, where we found groups of people playing boule on a large boule field. These people, young and old, men and women were serious boule players and we picked up a few pointers.
I am a Revolutionary Girl!
Soon we were hungry and headed back into town. We were after a hole-in-the-wall Lebanese place that Jill had spied earlier.
When we got there, the owner, a sprightly Lebanese woman was getting ready to close for the siesta hours, but she agreed to make us falafel sandwiches in broken English.
While she was doing that, Rohan and I noticed posters of Che Guevara on the tiny wall to the side. “Wow, I wonder why she has Che stuff”, remarked Rohan. I saw her looking at us and smiling. “Because I am a revolutionary girl!”, she said.
Next to the Che poster, there was a small shelf holding half bottles of Lebanese red wine. I asked the lady if the wine was good. She opened a bottle and poured in a small glass, the only one she had. Soon, we were eating falafel sandwiches and sharing a glass of very good Lebanese wine. The lady dashed around the shop to her apartment and came back with two more glasses, freshly washed.
I asked her if she was from Lebanon. She said she was and had been living in France for 20 years. “Where in Lebanon? Beirut?”, I asked her. “No, sur, near the frontier”, she said. “Ah, near the border with Israel”, I said instinctively. “No, Palestine”, she said immediately. “Ahhh!”, Jill, Rohan and I said in unison, with a knowing look. She responded with her own knowing look.
We talked a bit more. She said she was closing shop for a few days because she was driving to Paris to take part in a left wing protest.
I asked her if I could take a photo. She readily agreed and posed with Jill and Rohan after quickly removing her apron.