Today we arrived in Switzerland, the first time here for Aisling and Carl! Just got a bit of signal for the first time since yesterday morning so lots to write about!
Yesterday we arrived at Courmayeur at ten-ish and had some trouble finding parking (it had to be free and be suitable for 11 days). We hiked up through the town after a pit-stop at an ATM. It was a tough hike, and we realised how much harder it is to carry sleeping and cooking equipment!! We got to the top of our climb and got our first view of Mont Blanc!! (Monte Bianco for some!)
We had some lunch, and for some reason all of the local flies decided to hang out on Aisling’s orange jacket. We set off with our backpacks a little lighter having eaten half of our 30 bread rolls!
We hiked along for what seemed like hours until we eventually dropped down into the valley for the night. It was a tough hike and we were all quite tired and sore, and this wasn’t helped by the fact that we couldn’t find the restaurant we had booked for dinner! When we found it we were delighted, and we had polenta and chicken and affogato! After dinner it was getting quite dark so we decided to pitch our tent beside a nearby river (camping is frowned upon/illegal in most of these places), where we met a Danish family that were doing the exact same thing! They were doing the tour in an anti-clockwise direction so luckily could give us some tips. We fell asleep pretty quickly after pitching the tents (except for Luca and Alan who decided that it was the perfect time to wash our clothes in the river!)
This morning we woke up to an incredible sunrise, and had a leisurely breakfast of coffee(!!), cornflakes, and porridge (all with water). We washed in the river, and set off feeling nice and clean. We had an amazing hike up along Val Ferret, although it got veryyy steep at the end and the sun was extremely strong. We took a lunchbreak for over an hour and recharged, even making the decision to boil some frankfurters as we were so hungry! The view from up there was incredible… (Will have to upload the photos later as they’re on another phone).
Hiked over the border to Switzerland which was very exciting! There seemed to be a lot more snow there too, which was a challenge. The downhill hike was very tough on our legs, but eventually we made it to a dairy farm where we bought a litre of fresh milk and enjoyed it in the sunshine- it was so relaxing! Unfortunately a medical emergency meant we had to leave quickly and resulted in us taking a ‘variant’ of the real TMB route. All is ok now though!
After a really challenging hike into the valley we have arrived at La Fouly and are currently enjoying panaché and icecream, and making the most of our free wifi! Just bought tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch in a supermarket and it came to 71 euro- Switzerland is really as expensive as people say!
Overall, the trip is going really well! We’ve all had a few issues with sore feet/hips/too much to carry. Generally we’re all getting on great, and the other hikers we have met have been very friendly. Yesterday everyone seemed to speak Italian but today everyone speaks French, so it’s been a bit confusing. We’re looking forward to being able to shower (even though we don’t know when it will be), and some of us got a bit sunburnt today (sorry mum!) but otherwise it’s amazing how well you can live (and how far you can travel) using only your 2 feet and carrying everything on your back!
That’s all for now, we will post another update tomorrow or Wednesday!