Breakfast at the Auberge Mont Blanc was pretty much chaos. There was not a huge selection and not much organization. It was raining during breakfast so we took our time packing our bags with high hopes that the rain would calm down. By the time we left the hotel at around 8:30, the rain had subsided to a light sprinkle but the humidity was pretty intense. We began our ascent up to the Col du Balme immediately, starting with a seemingly endless amount of switchbacks just to get us out of the valley in which Trient lays. After only a short while into the switchbacks, both the outside and inside of our rain jackets were drenched with a mix of sweat and rain. The clouds were low once we arrived at the Col du Balme, the border between Switzerland and France. We managed to keep ahead of the slow walkers (the snails, as Evan nicknamed them) and we took our one and only picture with our Swiss flag.
Unfortunately the majority of the time we were in Switzerland it was either raining or very overcast. When we arrived at the Refuge du Balme, we changed into some warm clothes and took a look inside. The refuge was a little run down and incredibly expensive! 11 CHF for 2 sodas and a snickers bar. Needless to say, we didn’t spend too much time there. After we stepped out the door we were surprised to see Mark and Shaliev snacking outside. We walked with them for a little way down the Le Tour path until we made it to a little ski lodge where we bought a ham sandwich for lunch. We then ran into our Aussie friends Craig and Julie and began the remainder of our trek down to Le Tour with them.
Upon reaching Le Tour, we continued to Montroc, and beyond to Tre-Le-Champ. After a short ascent out of Montroc, we made it to our accommodation for the evening – Auberge la Boerne. This refuge was really neat! It held a very cozy feeling with all sorts of little nooks and crannies that housed beds. It is what I imagine a hobbit house would feel like. Evan and I settled down outside at one of the picnic tables for a while and grabbed a beer to catch up in our journal. We met a few new people at Auberge la Boerne – Simone and James from New Zealand (though, they are currently living in London) and Katherine and Claire from Texas. We ended up sitting with the sisters from Texas at dinner along with a 14 year old boy, Luca, and his grandfather, Olivier who were from Belgium. The following hour was full of laughs and entertainment. Olivier did not speak much English, but Luca had been taking English in school, so between our broken French and Luca’s pretty good English we were able to have a great time. Evan even pulled out our “French for Dummies” book which definitely garnered some laughter out of Luca and Olivier. It was an overall good night – great food (chicken and rice, bread and cheese, and chocolate cake) and great company. With full bellies and tired from laughing so much, we headed to bed.