TMB: Day 3. Italy here I come. Prepare the Polenta!

Since I really wasn’t sleeping anyway, I decided to get an early 7:30 am start to conquer the first big climb of the day up to Col de la Seigne. The initial climb felt really good, but then my fatigued body began to retaliate and my pace considerably slowed on my descent into Italy and the Val Feny (Feny Valley). The relatively flat valley ground was a welcomed change of pace in the late morning, and I looked forward to a new country on the TMB and, of course, my Italian pranzo (lunch)!

Goodbye orphans, hello Italy!

Goodbye orphans, hello Italy!

From this side of the massif, Mont Blanc charmed me with her robust beauty and even seemed to be posing for photos with wispy little clouds on high.

Hey, any meteorologists out there know what those little clouds mean?

Mont Blanc with a chapeau.

Mont Blanc with a chapeau.

My heavy legs finally carried me to a hearty late lunch of polenta, wild mushrooms and homemade tomato sauce. A quick macchiato got me back on my feet, but not nearly prepared for the brutal downhill into Courmayeur. This little mountain goat loves to climb, but I can really do without the steep descents.

What would I have done with this café macchiato?

This little café macchiato gave me wings.

I arrived in Dolonne (the small hamlet before Courmayeur) feeling a bit defeated, so I decided to call it for the day and try and get myself a hotel room.

The view from my hotel room.

The view from my balcony.

Miraculously, there were no other random snoring people tucked into my personal hotel room, so I had the most lovely and quiet (!) evening and actually slept. I even had time to wash out my one slowly ripening hiking outfit and enjoy an out-of-this-world pizza experience at a welcoming little joint called Fuori Pista. If I don’t come back in my next life as a contented alpine cow, then as least let me come back as a soft Italian cheese. Really People, how is it worldly possible for warmed Stracchino to be so darn good under a bed of Arugula?!

Yum, yum, yummers.

Yum, yum, yummers.

I wrote this, and only this, in my journal that night:

I’m so happy to be back in Italy tonight, eating pizza while listening in on people’s aperitivos.

Tonight marked a turning point for me when the stresses of the outside world slowly started to slip away, and I fell gracefully into the simple rhythm of the trail.

Day 3 recap:
Chalet les Mottets to Courmayeur through Val Feny
Walking 7.5 hrs
Hotel: Stella del Nord in Dolonne.