Lots of people on the trail told us this is a boring day and one should skip it. We were told that you should take the bus through and you won’t miss a thing. Nonsense. I really liked this day. It does lack the majestic views of Mont Blanc, but it is nice wooded trail. It is a short day, so you can get to Champex by the lunch hour.
The sun is blocked out during much of this hike. The canopy of the woods is still quite dense in September. I liked that the trail was bedded with needles and the soft shadows the leaves cast upon us. It was a very tranquil day and I appreciated it.
When you finish hiking you arrive at Lac de Champex. It was one of the most stunning lakes I have ever seen in my life. It’s as blue as a sapphire and reflects the mountain ranges like freshly wiped mirror. It’s truly fantastic.
I guess that most people want to stay on the lake, but we stayed at Hôtel Alpina which faces away from the lake into the valley. This is a lovely and expensive boutique hotel, that I recommend everyone to splurge on. It is owned by a lovely couple. The husband is Swiss and the wife is French and they created one of my favorite moments in the entire trip.
After we ditched our bags and showered we headed to find lunch. Oh, by the way, the showers had a jacuzzi feature that was nothing short of perfect. We headed to a restaurant on the lake called Le Cabanon. Here I had a piece of duck that was delicious. Spencer had a burger that seemed respectable for being that far from the USA. We ended with walking along the lake a little more, but it was late in the afternoon and we all wanted to relax.
We spent the rest of the day lounging about and reading our books overlooking the valley at the hotel. We all found ourselves in the sitting room before dinner and our host brought us a complimentary glass of wine while we chatted with an English couple who was vacation. They were pleasantly surprised to find Americans who vacationed for two weeks at a time.
We all went to dinner. The menu was set for us, so there was nothing for us to do. We started off with a deconstructed caprese salad. It’s hard for me to explain but, they made a mousse of the mozzarella, marinated the tomato flesh in balsamic and used a drizzle of basil infused oil as a garnish. It was one of the best dishes I have ever eaten. The main course was slow cooked beef cheek. It was a perfect. Finally the dessert was pastry centered around pineapple. Wonderful. All of this paired with a beautiful bottle of wine, made it the best meal I had on the entire trip.
Enjoy the mushroom knowledge. There is a bunch plaques that teach about the indigenous mushrooms of the woods in this part.
Stay at Hôtel Alpina. This is the best place we stayed during the entire trip.
Next: Day 8 – Champex – Trient