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Report 1047: Mt. Blanc Summer 2006

By Robert Rainey from California, Summer 2006

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Page 5 of 15: Geneva to Champex Lac

photo by Robert Rainey

Train to Orsieres

The next day we rolled our stuff down to the bus stop to head to the train station. Public transportation is fabulous here - clean, new and on time. We bought second class tickets for the three plus hour train to Orsieres and 15 minute bus ride to follow from there to Champex. The train was comfortable and not too crowded. We took the 9:30 am train and after one 20 minute stop in Martigny we changed to the St Bernard express to Orsieres. We passed some nice lakeside views and hillside houses with vineyards on steep terraces.

Many of our fellow passengers were obviously here to hike as well; most of the passengers were carrying backpacks and gear. On the bus to Orsieres we met some young people who were doing the route, they were taking the bus and a ski lift to avoid the section of hike that we were doing the following day.

We arrived in Champex at just after noon, a small town on a rather small lake. Views of the snow-capped peaks in the distance reminded us of our upcoming adventure. The town had a very helpful tourist office which exchanged some of my Swiss Francs (CHF) for Euro as I knew that the first town we hit La Fouly would be small and our second night was in Refugo Bonatti with no ATM.

We walked by the lake and had a pleasant lunch. I forgot all my high school French from 30 years ago as well as forgetting my French phrasebook. I stuck with the omnipresent spaghetti Bolognese, a beer and salad; Peg had salad and some pasta a well.

Hotel Glacier - Champex Lac, 3 star. Very nice hotel. We had a room in the corner with a balcony with views of the lake. The majority of the guests were hikers as well, some in groups of 10 or more. Very comfortable bed, feather pillows, nice bathroom, plenty of hot water. We were on half board for 176 dollars. Dinner was very good. I had a half bottle of local Pinot which was quite good, simple but nice at 16 dollars.

The next morning we woke up early and were packed and ready to go by 7am. We went downstairs and had breakfast, great wheat bread, coffee, cheese, yogurt, cereal and juice. We walked across the street and were ready to head past the lake again to start out our first day of hiking.

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