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Colle Valnera


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Opened up my eyes and saw a clear blue sky outside the window. Last hiking day and the weather would show its best with temperature up to +25 °C. Hurried up to check in on the flight back to Stockholm-Arlanda to get a window seat but also to get a seat as far forward as possible to avoid sitting next to the jet engines (which are mounted at the rear of the fuselage and not underneath the wings on a Boeing 717). Breakfast was served at 7.30am and the last morning meeting of the week was held at 8.45am. Our guide for today in the red group was Patrick and we were going to test out a trail they hadn’t been hiking earlier this summer.

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The travel agency had rented a min bus that drove us from the hotel in Champoluc to the village Brusson, and then the bus turned off and started driving uphill and after many hair pin turns, we got to the parking lot at Estoul at 1871 altitude meters. The hiking started here through the Mosçerela Forest (Bosco di Mosçerela) which gave a well-needed shadow. The sun warmed us pretty good, so all shadows were welcomed. But as we got close to the tree-limit (about 2200 altitude meters) and it wouldn’t be much more shadows along the way, we slowed down the pace and made a lot of extra water drinking pauses. According to Rebecka, our hiking guide, it was an unusually cloud-free day today and we therefore had a great view over the surrounding mountain massifs, including Mont Blanc (4810 meters) and of course Monte Rosa Massif.

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After a couple of hours, we arrived at Lago Chamen at 2451 meters of height, where we stopped for a break, technical pause and a swim for those who wanted. I passed this time as well, since the temperature obviously wouldn’t be any different from the other lakes we had stopped at before.

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Patrick enlighten us that next stage, went uphill the mountain in front of us. Since we now were above the tree-limit and you couldn’t refer to anything else it didn’t seem to be so tough, sure anyone could see that it was steep, but it didn’t seem to be that high. But once we had started our way up, we more and more realized how high it was. From Lago Chamen (2451 meters above sea level), It took us almost an hour to get up to Colle Valnera at 2684 altitude meters. But as mentioned before, the view was totally worth the pain. A magnificent view over the mountains and valleys in front of us resulted in a group picture of course. We had a wide outlook from up here and we could even see Rifugio Arp (2431 m.) where we would have our lunch for today. Pasta with speck and fonduta, it all tasted well. Fonduta is a typical starter common in Aosta Valley, where Fontina Cheese mixes with yolk, flour and milk and the finished cream spread on top of roasted white or brown bread. Fontina Cheese, Aosta’s pride, has been an origin protected brand within European Union since 1995, which means the cheese can only be produced in Aosta Valley. Fontina is made of only unpasteurized milk from a special breed of cows that only exists in Aosta.

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After lunch both red and blue group gathered for a joined photo, before hiking downhill to the waiting bus in Estoul. After about 25 minutes we were back in Champoluc and Hotel Relais des Glaciers. After a well-needed shower and foot- and shoe-care it was time to start packing for returning home tomorrow morning. We who would fly back to Stockholm Arlanda did not have check out as early as the travelers to Malmoe and Gothenburg.

A closing meeting was held in the conference room at 7pm where we have had all morning meetings during the week. Now we were offered free champagne, an image show and opportunity to buy a USB stick with all information (maps, lunches at Rifugios and much more) including all the pictures that Lina and Rebecka had taken of red and blue group during the week. Later on, there was Gala Dinner at the hotel for us who had booked through the travel agency. Salad as entrée, first starter was raw ham with fresh fruits and as second starter was stuffed ravioli with aubergines and tomatoes. Main course was roast beef with potatoes in papillote and courgettes sweet and sour. A final dessert with stuffed chou bun with chantilly cream and chocolate sauce. After dinner it was time to pay your debts on your hotel bill you “incurred” during the week, which for me was wine and water. They charged high fees for the water and the charge for water alone was half the bill… well. You just had to come up with that money.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Italy Tagged hiking

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