Trekking in the Alps…what was I thinking?

I am going to jump back to the beginning of our holiday, to the part when we were still in Italy, more precisely in the Alpine region of Valle d’Aosta, a five-hour drive north-west of Florence.


Mont AvicOur hotel was located on the edge of the Mont Avic Natural Park, the first natural park in Valle d’Aosta (for more info, see: Our room had a terrace with marvellous views of the Alps. In fact, I would have been quite happy just to sit out there all day, enjoying the chilly breeze and stunning views, but no, we had brought our trekking gear with us, so off we went on a long hike in spite of the uncertain weather (as you can see from my rather hazy photo).


This particular hike is recommended for “beginners” by the Mont Avic tourist info office. The trail led to a lake called Lac de Servaz, at an altitude of 1806 metres. The hike didn’t sound too bad, a little more than five kilometres roundtrip, an estimated two/two hours and a half each way. We figured, hah, no problem, we can manage that.


Ah, but we hadn’t calculated that most of the way to the lake was a steep climb up a rocky and rather jagged mountain. We ended up climbing a bit more than 500 metres. I must remember to thank Sherlock for giving us trekking poles. Without my poles, I probably wouldn’t have made it.


As it is, after about two hours (plus some) of climbing and sweating buckets in spite of the cool breezes, I felt that I just couldn’t climb any farther. I decided to tell Stefano to keep going up to the lake that I was beginning to believe didn’t exist, and that I would wait right there for him to return.


Mont Avic, Lac de Servaz, 1806 metres But I decided to go around one last vertical bend. And there it was. The lake. A haven of peace and quiet. We sank down on its welcoming rocky/grassy beach, ate our sandwiches and rested for 15 minutes or so. If it hadn’t been rather cloudy, my photos would have been amazing. But clouds obscured the view of the mountain peaks above us. Oh well, can’t have everything!


In the end, we were happy that we had made the climb. The views were spectacular, and besides, the entire trek hadn’t taken us more than five hours, so we felt that we had done quite well for two city folks with a rather sedentary lifestyle.


I’d like to end today’s post with the typical hotel sign that I found hanging in our bathroom, you know, the one that tells you to drop your towels on the floor if you wish to have them changed. The instructions in Italian were fine, of course. But the English translation read as follows:


“If wished the change left to earth your towels. Thank you.”

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