Today we left both the Via Alpina and the Alpine Pass Route behind based solely on hotel availability. The detour proved to be both fortuitous and amusing (Katy’ sentence, she’s an English teacher). Read on.
1. Morning disagreement over price, in two languages, with hotel matron. We stood our ground and smiled and all was well. Meanwhile, entire restaurant of French Swiss old men looked on.
2. Our hike today took us along and on a major and quite paved highway. But all was well.
3. A tank. By the side of the road. We thought the Swiss were neutral. What’s up with that?
4. Upon arriving at Col Des Mosses, the tiny endpoint hamlet of our hike, we were welcomed by a straggling flea market complete with antiques, kitchy Swiss tourist baubles, freshly made raclettte, and an accordion playing English singing French Swiss hillbilly. As if that weren’t enough, toward the end of the flea market we came upon two stalls and heard a familiar language being spoken. The vendors were indigenous Ecuadorians from Quito selling traditional wares such as bags, sweaters, and wool hats. It was a crazy merging of worlds.
5. Our hotel tonight, for which we are paying less than the camping dorm of three nights ago, happens to have not just a pool, but a jacuzzi, sauna, and a hamam (steamroom) and views, from the balcony, of glacier topped peaks. It’s supply and demand–this empty off-season ski town appears happy to have the business.
6. Han Lung Restaurant. Delicious Chinese food, the first we’ve encountered on the trip. Well worth it. Even the banana beignets we had for dessert were amazing.
All in all, a detour well worth taking. Tomorrow to Montreaux, our final day of hiking.
Bon Soir. (I’m learning French. What else are you going to do while hiking along the highway?)