Rethinking Italy under a glacier in Monte Bianco

     I braved the elements today to explore Mont Blanc/Monte Bianco’s south side: ferocious blue skies, unrelenting soft breezes and treacherous flat paths. It is said that from the French side Mont Blanc looks like a white dome while on this side Monte Bianco has a more jagged appearance, but it was fantastic regardless of what is on the other side. I can’t believe I thought I would putz around Aosta town today.
     Courmayeur at the base of the mountain and the last town before France had a supply of women with thick, powerful legs–hiking legs–and I looked out of place with my red t-shirt, orange pants and tennis shoes with conspicuous holes. (The only place I look like I belong in that outfit is a Dutch crack den.)
     I was surprised how efficient, easy and cheap the transport was. Italy! Who knew? I might have to rethink my stereotype of Italy. Some things I hope never change: focaccia, gelato, prosciutto crudo…I was disoriented in an Italian supermarket; I couldn’t recognize breads or cheese names, but gamely tried a few.
     I took the bus as far as it would go to La Visaille and walked another hour or so up to Lac du Miage. The views made me lay on a flat rock and vegetate under a glacier that had small rocks constantly melting away into the water under it. It probably would have been an inopportune time for an earthquake.

     Look at the two photos below which were taken about 90 minutes apart. This is near the lake. Notice the snow melt in the second photo. Marco thinks it isn’t necessarily all snow melt but different lighting. What do you think?

     Slate roofs are everywhere around here. Are there other places other than Wales and Northwest Italy where they are so prevalent?
     So one day I am climbing in the crisp, fresh mountain air with cloudless skies and the next I am flying to teeming tropical Bangkok at the peak of rainy season. It’s going to be weird. I wonder what Italian immigration is going to say about my new passport with no stamps in it.

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