The Mont Blanc Esprit de Corps – Rick Steves’ Journey Weblog



Hiking Europe’s Tour du Mont Blanc was a totally different slice of European culture for me: Coming upon a remote farmhouse-turned-thriving-cafe serving wonderful lunches…flowers and cows (with classic bells) scenically sprinkled throughout…and an esprit de corps where everyone is like family.


Our trail went through three countries — France, Italy, and Switzerland — before returning to our starting point in France. This cow is totally Swiss.
One of the delights of the TMB is coming upon an old farmhouse on a mountain alp (or pasture) that, these days, is a thriving little restaurant for hungry and thirsty hikers. Prices are reasonable, service is friendly, the food is great, and the vibe is one of joy.

As nearly everyone hikes in the same direction (counter-clockwise), you become friends with fellow hikers. It seemed like half the people on the trail were from the US, and I met lots of Seattleites.

It was easy to pass long stretches of the hike immersed in deep conversation with people we met along the way.
I enjoyed meeting this fan of my books and TV shows, who was celebrating his 60th birthday by hiking the TMB with his son.

And in the interest of hiking light, lunches were very simple — just a sandwich from the hotel, maybe a carrot, a piece of fruit, and water. But upon reaching the mid-day summit, lunch was a marmot’s banquet. (Speaking of marmots, we saw no wildlife except a couple of mice that had been squished under hiking boots on the trail.)


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