My last day in Chamonix, I had plans to hike Lac Cornu, but decided, last minute, that a change of scenery would be necessary. I took the train to Vallorcine, boarded a lift
Then hiked up to the Swiss border, accompanied by wildflowers and the cowbell chimes.
The trail started off flat
According to the sign above, had I sticked to the trail, I should be able to finish this hike in 1 hour 15 minutes. But that wouldn’t be fun, would it?
Barely five minutes into the hike, I heard the cow bells and veered off the course.
Just like that, I stepped into Switzerland 🙂
After visiting the cows close up, which I’m not sure was a good idea now that I think about it – they stunk big time – I went back to the trail and began the uphill climb.
This is the most beautiful section of the hike, painted with wild flowers
Accompanied by the sound of running water and insects in the Alpine meadows.
If you listen carefully, you can still hear the cow bells through the wind.
After about 45 minutes, I came to Refuge du Col de Balme
and the official border of Switzerland.
Note the pointers in red and white
vs. the green ones in France.
I had lunch near the Refuge then ventured a little further till I encountered the névé on trail.
There the wild flowers were even more impressive!
More flowers on my way down
And a tarn
Dotted with cotton grass
With a reflection of the mountain peaks.
One more look at the Glacier du Tour.
I got back in town just in time for my reservation at the ever-so-popular Mumma.
Helmed by chef David Lillieroth from Stockholm, Mumma serves pan-Asian fusion cuisine.
Here I ordered the crunchy fried aubergine with steamed broccolini, sweet chili miso sauce, nori, and pickled fennel; Szechuan & soy glazed iberico pork ribs with esquites, pickled chili, coriander and scallion. Despite the hype and the price tag, the flavours were good. Again I was happy to see more food varieties in this Alpine town.
After dinner I decided to skip the climbing competition
And got back to my room for some peaceful time with the mountains.
This concludes my hiking journey in the French alps this time around.
Coming up next: Annecy, France
The usual Col de Balme hike does not start from Vallorcine, but from the village of Le tour and it will take more than 1 hour 15 minutes. However, due to work on the Tour/Charamillon side at the moment, the Balme area can only be discovered from the village of Vallorcine.