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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day 9 - Last Stop Courmayeur

The rain had stopped in the next morning, yet the place was shrouded in thick midst.

After breakfast, we packed our luggage and moved on to the next destination, which is also the last stop of the whole trip.

When we drove down the mountain, we saw this cloud sea at the mid level...it's very beautiful.

Good bye Courchevel 1850.

It's going to be another long drive. Husband said if everything went smooth, we would reach our destination in about 3-4 hours.

It took us around 40 min just to descend to the mountain foot.

Then we swayed to the express way, which does't look very "express" to us.

As usual, there is not much to see along the express way.

The only activity I could do while sitting still in the car was taking photos, what else?

1.5 hour later, we arrived at this anonymous town. I looked at husband, but he has no intention to stop here for a break.

Later on, I found out this town is called Bourg St. Maurice. Also, the time we passed by this town was 11.08 am.

We drove further and passed by this town some time later...

We didn't stop neither.

We went up...

and up...

We could see the whole town down there when we went up to certain elevation.

From time to time, we were surrounded by the midst. If we weren't driving in the day time, this could be quite scary.

A road side hotel that can be a savior to the distress travelers.

For quite a long time, we had to drive on this mountain road with a low speed.

Another hour later, we reached a seemingly bigger town.

Looks like this is a tourist town, with many cars and people walking on the street.

We pooled over the car to take some fresh air, also for a pee-break.

Anyway, we didn't stay long at this town. We are just the passer-by here...

Then we moved on...

Bumped into this lonely chair lift before leaving the town.

After some time, the scene become quite different. Husband said we had entered a scenic mountain pass.

The Great Saint Bernad pass connects Switzerland and Italy.

This route is the 3rd highest road pass (2469 m) in Switzerland, but is the lowest pass lying on the ridge between the two highest summits of the Alps, Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa.

The Great Saint Bernard is the most ancient pass through the Western Alps. In 1800, Napoleon's army used the pass to enter Italy, an event depicted in notable oil painting, Jacques-Louis David's Napoleon at the Saint-Bernard Pass.

Having been bypassed by easier and more practical routes, particularly the Great St Bernard Tunnel which opened in 1964, its value today is mainly historical and recreational.

Straddling the highest point of the road, the Great St Bernard Hospice was founded in 1049 to provide a safe haven for travelers. 

The hospice later became famous for its use of St. Bernard dogs in rescue operations. The hospice is still operational today.

In winter, the pass is swept by strong winds and impressive snowstorms. Access is only possible on skies (approximately 2 hours) in a dream-like setting with potential avalanches everywhere.

The pass is dominated by the statue of Saint Bernard, patron of mountaineers, which stands near a small lake and nearby on Swiss territory.

The only souvenir shop up there that sell very ordinary staffs, simply not our cup of tea. 

William and St Bernard.

From here, we walked around the pass for a break.

The weather was just nice over here, yet none was sitting at those table there. Guess everyone was busy bypassing this pass, like we did.

It would be very troublesome if something is wrong with the car...We hope they would fix their problem fast.

Like said, this is a border between Switzerland, Italy and France.

So many great land here...yet idle.

The hiking trails are rarely visited as well...

20 minutes later, we drove on and entered Italia territory in 5 minutes time.

A small lake in this peaceful land.

Very beautiful road side flowers...Looking at the scene out there can be quite mesmerizing.

Suddenly I realized we have been following at the back of this motorcyclist for quite some time already.

Husband couldn't have overtaken him cause overtaking seems dangerous on this mountain pass.

A very simple church in one of the very simple old village.

After passing by many small villages, finally we got to see a relatively bigger village.

This is one of the resort towns, but it's not our destination, not yet.

If we have enough time, it would be nice to stop by and take a walk here.

Really very tempting to stop after a long drive, but knowing we were a bit off the schedule, we need to let go this.

We continued to drive on. The kids had became impatience and kept asking his dad how long would that be? Husband estimated this will take another 30 minutes time, we all exhaled helplessly.

At around 2 pm, finally we arrived at our destination, Courmayeur. By then our mood was elevated again.

This is a very good looking village too. I sort of love it at fist sight.

The first thing to do was to check in the hotel, somewhere out there, but not sure where exactly it is?

Husband said the hotel is out of town center, so he drove to the mountain side.

This road is so straight, so neat, with fantastic view some more.

Surprisingly, there are many hotels around this area. We got to look for our hotels by referring to the signboard.

The signboard had directed us to go that side...

Really fantastic view at the end there. Husband said we would go up one of the peaks later on. Sound great to me.

Finally we had found our hotel. Luckily the hotel is big enough to provide free parking lot to the guests.

The boys were very happy to touch the land again.

The hotel's interior is good looking and artistic.

so does its exterior...

and its surrounding as well..

the hotel's manager is a kind man that he let us choose the kind of room we prefer.

And we picked this family room with an artificial lawn at the front yard.

The living room with a sofa bed, and another mattress hidden beneath. This would be son's bed for tonight.

The only room in the house, for husband and I.

William enjoyed sleeping here. He said it would be nice if our house got a front yard like this.

Father and son took a very short nap here, after a long journey.

Sons suggested we should take our dinner at the yard. We'll see...

Just when we were about to leave, this friendly friend came to visit us. Its visitation had put off our schedule a little bit.

Cat watching...

Another 20 min had passed, we got to move up then...

While husband had gone to take the car, we waited for him at the road side. From there, we could see the courtyard of the hotel, looks great. 


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