Tour Mont Blanc
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February 12th 2013






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Aostatal and great Italian Pasta for lunch

South flank of Grand Saint BernardJust behind the Italian border station, the road leaves the pass plateau in a right turn and dives into an avalanche shelter. Still a strong wind is blowing with lots of gusts, since there was an extreme upwind on the Southern Alps, or as the Swiss say, a "Bise". This enormous wind caused many snow drifts on the road and in the shelter.

It was therefore still required to take care, watch out and it was wise to not just think a glorious sunshine and the steel blue sky melts away all those nasty road blockers. In the avalanche shelter the melted water was still partially frozen and the wind had piled up at the end of the shelter a one-meter-high snowdrift. So a bit, throttle up and with a little power through the piled powder snow. Honda Varadero as a snow plow.

But finally we reached the Aosta Valley and turned in the city Aosta to the right, following in the Aosta valley towards Courmayeur and the Petit Saint Bernard. Our next destination on this Mont Blanc tour was the Petit Saint Bernard pass, which leaves the Asota Valley just in front of the mighty Mont Blanc. This road should bring us over to the province Savoy. During the last night evening, Corinne our host from the hotel Rarnerhof did a lot of phone calls to the valley to find out if we actually can run the tour around the Mont Blanc at Pentecost, or that it would end here at the end of the Aosta Valley in the Mont Blanc tunnel. We had green light for the tour and would find out here if Corinnesí information network worked out.

The information that the Petite St. Bernard pass would be open made us euphoric yesterday evening, since we had already made this tour now for the third time and had failed the first two times. Once we were too early in May, and again we were surprised by the early winter start with huge snow in October. The last time we had to turn back at the Petit Saint Bernard summit. But this time everything seemed to work out.

Why - the reader might ask - why donít these guys not run that trip in the midsummer? Well, good question. The reason is relatively simple. At no season, except late May to mid-June, you can find these color contrasts in the European Alps. In the valley - meadows in bloom - on the pass summit, still several feet of snow and the absolute clear air with infinite views. A photo shot on the pass summit in May and one in August simply shows the difference. The photographs in the early summer in clear air are is much more dense in colors and light. Photos shot during summer time and August can only be shot in early morning or late at night and you can then mostly forget the quality based on the haze that does not allow too beautiful pictures. They look milky.


The Petit Saint Bernard pass - entry to the province Savoye

Petit Saint Bernard with view to La TuileBut enough philosophized. Fortunately you can find in the Aosta Valley at every corner a pizzeria or a real Italian restaurant. It is only very important to know that they are only open for lunch after 12:30. So after a typical Italian meal, with spaghetti, cannelloni and tagliatelle, with ham and cream sauce, we take a left at the end of the valley just before we reach the village Curmayeur in a small village named Pre'Saint Didier up to the Petite St. Bernard Pass.

Several steep curves and serpentines say hello to our bikes and lead us through a forest up into a valley and ski resort. At this time of year the village is totally dead. All the hotels are closed and just some lost hikers stumble over the street.

We leave the small village of La Tuile and follow more endless hairpin bends up across the timber line. Always with a bright and clear view down into the little skiing village La Tuileries.


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