I’m often asked what is a typical day on tour in the Alps like? First every day is unique, however there’s three elements that bind our days: hiking, eating and sleeping great ledges. Here’s a few insights as to what these can look like.
The trails in the Alps are often very old trails used by sheep herders or walkways from village to village. They are commonly well marked and show the amount of time to get to the next village or trail juncture. They become rougher the further and higher one explores. Hiking poles are a great idea and commonly used especially for multi day hikes. Trails are seldom crowded and the folks you meet are fellow hikers thus like “family”! I enjoy guessing what nationality people are and greeting them accordingly!
Hikers love to eat and drink! Why not when you’re shedding unwanted pounds daily! The European Alps offer some of the best cuisine in the world, not to mention amazing cheese, wine, beer, breads……. Most of our meals are where we stay and some are offered family style (my favorite) which gives us more opportunity to meet fellow travelers and hear their stories plus practice our French, Italian or other wonderful languages. Watch out if the World Cup Soccer games are on as you might the winners dancing on your table! Meals are delicious, prepared with pride and shared with grace. They are never rushed and offer a wonderful social interaction where new friends are made.
Perhaps my favorite part after a long day of adventuring is coming into our beautiful mountain hotels. These pensions, Gite d’etapes, Refugios as they may be referred to are often private, family run affairs offering that wonderful pride of ownership. If they are not private then they are part of a Club Alpine Francais, Italiano or Swiss. The guardianship is something kept over many years so we see the same friendly faces every time we visit and it feels like coming home. these forms of lodging may go from very rustic to very comfortable with private rooms and bathrooms. Only in the mountains the bathrooms with be down the hall. Most of our meals are enjoyed in the same hut we lodge in.. I call it civilized “camping”. There’s nothing better like a cold beer, hot shower, five course meal and comfy bed in my own little room at the end of the day!