It began early at the Alpina with Madeleine bustling to bring our breakfasts at 7.15 all smiles and "Did you sleep well?" She's such a lovely person and we shall miss this gorgeous place. It is not fancy, but everything is perfectly done. Last night's meal was unbelievably good. A rich mushroom tart with a blob of whipped cream full of chives to start, then lamb falling off the bone on a bed of couscous and tiny vegetables steeped in gravy and finally the remaking of what Madeleine said was an old French classic "oeuf de la neige". Egg whites whipped with lemon, on top of a passion fruit mousse, sitting on a banana and vanilla cream. We were all rendered speechless. Tom told a Madeleine (in French) that it was the best meal he'd had on this holiday. She beamed. To be honest it was one of the best meals I've had full stop. She'd made us packed lunches too - boiled eggs with potato salad and roast beef (cheese for P).
It was sad to leave such a friendly, exceptional place. We were on the road at eight walking along Champex's little lake. Where I discovered my camera battery was dead. All pix courtesy of my iPhone or Philippa.
It was still hot and the glacier meltwater roaring down the mountain looked like the perfect place to dunk your head and cool down but we never got quite close enough on the way down.
Having left the level of wildflowers and butterflies, we descended back into it.
Supper was a communal affair and we shared our a table with two English guys called Dan; "Just call us the handsome Dans", and a young woman from Colorado. Kaitlin was doing the Chamonix to Zermatt walk on her own with a full pack, no poles and trail shoes rather than hiking boots. She'd been travelling by herself in Europe for two months and was perfectly at ease.
It was an easy, enjoyable evening with everyone swapping experiences, but when supper is done, everyone drifts off to bed. The three of us lined up in the dark to watch "Batman Begins" with our resident movie buff. And aching knees.