Day 15: Larche

Day 15 - French Defenses WWII Easy 7 hours.  Two cols and between them there was a high uninhabited valley.  The total ascent/descent was moderate.  Saw some French mountain fortifications destroyed in WWII.  They even had an artillery battery fort on top of 2900m mountain which targeted Col Larche - one of the major crossings between Italy and France in this area. 

Day 15 - Behind Col Italy The village of Larche was also totally destroyed by Italian and German troops and had been completely rebuilt after the WWII.  Ironically, the only thing to survive the destruction was the memorial to the village men killed in the WWI.  So I am staying in a pretty modern gite d'etape.  Came to Larche so early that was the first to register.  Registration consists of identifying myself Day 15 - GR5 Goes That Way as Victor, taking my boots off, being shown by the gardienne where the WC and douches are, and finally being shown your place to sleep.

I would like to go for another 4 hours today but this area is so remote that the next refuge is 7 hours away - too far.

So I got up early this morning to have my Day 15 - French Military Installation from WWII breakfast as I was told at 6 am.  Asked the gardien to show me the table. The table had bread, butter, fruit jelly, the bowl with cereal, but no milk and nothing to drink.  Went to the kitchen and asked for coffee and milk.  Several minutes later the gardien brings some hot water for my tea.  At this point I am OK with the tea instead of coffee, Day 15 - From_Col Down To Larche but there are no tea bags.  So I ask again for the tea bags and pointing to the bowl with cereal I ask for milk.  The gardien brings back tea bags and also proudly gives me a little plastic container which says "Miel".  Well it sounds close to milk but not close enough for me to chew on crunchy cereal with honey instead of having it with milk.  Day 15 - Larche - WWI Memorial And here somebody helps me out by saying milk in French to gardien.  A minute later I have milk for my cereal.  That was fun.

Last night at the dinner it was confirmed that presentation is important to the French.  The salad was brought in a large plate for the six of us.  It had only two ingredients: Day 15 - Refuge de Larche lettuce and tomatoes. Round slices of tomatoes were placed around the edge.  Lettuce was thinly sliced and the green slices made up the basis and the white slices topped the middle of the plate. So it had three distinct color circles: red, green and white.  The French guy next to me explained that the French first look at the presentation of the dish and enjoy it.  Then eat and enjoy the food.  And so every dish they enjoy twice.

Day 15 - Refuge de Larche Tonight at the dinner I talked to the fellow GR5 hiker.  He is French and lives near Paris.  He started one day earlier then me at the same town of Saint Gingolph at the Lake Geneva.  It was fun to share our experiences.  The dinner was great and presentation was excellent again.