DAY SIX: COURMAYEUR

July 6:
A “zero day” in AT thru-hiker parlance in Courmayeur at the Hotel Walser, where we had a great room with a loft for Gus.
Slept in, piddled around, took naps, ate wonderful pasta. Love Italy. Much more friendly than France. The little bits of Italian I know flow off the tongue and make my hands move in rhythm.
And the dogs. Oh, the dogs of Europe. They are so good, so lucky to live in a country where they can go anywhere. Not just in Courmayeur. Everywhere. The huge Bernese Mountain Dog that ate with us in Les Contamines, wandering around the restaurant and sticking his big old head in my lap. The terriers, dachshunds and golden retrievers. The trio of unleashed huge brindled hounds that trotted behind their human on a bicycle in Chamonix. The Belgian sheepdog, just like our friend Ritter. The basset hound in the Cafe Monchu in Chamonix. The dog that looked just like Cid’s mother in Le Fouly. The Malinois in Les Champex. The yellow labish mutt who was the impressario of the “Courmayeur Fest” setup crew.
I found I could babble in French easily if I was talking dogs. And all the owners preened when a family all the way from des Etats-Unis came and praised and petted their dogs.
Long ago when Ginny and I came to Europe, we loved to sit in cafes and (having learned the phrase, I think, from Eugene Ionesco’s Le Rhinocéros) “regarder les gens qui passe.” This trip we sat in cafes and loved to “regarder les chiens qui passe.”

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