Friday, January 22, 2010

Il Vaggio al Courmayeur II

Aosta - Courmayeur

Day 06 continued

The train 12:45 hr for Pre Saint Didier consist of one carriage with one door in the middle. It left on time on the journey that was filled with pleasant surprises.

If the Aosta station was small, the train stations to Courmayeur were tiny!

Does the Capo no longer have an office?

Some of the train tracks were running practically behind someone's backyard.

After what feels like eternity, we arrived at Pre Saint Didier. Since I had kept my camera away to free my hands to handle by backpack, Amalina and the stroller, I could not capture the picture of the station. Perhaps the Villineuve station will give you an idea what the size of the Pre Saint Didier Station was.

We had planned to take a taxi from Pre Saint Didier to Courmayeur. Afterall, from the information I found, Pre Saint Didier was merely 5 km away from Courmayeur. What I didn't realize that there were no taxis waiting for passengers at Pre Saint Didier Station. In fact, we were the only ones who got down there! Perhaps we could call for a taxi but to my dismay, our WIND Italian sim card had no reception at Pre Saint Didier!

We thought, why not ask the train driver if he could help us with directions and to our dismay both him and the train were gone!

At the corner of the station was a tiny bar which was still closed. Trying our luck, we ventured inside, hoping that someone in there could help us call a taxi. The cleaning lady, whose Italian accent was different than what I was used to, kindly gave us a business card for a taxi for Courmayeur whom we could call to fetch us. I asked if she has a telephone for us to use and she could not help us with that. Instead, she suggested that we walk to the Piazza which was 5 minutes away.

Slightly nervous, we trudged along; Saiful with a huge rucksack on his back and our huge suitcase, me with Amalina's stroller and another backpack on my back, in the slush on a quiet road, with no signs of another vehicle.

At the end of that quiet road, I saw a boy, no more than 10 years old, shoveling his front walk. My Italian came back in a hurry. I greeted him and asked if the Piazza was in that direction. And he said yes it was.

I asked him if there were taxis there to take us to Courmayeur. And he shook his head and said nope, there won't be taxis there.

Instead he pointed to us the bus station (which we did not notice before because it was hidden behind a mountain of snow) and told us that there are buses to Courmayeur from the l'fermata. I asked him what time the bus will come and he said well I'm not sure you'll just have to wait there.

I was slightly nervous as we could be waiting for another hour for the bus to come. Luck was on our side as a bus pulled into the bus stop merely 5 minutes later. We were the only passengers on the bus and the driver waited patiently for us to haul all our luggage onto the bus.

The bus fare from Pre Saint Didier to Courmayeur was EUR1.30 and the journey took no more than 20 minutes. As we pullled into Courmayeur I was excited and nervous at the same time.

I had tried to look for directions for the hotels via google maps before we left but could not find details. I tried asking the bus driver after he boarded the bus but he didn't know where the Hotel was and suggested I ask someone.

The main bus station where we got off its actually very convenient. There is a bus ticket office, Tourist Information office and Hotel booking office. Unfortunately the Tourist Information office was closed. What a day right?

Luckily I found a big self service map showing where all the location of the hotel was in Courmayeur (yes it was that small). We followed the directions for the Hotel Bouton D'or which was as follows:

Take the steps up on the right side. There is a path from the front of the Post Office that lead you directly to the front of the hotel.

Sounds simple enough right? Except the path mentioned was covered knee deep with snow. took us a few minutes to figure out with one the correct path was! Not to mention that it was impossible to pull the luggage through knee deep snow!

This was the path after they had shoveled it the next day.

So DH and The Little One stayed behind at the Post Office while I trudged ahead looking for the hotel and perhaps I can ask for help there.

Upon arrival at the Hotel, I recognize Patrizia, the owner, from the picture on the website. I introduced myself and told her about our problem. Patrizia told me not to worry and her husband will pick DH and The Little One up from the post office. She also informed me that she has instructed the chambermaid to put extra pillows in our room for The Little One.


atiza said...

Luck seems to be on your side though not as smooth as you've hoped for.

The family and me will be going for an adventure to China next week. We did not use any tour guide and unlike you, we only have a Lonely Planet Guide, couple of maps and placard as guide should we got lost. Wish me luck and more of your writings please. Cheers

atenah said...

SF, ulu mana u pegi ni he he.

tz, china kat mana? the cik kiahs are talking abt going to Xian next year to check out the terracota warriors and pandas....not. shopping la apa lagi he he