Day 7: Rifugio I Re Magi to Névache
This was our last short day for a while! We started off the day nicely by going in the wrong direction. For some reason we thought we had to double back for a bit (despite signposts, guidebook and map telling us not to; it must’ve been the wine). Having finally located the right path (it goes up past the rifugio) we climbed up through the woods to Col des Thures, where there is a nice little lake and some great views of the surrounding mountains.
According to the weather forecast it was going to rain but it was so windy that rainclouds simply had no time to start dropping water on our heads but were blown straight back to the Vanoise. We found a spot that was slightly out of the wind to have a short break.
On the other side of the col, we suddenly had the idea that we were approaching the Mediterranean. Instead of grassy alpages there were crumbling cliffs and the landscape was a lot rockier and drier than in the Vanoise. We didn’t head straight down to Névache on the GR5 but instead took a slightly longer route via the balcons. This was recommended to us by one of the snorers in the hut. This track heads west with some good views down the valley, before descending through the fields. There are piles and ridges of rocks everywhere, that have been dug out of the fields over the centuries and used to mark boundaries.
What we thought of as Névache is actually a string of villages. We pitched our tent at the campsite in the easternmost one, then set of to explore. The first three villages were extremely quiet; I don’t think we actually saw anyone except at the tiny village shop. The fourth village for some reason had busloads of tourists dropping in. There was also an excellent bakery which also sold stinky cheeses. We ended up cooking a bulgur-tomato-stew-like-something with stinky cheese. Good thing it was windy.