Courmayeur is a village with two distinct faces, two individual characters - one that shows itself during summer and the other that preserves itself for when winter is coming. During winters, it is a paradise for skiers who love to find their way through high slopes that glint with snow. And when summer decides to show its face, it morphs into a ghost-town of sorts where you long to see fellow human beings. Tucked in the Aosta Valley of North-western Italy, the town is guarded on one side by the gigantic Mont Blanc, Western Europe's highest mountain. And once you cross the border by hopping on to a cable-car, you are in Chamonix, an extremely popular French ski resort.
If you decide to visit in May or June, which are the summer months, expect to do nothing except laze around with a book and a cup of hot cocoa in hand. Yes, a hot drink is imperative because summertime in the mountains of Europe usually means that the temperatures mostly drop below 10 degrees. If you love being in proximity to nature, you are in the right place as the greens interspersed with the blues and whites will enthral you. If you are lucky, a fascinating view of the Mont Blanc will greet you right at your window, reminding you of a stack of the densest of chocolate-banana brownies topped with Madagascar vanilla bean ice-cream and sprinkled with chocolate shavings that immediately melt in the mouth. And if the previous sentence reminds you of dessert, there are numerous cafes, gelaterias and restaurants around the valley that will gladly satiate your sweet tooth.
Walking around Courmayeur and its neighbouring village, La Palud, on narrow, deserted streets lined with quaint pizzerias, boutiques, chalets and stone cottages, I somehow knew where I wanted to live ten years down the line. The air, unlike what we breathe in the cities that we live in, was cool, crisp and had floral, woody and mossy undertones to it. The locals, although very few in number, were always ready to help, whether it came to calling a taxi or providing directions in broken English that was always somewhat peppered with Italian and French. I drank a lot of local wine and combined it with fine Italian chocolate and I can swear on my maps and walking shoes that I was a very happy girl; that I truly belonged in the mountains.