- p o n t e • d’ a r b i a

 

“in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed” -

khalil gibran

today’s new boots saw 35 km of walking - 25 of the prescribed path, plus a 10km round trip detour when we lost the path to

avoid barking dogs on the loose. 

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I walked with my friend Alice. It was hard to get going at 4AM for both of us, so we never caught the rest of the group.

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But it as a wonderful walk of shared silence, incredible landscape, and music. 

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It was nice to share some “You too? I thought I was the only one” belly laughs about pilgrim stuff - stocking up on sheets of toilet paper in the bathroom of cafes with grouchy management, trying in vain to make yourself presentable when you reach a city like Siena or Lucca by walking the way.

I also learned some new Italian words, my favorite of all time maybe being “fare la scarpetta” - the technical term for eating every last drop of sauce from your pasta dish by soaking it up with a piece of bread when you finish the pasta.

”In my house,” she said, “if you don’t do it it like, is something wrong? Are you feeling sick?”  

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The animals we saw around us- the flighty birds that pop out of bushes and red-skinned roosters, are also apparently prepared into excellent dishes in Tuscany. After 25km, we started to get hungry. Just as we were listing favorite flavor of gelato, big bushes of blackberries - “more” (plural of mura, pronounced MORE- AY)  appeared all along the path.

I am a bit of a “ghiottone” for wild berries so I have no pictures, but that I live another day without starving on the trail is maybe the best takeaway from these rows and rows of bushes. Even when we lost the Via Francigena for a few extra kms, a bright side was the fattest berries of the day, not yet picked over by other pilgrims.

 It was a day of slowly discovering the Tuscany countryside, learning and sharing. In the end, I was  glad I woke up at 4AM and dressed in yesteday’s damp running shorts instead of sleeping in and taking a train from the city. As my friend pointed out at 9AM- four hours into walking today, if we took a car, we could be in Rome for lunch!

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- s i e n a


 “Every step of the way to heaven is heaven” 

- Catherine of Siena

•• 

today’s stage to Siena saw about 25km, lots of red clay, my third pair of walking shoes since Canterbury, and one terrific Tuscan Contrada party to celebrate.

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The trail guides said there was no water on the path this day, but actually, one private home was turned into a pilgrim oasis after 10km. 

 ...complete with its own stamp  

...complete with its own stamp  

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The owner does everything on a donativo basis, but I did promise to send a postcard from New York. He had a binder with plenty from Rome! After passing the Nutella many times and some espresso, we walked on. 

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An hour later, we had the snack we prepared. Tomato on crusty bread. A real crowd pleaser in the French/Italian/American group. Made better when we discovered olive oil.

 

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And at finaly we entered Siena, where we rested in the center of town.

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At night, a friend of a friend of mine from New York invited us to a Contrada party. The part of Siena celebrating tonight was named for their shell symbol, also a symbol of pilgrimage.

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I met many young Americans from Connecticut and California who were studying abroad at the University of Siena. I realized we shared the same accent, and we shared something else that reminded me of college - slices of pizza! 

- m o n t e r i g g i o n i

 “I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you...”

Clarrissa Pinkola Estés

 ••

today’s walk was an August-in-Italy-hot 30k to the ancient walls of Monteriggioni.

with a bit of effort we found the trail and [mostly] stayed together. 

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I have an unofficial rule when walking the Via Francigena that all wrong turns can be photo opportunities, as they usually reorganize your time and show you something you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Today, loking for the right turn was a discussion that created a pause in very beautiful light.

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we found two good ways that led to coffee in the end.

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We visited an ancient walled city on the way and took more photos among tour buses and school field trips. 

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The final road to Monteriggioni passed through blue skies, stone walls and olive trees. It had a dreamy quality, like a storybook bible. 

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When we finally reached Monteriggioni it was a huge effort to make the final hill into the city. I raced my nearest teammate up it in a moment of feigned competition with an element of seriousness. I lost, and probably created a reason to be 10x more sore than usual today. 

But I laughed so hard when I finally got there.

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- a l t o p a s c i o

“there are always flowers for those who want to see them” - Henry Matisse

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Today saw a “molto brutto” stage of the Road to Rome, leaving bellissima Lucca to hike on mostly flat road to Altopascio. 

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And yet, the path is changing in another way as I get closer and closer to Rome.

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There are more and more other pilgrims on the road now. The Via Francigena is very well ordered into about 18 days or “stages” from here to Rome. The discipline of setting a target each day, waking up very early to start, and crucially, stopping when it is reached, has been a pleasure. 

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Villafranca to Aulla was the last day I walked by myself, and I am really grateful. Walking with other people throughout the path has been a huge relief.

You can work together to find the path. There is peace of mind knowing you could help each other if you suddenly had a need. When then the path is industrial and lacking in aesthetic, you can turn your attention towards learning about the people around you from all different places in the world and life. 

Yesterday, we arrived at 12PM so I had much more time to visit the Lucca and the others I walked with amicably made a small tour of the cathedrals, plaza, walls of the city and local food.

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When I arrived back at the hostel, I was dead tired, but I finally figured out who I was sharing a room with - Alice (ah-li-ché), a girl the same age as me who came from Firenze to walk the Via Francigena from Lucca to Rome.

I didn’t know this at first, I just said yes to tagging along to view the eclipse with her and some filmmakers from Lille in northern France, because I knew I would have to wait 100 years for another chance. 

It was fun. Curiously, the highlight of watching the lunar eclipse was listening on the sound equipment one of the filmmakers brought to record the night in lieu of taking pictures.

With a microphone on a small stand and headphones on, you could hear all the sounds of Lucca on an alive night- cars closing in the distance, someone a few meters away explaining how an eclipse works in Italian, children running and laughing outside the city walls, a little more opera singing, motorcycles.

I could never have imagined that experience. Staying up a little late for the eclipse led to a great day. Alice and I coordinated waking up early to walk together and yesterday’s army grew by one more.

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c a m a i o r e - l u c c a

“things don’t have to change the world to be important” - steve jobs

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I am writing from the loveliest cafe in Lucca. It’s 3PM and I am drinking an American coffee.

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Because Cappuccino after 10AM - never! 

Okay, on different day this cafe playing Dua Lipa and selling Herschel backpacks might look suspiciously like an Italian version of Urban Outfitters but- the coffee is wonderful, everything is marble and I am floating on a cloud.

Today’s walk was about 25km. I began before 5AM. I actually thought I was waking up in the middle of the night to get water from the kitchen, but the other pilgrims in the hostel were taking coffee to start the day.

In a moment, I decided to grab my tiny backpack in the dark and join them. 

My one hesitation was that I wanted to say goodbye again to my friends Francesca and LeLe.

It felt like a good omen that as I was heading down the stairs to leave Francesca had also woken up in the night (or maybe it was my rustling next door) to say bye once more.

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I fastened my still wet socks to top of my backpack.

We started walking five deep in the dark. 

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The pace was brisk. Among the ranks of the pilgrims was Massimo, an Italian retiree who had amassed 77 marathons over a running career of more than 30 years.

“When I run a 42km marathon”, he said, “and I have 41 km in my legs and one remaining, I start thinking about the next marathon” 

It’s always nice to meet people who speak your language! 

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We walked about 6 hours, covering 4-5 kilometers some hours.

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Some uphill was challenging for me. I took energy from my new yellow Via Francigena scarf from LeLe and Francesca, already  glued to my forehead with salty sweat. 

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But what I will remember most about today is maybe the precious hour we spent having coffee with Sergio and Rossetta, an octogenarian couple living in town of 180 people. They invited us in their home just after chatting with us on the road.

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They showed us what they loved the most, their garden and their one “bella regazza” - beautiful daughter. 

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It was a wonderful repose.  

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The trail continued, a small army that occasionally lost one to a phone call or stop inside a church. We passed several churches, without bothering to stop, though, the Italians pointed out, several predated the discovery of America in 1492.

 The last part of the trail was flat and followed a river, another nice repose, and before noon we were in Lucca, a chic Tuscan city with the best gelato, the prettiest violin and opera music floating into the streets from practice studios, and the cleanest shower in the world. 

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- v i l l a f r a n c a

 “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” -  Phillipians 4:8

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Good morning from Tuscany! Have you ever seen such a beautiful sky? Yesterday saw a day of walking about 20 km along the ancient Via Francigena path from Pontremoli to Villafranca (halfway to Aulla). 

There are two Via Francigena paths that run from Pontremoli to Aulla; I think I took the long one.

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A clap of thunder sounded as I set off on the path. I put my raincoat on over myself and my small canvas backpack for about 10 minutes until the rain passed.

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The first part of the trail hiked up into the woods behind some beautiful Tuscan homes, then emptied to a more commercial road.

On the road was an open bakery with pink boxes. I stopped.

 

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Outside, I was happy to spy an olive tree growing in front of a pretty orange house. I recently learned to identify olive trees by their delicate pale green leaves, and promised one of my Aunts to photo some here! The next part of the trail was mostly a cobblestone path through the forest. The stones were slightly wet from the rain. In places, they built a bridge across shallow running water.


I stepped carefully and with my camera pointed.

 

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I walked through a small medieval town, Filaterria, during another brief rain. The chapel was marked everywhere as a stop for the Via Francigena, and I enjoyed a shelter from the rain there.

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The path led out of the town from the chapel directly into the woods. Boisterous voices in the distance signaled life in the city center on a Sunday.


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Bamboo trees on the trail (like the ones that invaded my grandmother’s garden for years), then a horse farm where I took coffee from a tack room vending machine reminded me of home.


“Connet- i - gut”


When I finally arrived at Villafranca, the albergo owner, a man with white hair and dark rimmed glasses named Giancarlo,  took my passport as a matter of form and flipped to the front page for a short biography.


“You were born in Connet-i-gut”.


It’s true. And I was pretty sure even without seeing it written, that his name was Giancarlo.


At least, I remembered


“Gian-carl-ooooooo!”

 

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Was the magic word the massive Italian smoking a cigar outside the hotel had yelled towards an open window to commence business hours when I arrived. For a terse minute before this, it was all locked doors, a blank look and my backpack.

 

I guess that’s how things are working here in Italy, and I was so glad. They offered me a nice room at a small price. The church in town had recommended them as the Via Francigena accommodation in this town,  smaller than than the others on the way.

The restaurant where dinner was served had a lot of life though, of it supplied by Giancarlo himself, who told jokes at every table and translated the German menu into English in no particular order. 

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I had an Italian coffee to finish one of the most delicious meals yet and slept beautifully.

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s t • v i n c e n t - v e r r è s

“Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you. The future will take care of itself” - Paramahansa Yogananda

••• 

Yesterday saw; I don’t know how many kilometers from St. Vincent to Verrès.

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I don’t know how many kilometers because this is roughly how they day went; hike, hike, hike... 

 make friends with a kitten

make friends with a kitten

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 find a crumbling castle with a dead end view 

find a crumbling castle with a dead end view 

 meet a group of Italians working for the tourist office to point out the good path and the Roman Wagon wheel marks in the road... 

meet a group of Italians working for the tourist office to point out the good path and the Roman Wagon wheel marks in the road... 

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  ... appreciate the elevation of the road that once would have made it accessible when the valley below was flooded...

 ... appreciate the elevation of the road that once would have made it accessible when the valley below was flooded...

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  ...meet some beautiful Nanas...

 ...meet some beautiful Nanas...

  ...hitch a ride past the dangerous part of the road with the Italian guides and take a three hour lunch...

 ...hitch a ride past the dangerous part of the road with the Italian guides and take a three hour lunch...

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  ...find Don Giuseppe to unlock the pilgrim accommodation at the church...

 ...find Don Giuseppe to unlock the pilgrim accommodation at the church...

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And see the end of another day from exactly where I needed to be .

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a o s t a - c h a t i l l o n


“So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling,
on tiptoes and no luggage, not even a sponge bag, completely unencumbered”

- Aldous Huxley

 

yesterday saw a big effort to Chatillion, the first full day of hiking in Italy. 

 I was very charmed by the quiet countryside. The Alps in the distance I had also seen in Switzerland and France, but here they were framed by garden tomatos and pink and orange houses. 

I was very charmed by the quiet countryside. The Alps in the distance I had also seen in Switzerland and France, but here they were framed by garden tomatos and pink and orange houses. 

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    I found some of the trail still challenging; uphills and sections requiring lots of focus to keep the bottoms of your shoes from sliding. I was thankful that one of the pilgrims I caught up with in Aosta gave me their hiking poles, and felt stronger walking this way.  The other massive gift on the road was the cold mountain water running alongside the path in a stone bath. I soaked my sore legs like my uncle taught me to do with lame horses. I had tried to convince the hotel in Aosta to give me a room with a bathtub unsuccessfully for two night in a row for this purpose, but what I found on the path was more perfect. 

 

I found some of the trail still challenging; uphills and sections requiring lots of focus to keep the bottoms of your shoes from sliding. I was thankful that one of the pilgrims I caught up with in Aosta gave me their hiking poles, and felt stronger walking this way.

The other massive gift on the road was the cold mountain water running alongside the path in a stone bath. I soaked my sore legs like my uncle taught me to do with lame horses. I had tried to convince the hotel in Aosta to give me a room with a bathtub unsuccessfully for two night in a row for this purpose, but what I found on the path was more perfect. 

    About 10km out from Chatillion, I started following the Cyclo Via, the flat bicycle path along the river, for a respite.

 

About 10km out from Chatillion, I started following the Cyclo Via, the flat bicycle path along the river, for a respite.

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Upon finally arriving in Chatillion, I was greeted by the noise of the streets on Saturday and the delcious smells of pizza. After asking a few questions, I learned the only option for a room in the city was atop this alluring pizzeria.  

After the first long day in a while, the pizza was devoured before any photographic evidence could be taken. 

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This morning, however, over jam-filled croissants I suspect were made with pizza frite dough

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 ...and an warm apple tart the matron stopped by to mention she had made herself...

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I captured a bit of the pizza magic as the chef prepared for the day. 

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And tutto was bene.

s t • r h e m y


Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted.
What happened?
He lived happily ever after.

- Willy Wonka  

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Today’s photos were pretty scarce because I had to march to keep forward today. I was so excited to start out though, within maybe the first 500 meters out the door of the Hospice I met the Italian border! 

    My back kept spasming as I picked my way along the path. I was lucky to follow another Pilgrim out of the city, also 40 days out from Rome and hurting. I don’t know if I would have attempted walking with pain solo, but it was important to me to cross into Italy on foot.

 

My back kept spasming as I picked my way along the path. I was lucky to follow another Pilgrim out of the city, also 40 days out from Rome and hurting. I don’t know if I would have attempted walking with pain solo, but it was important to me to cross into Italy on foot.

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I sang to myself - John Mayer. 

“Who says, I can’t be free? ... Rewrite my history?”

I occupied my mind writing a little history paper.

What does it mean to cross into Italy by this very old military pass on foot? What does it mean to be Italian-American and grow up believing all these about who I am and who my ancestors were - Italian military men known for a distinct style of walk/running?

Is it even true, or would I be shocked by a DNA test? 

Were there women in this military?

Maybe the true history was being written today as I passed through the Alps, crying out in pain at points, but for peace, or friendship, or curiosity,  not war.

As the downhills got steeper into the valley, I listened to John Mayer’s cover of Free Fallin’. 

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I discovered that keeping a steady rhythm  helped a lot. So I did that.


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Somehow, I found a way. It was a short day -  15k - and by the time we reached the 15 minutes away sign for the first little stop - St. Rhemy, I was cruising - Ouch!!!- almost.

When I reached the first open door I. The village of St Rhemy - I felt like I had made it. The people inside had accents like accordions and pretty tan skin. I ordered something and sat down. 

I stood up to check my phone for a minute, which turned into 20 minutes, which turned into being frozen like a marble statue while the empty table next to me filled up with three people. They worked their way around me to get to and from their lunch- a pile of cheese and meat that I was standing way too close to.

I thought about sitting down and ordering something else, or at least politely stepping to the side, but I just didn’t know which way I could move that wouldn’t make my back spasm. So I just stood there. Then for the second time in 40 days, started crying fat alligator tears.

I really believe in not crying in public, but maybe I truly found my people here. They didn’t judge me at all. The chef gave me a big hug and looked critically at my crooked posture from behind Prada glasses. In a moment, she decided to cancel the reservation I had just made with her for the hotel attached to the restaurant, put me in her station wagon, and chase down the bus to Aosta. 

We went back and forth through the mountains until we met the bus. She pulled her car right up to the front of it and explained to the bus driver in Italian what was going on, with instructions to drop me right off at a reasonably priced hotel next to the hospital so I could see a doctor if I wanted to. He gave me a ticket and did that.

On the bus I half fell asleep, half had a very nice conversation in french with an peppy white haired Italian woman in dark sunglasses. She was happily « tout seule » too. 

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I checked into The Hotel Mignon, which is kind of Mignon (cute!) with its vintage posters framed on vintage wallpaper and functional WiFi.

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I found my legs enough to walk to find something to eat nearby. 

As they say, I don’t know a lick of Italian, but I pieced something together to get a sandwich at the first place I saw, a small corner grocery store. 

I paused awkwardly when the woman behind the counter started speaking Italian to me.

“Americano” I said first, to establish I was confused. 

Then I remembered the name of a deli in midtown Manhattan whose catering menu once cluttered my desk- 

“Mmmm... Mangia?” 

I pt my fingers together like a sandwich and  pointed them towards my mouth with a little tap - Was this Italian sign language for “eat?” 

“Óra?”  - I knew the Italian word for “now” because I once looked it up for an Instagram caption. I tried to inflect my voice so it didn’t sound rude. I think she understood. 

With a little pointing a new sandwich order was born. Lots of good salami between a little slightly sweet bread roll.

I sat outside and ate it with a Coca Cola.

“Italoamericani” - I reviewed the new word I learned. 

 

b o u r g • s t • p i e r r e

“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve” - J.K. Rowling 

•••

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I am writing this from Bourg St. Pierre, just a short way to Italy. The welcome sign to the city was one affirmative greeting when I arrived. The shop sign in Italian advertising a special sale on Lindt chocolate was even more! I am just at the Swiss edge of Italy now.

Yesterday’s climb was very short. I am making the steep parts in very conservative efforts of 15-20km days. I feel some of the adjustments that comes with this drastically different terrain- the strong sun, the altitude, and the trail which requires a lot more careful footing and upward energy.

I left Orsières in a bit of a dream. I felt I could almost stay there forever, or at least to see the snow come! Maybe that’s why it took me a cappuccino, a chocolate bar and 2 wrong turns to make it out of the city limits. 

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I stopped at workshop to look at things being made out of the abundant wood in the area.

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I took my first wrong turn after the river, and used my compass to scramble back up on to the southeast trail through hiking a small mountain stream and a field with a promising 5 stair steps built into the top.

When I finally saw this sign I knew I was made.  

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So I continued on, with very few stops before reaching Bourg St. Pierre.

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Well, except the admire the beautiful little chalets and yards. 

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And stops to enjoy the sounds of whitewater on my feet on a bridge.

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I felt the erratic splashes of air and water as I reached out to touch the cold stream.

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I stopped for a closer look at the animal and plant life all around.

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I lost the trail markings just coming into Bourg St Pierre so I cut through a steep grassy pasture. It was barely walkable in the direction I needed to go, so I stopped again and took my favorite picture of the day. 

 

m a r t i g n y - o r s i è r e s

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world” - John Muir

    I am writing now from Orsières, which, I’m told is just thirty minutes to the Italian border by car and definitely a new world for me.  Yesterday saw 26km. It was the most challenging terrain so far, but the mountains gave me so much energy I didn’t want the trail to end. 

 

I am writing now from Orsières, which, I’m told is just thirty minutes to the Italian border by car and definitely a new world for me.

Yesterday saw 26km. It was the most challenging terrain so far, but the mountains gave me so much energy I didn’t want the trail to end. 

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I started at midday, anticipating a short distance. The sun was hot. It felt good to sweat sunscreen and huff and puff and carefully fit the rubber tracts of my shoes into roots and rocks.

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As I passed the towns on the winding trail, I realized the distance was longer than my short estimate, but I was enjoying every moment.

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I refilled my water bottle in public fountains that are aesthetic and practical. The water tasted so fresh. 

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I started listening to music. At first the songs that came on randomly, until I heard “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury. I listened to this for almost the whole climb, and when my battery ran low, I sang the simple words as I walked.

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I stopped in one town with the remote charm of a mountain village. A brother and sister made up a game in the narrow street I took to walk out of town. Their words echoed through the street, pure nonsense to my ears, but I imagined what it would be like to grow up in this part of the world.

 

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A fork came in the road, and I took the lower path to trace in peace the steps of Napoleon his army.

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I found a cool mountain stream soon into this road and imagined Napoleon’s horse stopping to drink. 

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I saw a very attentive black bull with white horns and stopped taking pictures when it pawed the ground without breaking eye contact. 

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Orsières came into sight from the road, but I continued to follow the winding trails.

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A gospel story was carved in wood over 10 panels spread along the last part of the trail instead of the usual red and white markers.  Each panel had a roof designed for snow like the houses here.

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At last, the trail emptied into the town. I carefully zig-zagged down the last steep road. The sun was almost setting, but the life of the village was apparent in the soccer game happening in the stadium of mountains.

 

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I crossed a bridge with vibrant flower boxes on either side. 

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I found the pilgrim accommodation at the parish behind the church, simply decorated with quotes from the saints on construction paper, designs by volunteers, and a photo of Mother Theresa at age 8.

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I decided to eat quickly before the cafe closed. I felt a little lonely eating by myself. I used my chair to twist and stretch. I felt a prick on my finger that stung like a splinter. I looked for a shard of fiberglass in my skin or rough edge of the chair in explanation, before realizing I had put my hand on a wasp!   

I explained with my hands to man tending the restaurant. Soon a conversation opened between everyone. Between German, Portueguese, Spanish and English and French, no one shared a wide vocabulary with each other. But we all saw the wasp buzzing around and understood.

It turned out everyone sitting there was a foreigner or traveler of sorts, wanting to communicate, however clumsily, and relate. So between google translate, zero regard for grammar, and attempt in five languages at a time, we made small talk for thirty minutes. It was awkward and wonderful.

I realized brushing my teeth this morning, I said about as much in that conversation as any small talk conversation about the weather or traffic I’ve had English/English. Maybe you say nothing so profound or poetic or important, but you give people the light of your attention for a moment, and it’s a really nice thing. 

a i g l e - m a r t i g n y

 “If I’m free, it’s because I’m always running” Jimi Hendrix

Yesterday saw 32km along the Rhone river from Aigle to Martigny.

The walk was 30km with the Alps in view at all times. 

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I found a resting place along the way on a  vine covered wall. 

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I finally caught a lizard after thousands of attempts on the trail. 

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I stopped for a snack in Bex and chatted with the owner there who completed the Via Francigena by bike last year from Aosta to Rome.

I saw a group of hikers pass while I sat there. I thought I would not catch up to them, but the owner of the cafe pointed out a shortcut and a friendly Bonjour revealed they were English speakers  and pilgrims too from England and New Zealand.

At lunch, we parted, but exchanged contact to maybe pass the mountains together. 

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I saw a baby sheep in the field. It looked nervously at me but waited for it’s mother’s signal to run. 

I saw airplanes doing acrobatics between the mountain peaks. 

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I met some dogs that lived near Martigny and walked with their owners approaching the city. 

I snacked on apricots from a tree by the trail. 

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I thought of the Great Saint Bernard Passage to come and how far it had been already, but mostly thought, I can’t believe that everywhere you look are these mountains and I am walking through the Alps right now.

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v i l l e n e u v e - a i g l e

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

 W.B. Yeats

 

yesterday saw a very rainy walk from villeneuve to aigle.

    After almost an entire summer without rain, it was a change to walk in heavy downpours, puddles, wet socks and leggings, but beautiful nonetheless. I thought of all the days I was dry inside, I’ve never been happier. 

 

After almost an entire summer without rain, it was a change to walk in heavy downpours, puddles, wet socks and leggings, but beautiful nonetheless. I thought of all the days I was dry inside, I’ve never been happier. 

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I walked past wet garbage at a recycling center.  

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And drops of rain hanging from Queen Ann’a lace.  

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I found a snail.

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And an Art Deco church among the vineyards. 

 

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I stopped in Aigle to watch France defeat Uruguay.

It was a good day. 

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v e v e y - v i l l e n e u v e

 "Be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play” - Alan Watts

 

Yesterday saw a short walk full of good things from mount pèlerin to villeneuve.

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There was rain for the flowers.

    A boat passed 3,4, 5 times on the walk by the lake, called Italie with flags for France and Switzerland on either side.

 

A boat passed 3,4, 5 times on the walk by the lake, called Italie with flags for France and Switzerland on either side.

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Coming around the corner on Le Quai de Fluers, Jazz sounds floated over the water. The Montreaux Jazz festival was in full swing!

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It happened to pass right over no. 70 Suisse - the via Francigena route! I met another pilgrim. 

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We listened to Kora music from Senegal.  

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And then I heard an American girl playing on guitar  one of my favorite songs to sing walking - “Riptide” by Vance Joy. 

My favorite part to belt out walking through cornfields and trees for hours alone has been “All my friends are turning green”. 

 

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The water along the lake was so beautiful after the rain, I jumped in to swim again before reaching the end of the lake at Villeneuve. 

From my friend I learned the English words for the sign with the duck cartoon along the lake - “I would like to swim in happiness”. 

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