Saturday, 30 June 2012

What goes up...

This comes to you from Aosta, in Italy where i arrived this afternoon in my usual perfumed state having made the 6,000 foot descent from the Grand Saint Bernard Pass - a bit like a spinning top really at that rate; i ran a lot of it. Easier on the shins. The day started, as yesterday ended, thru deep snow and in thick fog; it finished in excessive heat and high humidity.

The climb up to the Grand Saint Bernard was demanding but not technically difficult; the approach just seemed never ending - things can take on that perspective when you carry the world on your back.

Life on the top was busy; I stayed in a dormitory in the Monastery and amongst many other delights (which I am afraid you will have to wait til October 2013 to discover) I can assure you the Saint Bernard dogs are in fine fettle - they are enormous and bark a lot.

798 miles to date and tomorrow I continue down the valley to Chatillon. My sights now firmly on Vercelli in the Italian rice plains - that will be next Sunday. Six weeks last Thursday and I will be in Rome (9th August); it is wonderful to be here - the Italians love the Via Francigena and are so full of spirit and life, it feels like I landed feet first in the middle of an enormous cocktail party!

Photos: HCB on the pass (note my dainty white ankles!); approach to the Grand Saint Bernard; fog this morning going down, the road going down this morning (I go cross country, one of the joys of being on foot); the monastery from the Italian side of the lake; the dogs and the wedding I inadvertently gate crashed in Aosta Cathedral - er, no, I didn't catch the bouquet!

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