Morning Update Day52
<Mark> We started our morning with breakfast at the closet cafe to our lodging. They were very kind to let us in at 7 even though they normally don’t open until 8. Usual fare with the bonus of unlimited coffee or tea.
Today was the hardest day on paper even if it was the shortest. In 8miles we were to climb just over 3000 feet. That’s one constantly steep path to haul folks.
The day was spectacular with blue skies and scattered puffy clouds. The path was dry and well marked. Life was good.
Because of the steepness and short distance there was no need to speed along and honestly who’d want to? I just wanted to soak up this day and stay in it for as long as possible.
<Allison> We are in the Swiss Alps. The majestic sights did not disappoint. I am so glad that there are lots of photos and video from today because words cannot do justice to the scenery here.
The area is also filled with wildflowers and wild fruits.
We did hear and see several marmots. They remind me of prairie dogs in the western United States. Mark was able to get quite close.
At some point we used my water filter to gather some fresh alpine ice-melt. It was so cold and refreshing.
Oh, let us not forget the Swiss cows which do graze above the tree line. Some wear a huge collar with a cow bell. It is musical. Seeing the cows at such a high altitude made me think along other lines as well. Enjoy the video which will explain the previous comment.
<Mark>. I’d hoped that we’d get to walk past some remnant snow and just before we reached the summit, my wish was fulfilled. The winter images of this hospice, which is open year round, are spectacular. The snow is tens of feet deep. This small piece of snow was my way to touch those images.
<Allison> Mark and I made it to the top walking hand in hand. We’ve walked from London down to sea level at Calais and up to the top of the Grand Saint Bernard Pass. I think it is ok to be proud of moments like this. This is such a beautiful place and very welcoming.
After our shower and laundry duty was complete we stopped at the nearby cafe for some warm soup and a beer. You’ll note that we didn’t mention lunch in the description above. That’s because it was short and sparse (a bit of bread and a small piece of cheese and ham). We needed a bit to eat to hold out for the evenings events.
The hospice at Grand St Bernard has been in operation for over 1000 years (wow!). The hospice was founded by Bernard himself. It was founded as a way to meet the needs of pilgrims and others in need in very practical way.
The famous Saint Bernard dogs are kept here and we’re used in times past as guide and rescue dogs. There is even a dog museum on-site.
We ended our evening by attending Vespers, a pilgrim dinner (albeit with Covid separation) and then a quiet service called Compli. This last one was sung by candlelight. It was quite nice, but as a non-Catholic and non-French speaker it was impossible to get much from it.
Just before going to bed I snuck outside to take a few nighttime shots.