Morning Update Day54
Well what a cool way to start a day. We had a short day to Aosta today so we could sleep late and have a late (8am) breakfast at the B&B. After packing we headed down to the cellar/stalls for breakfast. This was a cool spot. Allison called it a man cave. It had a pool table, pizza oven fireplace, and bar for serving breakfast and espresso. Scattered around the room were trophies, two accordions, some odd bear and what looked like a badger masks, and other oddities.
The breakfast was the usual but with homemade jams, and a cream filled croissant – yum. But the fun was just beginning. Our host, Eric, turned on some Italian cafe music as he served up the food. Once done, and at our request he picked up one of the accordions and played a few traditional tunes.
Later Eric explained he’d won a recent Fiolet competition. What??? You don’t know what Fiolet is? Neither did we. You’ll have to look it up, but it’s a game that requires precision and strength.
Next he described a local fete where the masks were used. The town parade includes animal characters as well as mock-Napoleon costumes (to poke fun at Napoleon who invaded in the early 19th century.).
Lastly he described an ultra marathon type event in which he’d competed. This crazy race, the “Tor les Geants” is reknown. You can check it out below.
Well, let’s say we were thoroughly entertained and really enjoyed our breakfast. Before leaving Eric treated us to one last experience as we got to meet his golden retriever “Luna”. We love goldens.
The walk today was so nice and easy. The steep downhill was replaced by a gentle downhill on a wooded path that was soft underfoot. This path follows ancient, but still used irrigation channel that keeps the swiftly flowing alpine water at a high altitude for over 13km for use by farmers for irrigation. These are called rus. The walking path was wonderful.
The wooded path took us past a shrine in a grotto that had an interesting Madonna and adolescent Christ.
The Valle d’Aosta in which we were walking (and would continue to walk for a couple more days was destroyed by a plague in which 2/3 of the population was killed. Many traditions of faith and superstition have been instituted as a result of this tragedy. Several processions were instituted by law including one in the town of Gignod (gee-gno). Here the men of the town would face a steep fine if they didn’t participate in a procession once a year.
The last part of our short day took us to the valley floor through a region rich with orchards of walnut, apple, pear, plum, grape, and even kiwi.
We arrived in Aosta to find our B&B and enjoyed walking through the pedestrian zones.
After doing some shopping (shoes for me…it was time, hiking pole stoppers, groceries) we walked through the Roman/medieval town and looked for some pasta. Oddly enough, Italy has a pretty good selection of places where pasta is featured.
Returning from dinner where Allison has a mushroom pasta and I had a venison pasta dish (both good), we finally met our host Gabreiella. We had left some clothes to dry outside and she’d kindly taken them and dried them in her machine. So kind.
Just before Bed we got some sad news. Our fellow pilgrim Mona has decided to train ahead a bit. We knew this was a possibility but kind of expected to be together a few more days. We didn’t get to say our proper farewells, but perhaps we will yet meet again.
Mona, we will miss you. Buen Caminno Peligrino.
P.S. a no us to whomever can tell me what these are. I have no idea.