Morning Update Day56
After a late start to the day we really struggled to get moving today. Perhaps it was the hard day yesterday, but we were dragging.
The day started by waking into Châtillon. We’d actually spent the night just outside of the village so we had to enter the village before continuing on. The entry was spectacular. There was a deep gorge and a scenic, flower regaled bridge overlooking a much more ancient Roman structure.
After we left Châtillon we started with a steep climb. The rains from the night before had “enhanced” the flow of the already turbulent streams that came off the nearby Alps.
Honestly, the whole day was one of steep inclines and declines as the VF clung to the cliff sides as high and as long as possible before plunging down into a small village. After the village, up back up you’d go.
The VF in this area rides along the south facing side of the Valle d’Aosta. The climate on this side is Mediterranean and allows for fig, kiwi, grape, apple and peach trees. We even saw a pomegranate tree today. That was a first.
Of course it’s been this way for millennia. The romans used these same paths for commercial trade with northern provinces and regions. Goods from Italy like olive oil, fish, and spices were traded for minerals, wood, and game.
Portions of the trail where we walked were documented Roman roads. You could even see clear evidence of wagon tracks carved into the rocks by centuries of trade.
The northern facing side of the gorge is completely different. It gets significantly larger amounts of snow and remains colder. It is heavily forested and void of major agriculture.
To protect these trade routes the Romans and their predecessors built fortresses on strategic peaks. Later castles replaced the forts. I counted no fewer than 6 castles today as we made our way down the valley. Some were ruins, some remain occupied.
At the end of our day we drastically descended into the city. The grade of the slope was incredible. We had to be very intentional with our foot placement.
This is one time I was thankful for my natural duck walk. Mark and I filmed a fun sequence here…
Once we entered the city we ran into 2 of our fellow pilgrim friends Carlo and Suzanne. They had stopped for an afternoon beer. We obviously were walking a bit slower today than usual.
Suzanne happened to be staying at the same place we were, so we walked to our lodging together. After doing our usual shower and laundry routine, we had a funny moment.
We could not remember where we made a reservation for the following night. So …we started over and this time wrote down the name and address of our reservation. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks, ha ha.
Tomorrow is an Easy day. Ahhhh.
P.S. Despite the moderate weather in France and Switzerland, I have a fully developed Pilgrim tan.
P.P.S. The Last Few Days Compilation