Thursday, 6 August 2015

Martigny to Ossiers

Tuesday 28 July 2015 - 22 kilometres

Today was a short walk in distance but the profile was very hilly, so it was expected that it would take most of the day. As we left our flat we bumped into our fellow Pilgrims but again went on our separate ways. We stocked up on some fresh fancy breads for lunch and a cheese tart each as second breakfasts which were consumed immediately. From the start we went the wrong way out of Martigny and added and extra three kilometres onto the days walk. We also realised that Martigny is famous for its almost complete Roman Amphitheatre, sadly we missed it. We eventually found the actually path we should be following and were given the option of three separate routes. Option one, a more direct route but a stiff 800 metre climb. Option two, a narrow track on a precipitous hillside considered dangerous by some walkers. Option three, a short section on a major road or as Bert hankered for .....a bus! Needless to say we opted for number three and the walk alongside the main road, which despite the traffic we both survived.

At the first village we came across it was coffee break time and despite how early it was in the morning some of the locals were already drinking beer or wine. Bert sat down and I went in to the order the coffees. These dually arrived and the proprietor asked us if we were walking the Francigena, both replying yes Bert to Aosta and me hopefully or Rome. At the mention of this she commented how pleased she was for us and the coffees were on the house..... One of the first kindnesses we had been shown as Pilgrims. We naturally had to responded by buying second coffees before we set off again. There was no sign of our Pilgrims friends as they were taking a different route.

Our path soon took us up into the mountain side and along very narrow and steep paths above the road and the river below. Despite the tranquility and beauty of the walk, it was one to be taken cautiously as one missed step could have resulted in a very nasty fall. The path was indistinguishable in places and only marked from boulder to boulder as we picked our way along. After a while traipsing along the hillside we descended close to the road before crossing a dry gorge bed and then once more climbing up to and scrambling across the mountain hillside. 

From Sembrancher the route took us along Sigerics original footpath to Rome via the village of Ossieres and our booked bed and breakfast that had been recommended to us. On reaching the village naturally we had to go to the first bar to replenish our fluid levels. Once accomplished we made our way to the b&b and sat in the garden until the owner arrived. Our room for the night was too very apart single beds......and a balcony to hang our washing out on. Once more we were treated to views of the Alps and the formidable task that awaited us the next day...the constant climb up to St Bernard's pass. Something we were looking forward to with nervous trepidation, but that was a for tomorrow.

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