Day 37: Saint Maurice

Number of kilometres today: 14.1

Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 984

Total steps since Canterbury:  1,394,384

Today was my second shortest walking day since I started my pilgrimage.  Despite my rest day and a couple of shorter walking days, I am feeling really tired and anything more than a few hours of walking results in feet and knees that throb constantly at night despite the stretching and massage.  Lucky I have a supply of voltaren tablets.  Yesterday hurt and as soon as I arrived in Aigle, I lay down to rest.    So it was only this morning when I left my B&B that I discovered how beautiful Aigle is.  I spent some time wandering her cobble stone streets amidst the vines, taking photos. This is part of my religion, how I worship the divine in our world, how I give and receive blessings.  

The last month has shown me how capable I am of walking long distances despite pain and discomfort but my strategy to cross the Alps is to slow it down.  This feels kinder to my body and allows me to savour this part of the journey which I am really excited about. As much as I am looking forward to being in Italy again, Grand Saint Bernard feels like the climax of this journey.  It is the halfway point of my pilgrimage, the place where I start the descent and return, for all pilgrimages are circular and involve a return home.  But it is also the highest point on my journey (in terms of altitude).  I will be on top of the world surrounded by beauty.

I will walk 16 kilometres to Martigny tomorrow and 20 kilometres to Orsierres on Wednesday.  My intention is to walk the 13 kilometres to Bourg-Saint-Pierre on Thursday and then climb the remaining 13 kilometres to Grand Saint Bernard Pass on Friday.  However, I need to be mindful of the weather as snow is forecast and it may require that I push hard and walk all the way to Grand Saint Bernard on Thursday if the weather looks better. I have made it just in time as the path to Grand Saint Bernard closes from 15th October because of the snow. 

Adventure.  Uncertainty.  The unknown path ahead. Savouring the lead-up to the peak.  I am so very excited to be exactly where I am and exactly where I am going.

The view outside my bedroom window this morning in Agile....everyone really does have a vineyard in their backyard

In France and Switzerland, people have their pumpkins sitting to ripen (usually on their windowsill)

I love a gate...

The road leading up to Chateau de Aigle

The castle

View from the castle

Another door 

I loved the exquisite shape of this bare tree

Red vines to green vines...

Cobble stones

Cobble stones and cloudy mountains

Vines and old houses and mountains and clouds (still in Aigle)

Saint Maurice from the square in front of Hotel de Ville

More narrow cobble stone streets

Peter's pub

More gates