Saturday 14 September 2013

Day 5 - From Echevennoz to Aosta 13.5 km

Saturday 14th September 
downhill for 15.5 km

Upon waking up,and getting out of bed this morning I can certainly feel my calf muscles protesting at all the downhill walking yesterday! 
I love starting the day with Italian coffee! the breakfast at the trattoria consists of bread, butter and jam... and a small jug of espresso and a small jug of hot milk so you can pour your own preferred mix! - i got a refill! 
Ciao to Trattoria Marietty in Echevennoz.
We continued along the Via Francigena, still following the path number 103
What a day! 
I had, what I thought might be an unrealistic ideal of what walking in Italy could be like - turns out my ideal walking day came true today!
I definitely need to improve my vocabulary when it comes to descriptive words- wonderful, gorgeous, spectacular ... just aren't good enough to fully communicate the beauty of our walk.
started off from Echevennoz walking on a gradual downward slope following the irrigation canals 

through dappled shade, along forests and meadows. The sounds of the forest, cow bells in the distance and happy burbling water alongside us, and the scenery just made me completely happy and smiling inside and out.

We came across a beautiful, peaceful sanctuary halfway along the path to Gignod - La Grotte du Je Te Salue - a stone Madonna nestled in a little mossy alcove with water dripping into a stone bowl.

surrounded by snow capped mountains

the forests cleared and the second part of our walk to Gignod was along meadows - terraced and with spectacular views to the snowy peaks surrounding the Aosta Valley. Sounds ridiculous, but The air smelt wonderfully Italian... I could smell sunshine, fresh cut grass hay, forest and the faint smell of woodsmoke.Apple trees below, so laden with fruit forked sticks are used to hold up the branches.

Came across quite a few old stone homes like this - looking like a "renovators delight" 

The Gignod Church is very impressive

some lovely Frescos inside.

Walking along the way after Gignod, we stopped for a picnic, Pane, ham, cheese, tomatoe, grapes and peaches... near some apple orchards and meadows. This valley is warmer and has a drier warmth than Switzerland, the scenery is different too. 
We walk past so many crops and orchards, apples, pears, figs, grapes, berries, plums, kiwi fruit, wonderful Ortos (I'm inspired - my vege garden is getting a makeover when we get home!)
We walk through the outskirts of Aosta, circling through terraced productive farmlets, and old villages on the outskirts and only walk about 5 minutes through the city until we reach the old "centro historico" fascinating - we explore an old church, St Martin de Corleans 

then make our way towards the Piazza, stopping off at the Cathedral on the way. photo below is the inside of the cathedral doors.

We spend some time in a "Tim" phone shop sorting out our new Italian SIM cards.

Passiagata central Aosta 

When we find the accommodation we were thinking of, it's fully booked already- being a Saturday night I guess we should have booked- but, as we walked down the street, saw a sign for a Pizzaria and Albergo - La Belle Epoque checked it out and we've got a room for the night with bathroom for 60 euros, right in the middle old the historic centre! So needed a shower! Think the poor people in the phone shop were nearly overpowered by our sweatiness.We find a shop that sells knives etc so Patrick can buy a better knife with corkscrew, they love Australians, had a good chat, they also recommended we eat where we're staying, said its good family cooked food.
Dinner at La Belle Epoque was great! bruschetta for antipasti, a local red vino, pasta for prima, my tortellini was delicious, then Patrick had cingale (deer) ragu with polenta, followed by tiramisu!

Aosta accommodation-
 La Belle Epoque, just off via aubert in the historic centre. 60 euro double room
Via d'Avise 18- 11100: PH 0165262276. 
simple room with shower, friendly family run hotel with lovely food.

big 28 km walk to Chatillon tomorrow ! being Sunday, we're not sure what will be open, so we've stocked up on some picnic supplies.

possible accommodations

Address: Corso Saint Martin de Corléans, 201 - Aosta
Phone: 0165 553373/0165 555379 / cell. 329 0845757
donation, religious house 

Nabuisson B&B -  65euro for a double 2 people

AOSTA (AO) far 544 Mt from Aosta Train Station
via aubert 50
11100 AOSTA AO
Tel. +39 0165 363006 Cell: +39 339 6090332 
B&B Al  Nabuisson


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