2018

Day 58 – The Platters and a Band of Gold in the Vallee d’Aosta

I was pleasantly surprised to find the three of us present and correct at 6.30 this morning. We had a fantastic meal last night and a 9am alarm would have been more tempting. We set off into the heart of Aosta and stopped at the first cafe for a quick coffee and croissant. Paul thinks breakfast is for tourists and that we should walk for at least 3 hours before even contemplating a stop. It’s convenient that Coco is here with the casting vote because no French citizen would skip Le petit dejeuner.

On the edge of town there’s an elegant Roman bridge over nothing. It was built over the Dora Baltea river but some time later the river flooded. When the flood waters receded the river had relocated itself elsewhere, leaving the bridge looking pretty stupid. After that we were on our way along the lovely Aosta valley. It’s a little piece of paradise. Steep sides, snow capped mountains, vineyards, agriculture, beautiful houses and charming villages. We even walked past a garden someone had cut into the valley. There was a 12th century castle and a Carmelite convent too.

We diverted into the village of Nus for the official breakfast. It’s incredible that after all these weeks of suffering, I can now say “cappuccino” and get the real thing properly prepared. But you have to order 6 cappuccinos in Italy to get the normal Costa Coffee measure.

Our lunch was only liquid; we found a seedy bar in Chambave but we were grateful for it. By the time we reached Chatillon at 4pm i was hungry. We found a charming bar and soon I was soothing the irritable side to my nature with a crepe containing Nutella hazelnut spread accompanied by a pot of green tea. Over the years I’ve bought many pots of this spread without having eaten any. It’s ok in a crepe.

We selected the cheapest hotel in town called Le Verger. There was a Wendy house in the garden and I reflected on all the times I’ve slept rough and would have happily bedded down in it. But for 30 Euro each Paul and I have a delightful room with a great view down La Vallee, including breakfast. The hotel is run by a delightful elderly couple. In its heyday, The Platters stayed here (presumably after their heyday). I noticed the faded poster in a corner of the reception signed by each of them with compliments to the hotel.

It’s so strange how interconnected these things seem to be. While in the bar at lunchtime I was listening to some anonymous song and wondered if there is a song in these streaming days that could sum up the times like they did before MTV. All day long as I walked today there was just one song in my head: Freda Payne’s Band of Gold. That song was the summer of 1970. She tried a lot of things but that day in the studio defined her and defined that summer. But did you know the Knights of Malta made her a Dame of Malta in 1974? It was the Knights of Malta who built the Chapel of the Command Post St Christie hospital back in the 12th century. It was the best day of my walk on the Via Podiensis last year (Day 34) when I discovered that church deep in a forest as the sun rose. Everything is interconnected.

The Roman Bridge which lost its river

Today’s castle

That way to Rome

Another irrigation channel

This shop closed awhile ago

Lunchtime bar in Chambave

Hotel Le Verger in Chatillon

About Tim

Pilgrim on the Via Francigena

12 comments on “Day 58 – The Platters and a Band of Gold in the Vallee d’Aosta

  1. Still in long trousers, I’m impressed! And who on earth are The Platters?

    • The long trousers are really to cover up against the sun. Same as the long sleeves. As for the Platters just say “Alexa play The Platters”

  2. Roger Clarkson

    No Italian cats yet? Do you have a different song in your head each day? Perhaps ‘these boots are made for walking’ tomorrow, lol.

    • Italian cats coming tonight. Yes I do and sometimes it’s the same song for days. I like the idea of these boots are made for walking but how does it go??

  3. Celia and David

    Hi ya Tim Dave here could you do me a favour and take a short stroll to Modena and check on the progress of my new Ferrari in Rosso red and make sure they Know what their doing as vettal crashed one of their race cars in Germany and they might have the hump ! Must say we are enjoying your historical photos from Italy best wishes Celia and Dave sitting in our Gazebo with a nice bottle of Presseco 🇬🇧🍷🤔

    • Hi Dave sounds like you’re enjoying the summer. I’m happy to check on that car. Will take it down to Rome then deliver it personally, thrashed over the Alps like every Ferrari needs to be. But please, not Rosso red …

  4. Rachel Birks

    You are so right Tim re using trousers/clothing to cover up against the sun; I discovered the wisdom in that living in Zimbabwe. Keep well.

    • Hi Rachel, yes Italy is very sunny. Its factor 50 then clothes and then my solar umbrella when the sun is beating down and there’s no shade

  5. Hi Tim, I am a friend of Paul’s so am following your blog too and enjoying it very much. I love that song Band of Gold and I just had Alexa play it, as well as something by the Platters 🙂

    • Hi Lynn, absolute classic. You should be here if you like cheese 🧀 Tim

      • Yes Tim, I have been to France and Switzerland many times and embarked on many cheese adventures including a cheese trail 🙂 and I have not heard a peep from you or Paul about any cheese at all 😦 your pizza came pretty close though. I’m not familiar with too many Italian cheese outside the normal ones. Enjoy!

      • Sorry about that; I only briefly mentioned our cheese fondue on the night before the top of the GSB. I’ll look out for some Italian cheese and hopefully Paul will describe the fondue when the time comes in his blog. Stay tuned!

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