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.
This shop closed awhile ago