Tag Archives: Backpackers

Day 1 of the Via Francigena

In keeping with our style the Fab Five (new name thanks Cathy & Kevin) decided to head out a day early.

We all met up yesterday at the Hospice du Grand Saint Bernard in the Swiss Alps.

Cheapmeister, Bill and I came from Martigny, Switzerland by train and bus. Darrell and Roxanne came from Aosta, Italy by taxi.The bus ride was nail biting and thrilling at the same time.

It was foggy, windy, cold and blustery at the top.We layered up and walked to Italy (200 meters) for cocktails and hot chocolate. Our dorm room slept 16 (8 sets of bunk beds) and had equal amount of cubbie storage space. Spotless. Lucky for us nobody snored.Our dorm We woke to stirring of our bedmates followed by soothing music that was played throughout the Hospice. Lovely.

Coffee and bread for breakfast. Certainly not the breakfast of champions. However, we came prepared so no worries.Miraculously it was a clear and glorious day! We layered up for the cold and within 500 meters stripped down. What a contrast from the day before.We walked approximately 11 miles mostly downhill – a 3660 foot drop. It was stunning beyond description.Our bodies were shouting at us by mile seven. Knees, hips, back… all asking us what the hell we were doing to ourselves.

We shouted back and kept walking.

Now showered up, clothes on the clothesline. Staying at a 1000 year old monastery/hospice. Roxanne and I are writing and the boys are at the bar.

In the other part of our building is a group of walkers who are here for spiritual reasons and are practicing a vow of silence.


“After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.” – G.M. Trevelyan

Now here’s Rockenstein…

Our reunion with Bill, Paige, and Chappy at Grand Bernard Pass, Switzerland was as fresh and invigorating as the rolling fog and crisp wind.

We were all warmed up by tea elegantly poured by the Monk named Frederic.We spent the night where 40,000 of Napoleone’s soldiers once hung out and for 300 years the Saint Bernard dogs sniffed through fog, ice and snow finding those of us who got lost. The Fab Five are keenly aware of this precious moment in time to show up able bodied and willing to walk 620 miles to Rome, Italy.

Why? For the pure joy of being able to walk the Via Francigena.

Internet is really slow so no videos today.