Great St Bernard Pass

Just reaching a Camino starting point is often a feat in itself. Today culminated in two days of planes, midnight layovers, buses and a privately organised lift with local village resident Sergio after missing the last bus to a snow-flecked Great St Bernard Pass.  We could have kissed Sergio who the local shop owner called to our rescue. For a fee he drove us the last 10km up a winding pass which we thought we may have to walk!

We are exhausted but thrilled to be wrapped in fresh alpine air and high peaks which smack of adventure. We are staying in the hospice (founded in 1049) and famous for its use of St Bernard dogs in rescue operations. It has traces of a Roman road and in 1800 Napoleon’s army used the pass to enter Italy.

It’s been a perfect place to start with international pilgrims and hikers milling in abundance and all joining in the traditional three-course meal at lively communal tables tonight. Tomorrow Sylvie and I are back-tracking to Bourg St Pierre to start walking and will catch up with my parents who will start from GSP so we can all end the day in Echevennoz.

What an amazing reunion for Sylvie and I today after our big walk through Spain last year! My parents felt like they already knew her after being subjected to all my Camino tales this past year, so we’re all set for big fun.

Tomorrow the two of us are hitting the road early, and hitchhiking to our starting point. Cheeky Pellegrini. Wish us luck.

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