01 August 21

When we left the hotel in Lausanne, a young man, seeing the shell attached to my rucksack, a typical symbol of the Camino of Santiago, approached us. He asked us if we were walking to Santiago de Compostela, and after a nice chat explaining the project, he invited us to spend the night at his place once we reached the town of Martigny a few days later. We exchanged telephone numbers, and we carried on for our walk. (This part was a little rewind to a few days earlier).

After leaving the camping by the lake, we walked for several hours. We passed the nice town of Montreux, and not long after, we left the lake behind. Slowly we got surrounded by mountains leading us toward Martigny. We spend a night at another campsite in Aigle, and the following day we walked 30 k to reach the house of our new friend Leon.

Freddie Mercury statue in Montreux
Chateau de Chillon
Interesting tree along the way
One of the last view of the lake

Leon treated us with great regards, not only offered us a place where to sleep, but he cooked a delicious meal. I still find incredible the kindness, trust and support showed towards other fellow walkers.

Delicious entry of the superb Leon’s cuisine
Me, Carlos, Leon, Massimo and Alessio
View From Leon’s apartment

In the morning, Leon prepared a lovely coffee served with an even more delicious cake. Leon walked with us all the way to the town centre, where we said goodbye. He carried on to the train station in time for work, and we started the most challenging day of all our journey.

View of Martigny behind

From Martigny, we started the Alps climbing in the direction of the Great Saint Bernard Pass. We were supposed to walk 30 k with 1600 meters ascent, all the way to Bourg Saint Pierre. Unfortunately, we missed calculating the walk length, and we ended up doing 6 extra k. It took us around 12 hours to reach our destination. We pushed our bodies to the limits with both the heavy rucksack and the hiking trolley. We followed the main road because the official via Francigena would have been even worst. The road was busy with cars, campers-vans and trucks; we were always flashing something in order to show our presence on the edge of the road: a constant noise and a very high level of stress. Lucky most drivers were nice waiving or encouragingly by honking the horn (probably they were thinking why those 2 crazy guys are walking this steep road).

Once in Bourg Saint Pierre, Carlos, with the last bit of energy left, made a delicious avocado, tuna and tomatoes salad, and in no time, we ate it, and we went to bed.

The following day was our last day of climbing. We had the last 12 k to walk with 1000 extra metres ascent, and finally, we could have claimed the top of the Great Saint Bernard, 2473 meters above sea level. Unfortunately, the walk wasn’t any easier. We saw some patches of leftover snow, mostly on the shading north-facing areas. The air was fresh and cooler, and although, the sky has been blue for most of the time, from no where a rainy cloud appeared, accompanying us for the last few kilometres. Luckily we reached the top quite early. We got there by 2 pm, and we had a bit of time to relax.

We spent the rest of the day and the night in the Great Saint Bernard Hospice dormitory, a monastery that claims to give hospitality to travellers for over 1000 years.