2-6 August 21

The day after the Great S. Bernard night spent at the hospice, we crossed into Italy. The border was just few hundred meter down the road.

Finally in Italy

After the long and tough ascent of the Grand S. Bernard of the day before, an even tougher day was waiting behind the corner; descending over 2000 meters within 35 kilometres. The downhill is much easier with the hiking trolley but is a ‘killer’ for the knees.

Although difficult, the landscape was breathtaking. Perfect blue sky creating an imposing contrast with the immense green hills. We spotted a family of marmots paying little attention to us. We walked downhill to a little cafe where we had our first proper Italian coffee! Delicious! 

Ahhhh the good coffee

We walked along the ‘Ru’, traditional irrigation channels, with crystal clear and very cold water, which refreshed our journey.


We marched for a total of 35 kilometres where the Italian city of Aosta was waiting for us!

We arrived in Aosta just in time to wave goodbye to Alessio, who took the train in the direction of another pilgrim route to Rome. After, we reached Massimo to the hotel, and we went to have a great treat; a Neapolitan style pizza!

Neapolitan style pizza

The past few days have been exhausting, and although Carlos wanted to stop for an extra night, we decided to walk further.

The following day was very hot, and we pushed for another 30 k. Unfortunately, we paid the consequences. First Carlos and me after got ill. High temperature, vomiting, and dysentery were the body way to let us know we needed to stop. 

We stayed two days in a hotel where we said goodbye to Massimo as well. Then we tried to carry on, but we were too weak, we took a train in order not to follow behind, and we stayed the other two days in a different place. Things seem not to get any better. We hardly ate. We had warm broth with a bit of bread until day four when the body started to recover.

We were still weak, and we couldn’t afford to walk or to keep staying in the same place. So once again we took the train to the place we were supposed to be if we walked those days. 

We arrived in Vercelli; we stopped at a local trattoria in order to have, finally, some proper food. We sat at the table, and after a short chat with the owner Anna, we ordered a salad with some chicken. 

We asked Anna for the bill, and to our great surprise, she refused to charge us. Carlos and I were almost in tears. We couldn’t believe what was happening, and we kept asking to pay. Finally, Anna looked at us and said: ‘God knows what I am doing, it is ok like this’.

Lady Anna

With our greatest appreciation, we took a photo with this extraordinary lady, and we left. The day after, we met with Massimo for breakfast and once again, we started to walk together.

Outside Vercelli, we stopped by Carla’s house, a girl that gathers pilgrims stories. Another walker, Federico, joined us, and all together, we convinced Carla to walk with us for a while. We told her our stories, and she told us hers.

Me, Carlos, Federico, Massimo and Carla

Short after Carla left, and the four of us stopped for some food and then, once again, we said goodbye to Massimo, who was walking too far for us and our recovering bodies.