Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Counting Rhyme for Small Pilgrims

I spend a lot of time with my two-year-old nephew. Between library books and his own collection, we’ve read a ridiculously huge number of counting books.

So just for fun, I decided to go through my photos to see if I’d be able to write and illustrate my own counting rhyme. Here’s the result. (In a few pictures, you have to really look to get the right number.)

* * *

[Chemin de Saint-Jacques]
One road that meanders toward Compostela.

[Yellow arrows]
Two arrows pointing, their colour is yellow.

[In the abbey at Conques]
Three steps well worn by tired pilgrim feet.

Four beds and four pilgrims who’re ready to sleep.

[Backpacks in Carrión de los Condes]
Five backpacks waiting outside of a store.

Pilgrim Sculpture in Burguete
Six pilgrims walking; they say they don’t snore.

[Shells over Washroom, Albergue Ave Fénix]
Seven large shells, adorning a wall.

[Climbing the Alto del Perdón]
Eight tired pilgrims, trying not to fall.

[Candles in a church in Saint-Alban-sur-Limognole]
Nine candles burning in a church—and then:

[Boots in the Grañon refugio]
Ten boot pairs waiting to walk out again.

Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 12:14 pm
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This Week in Pilgrimage: The Way (Movie) is Coming to Theatres

[O Cebreiro]

Photo of the Week
The gorgeous view from O Cebreiro when I was there in November 2008.
Submit your photo for Photo of the Week.

This week … it’s been cold out, and I haven’t been walking much. You’d never guess I grew up in Winnipeg, which is renowned in Canada for its -40 degree weather.

The usual disclaimer: I’ve done the best I can to ensure accuracy, but a lot of this information comes from Spanish sites and my Spanish is a long way from perfect.

  • The Way, that Martin Sheen/Emilio Estevez movie that’s set on the Camino Francés, will be out in cinemas in the UK, Ireland and Malta on April 15, and in the USA on September 30. (via Little Green Tracs)
  • A new albergue has just opened on the Camino de Madrid in the Peña Sacra hermitage in Manzanares El Real. The hermitage is two kilometres from the city centre.
  • A national ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) committee has expressed serious concern about the way Oviedo is failing to protect its heritage buildings. It seems that if the situation doesn’t improve, the Camino del Norte might fail to get UNESCO status as a World Heritage Site.
  • The restoration of the monastery at San Juan de Ortega will begin this summer. The monastery will be turned into a cultural centre and the pilgrims’ albergue will be improved. The work should be finished by 2013.
  • The sanctuary of the Virgin de la Barca in Muxía, has been deteriorating, at least partly because of sea water. However, it’s soon going to be restored at a cost of close to half a million euros. Another church in Muxía, the Moraime Church, also needs urgent restoration work, not for the building itself, but for its murals.
  • The City of Burgos plans to build a rest area for pilgrims. The project will include cleaning and providing lights for a pilgrim tunnel that passes under a railway line, a fountain with a place to wash feet, synthetic rubber pavement that will be nice for pilgrim feet, a bench, a table, a canopy for shade, and a bicycle parking area.
  • The new iPilgrim Podcast has two episodes out already. So far, it’s provided a lot of great basic Camino information, and its founders plan to cover a lot more ground.
  • An exhibition in Talavera, Spain, aims to bring the medieval Camino de Santiago to life.
  • The Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago en Ávila is running a writing contest. Participants write (fictional) letters on Camino-related subjects—in Spanish, of course.

Pilgrim Roads

Coming up: Wayne Emde on the 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan.

March is almost here, and I’m off to Spain in early April. I haven’t figured this out yet, but I might be scaling this blog back over the next month, as I have a bunch of things to do pre-Vía de la Plata.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll leave you with a discussion on The Way (the movie).

Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 11:00 am
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Camino Memories

[100 kilometres to Santiago!]

I'll never forget how weird it was to realize I was actually going to arrive in Santiago.

“I’ll never forget….”

Since I’ve started writing about the Camino, I’ve been constantly editing out those words, both in my head before they reach the keyboard, and when I read over what I’ve written.

There are just too many unforgettable moments. If I didn’t watch myself, my posts would be full of that one little phrase.

But here, just this once, I’ll let it stand, again and again and again.

  • I’ll never forget the little old man who wished me bon courage a few hours out of Le Puy, when Santiago seemed so impossibly far away.
  • I’ll never forget walking past cows with Agnes.
  • I’ll never forget cooking curry on a barbecue outside a yurt near Lauzerte.
  • I’ll never forget that day in Cahors with Sascha and Jeannine, which involved a lot of walking, a lot of waiting, and an entire cooked chicken.
  • I’ll never forget two Dutchmen who put on a spontaneous play for my friend Carmelina and me, after we discovered our beds were separated from theirs by a theatrical-looking curtain.
  • I’ll never forget my French Camino angels, who made everything better.
  • I’ll never forget the large French family, finishing off their Chemin for the year, who adopted me and a few other lone walkers for their celebration, which involved vast quantities of alcohol and traditional French songs, sung loudly.
  • I’ll never forget the day walking up hills was suddenly easy.
  • I’ll never forget the old Basque woman who, kilometres before Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, pointed out the town of Untto, high above us, and told me I’d be walking through it the next day.
  • I’ll never forget the Pyrenees in the fog, with the sheep fading into the mist.
  • I’ll never forget Martin and the Fuente del Vino.
  • I’ll never forget walking through depressingly industrial parts of Burgos with Sonya, singing Christmas carols in October. (We got particularly weird looks when we started on Feliz Navidad.)
  • I’ll never forget losing my only sweater on a cold November day, or Xabi, who gave me a new one.
  • I’ll never forget reading Stuart McLean stories with Sonya, that night we had an entire albergue to ourselves.
  • I’ll never forget Sascha and Jeannine walking up the day before Santiago, when I hadn’t seen them since the meseta and thought they were miles ahead.
  • I’ll never forget walking into Santiago.
  • I’ll never forget Hayden spraying us with champagne at the end of the world.
  • I’ll never forget….

* * *

In A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller looks at his own life in light of what he’s learned about crafting a story for a movie.

Screenwriters make scenes more memorable by setting them in interesting locations. So lovers break up while scuba diving, rather than in the local coffee shop.

And real life works the same way, Miller says. We tend to remember the times we do something crazy or go somewhere special. Everything else fades into the blur of everyday life.

I’ve travelled a number of places, but none were as special as the Camino. I have far more I’ll-never-forget moments from just under three months of walking across France and Spain than from any other period of my life.

If I were a more balanced person—if I weren’t filled with wanderlust—I suppose I’d take this Camino lesson, apply it to my everyday world, and create beautiful, crazy scenes for myself and others in my life. I wouldn’t have to travel to distant places because I’d have all the moments I needed right here in Canada.

But some of us seem to have to travel to find what we should, in theory, be able to find without leaving.

I guess that’s why I’m going back to Spain.

* * *

What about you? What’s your favourite unforgettable pilgrim moment?

Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 3:51 pm
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Running the Camino: An Interview with Jenny Anderson

[Jenny Anderson]

Jenny Anderson, preparing for the Camino.
Photo courtesy Jenny Anderson.

Jenny Biondi Anderson, a Spanish teacher from Virginia, will start the Camino Francés in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on February 27. She hopes to arrive in Santiago de Compostela, nearly 800 kilometres away, ten days later.

She’ll do the whole distance on foot—running. Her goal is to beat the World Speed Record of twelve days for the route.

Jenny recently answered my questions about her upcoming trip by e-mail.

* * *

Anna-Marie: What made you decide to do this trip? Why the Camino Francés in particular?

Jenny: I love 1) “long trails” 2) challenges 3) Spain and Latin America, and 4) the idea of doing a Pilgrimage. I have heard from several people about the Camino Francés over the years and so I have had it on my radar for a while.

In the summer of 2009, I did a long trail endeavor in North Carolina for a speed record and I used that time to gauge my fitness level, emotions, and mental toughness for attempting another another long trail endeavor at record speed. I found myself dreaming about El Camino de Santiago much of the time.

I finally committed to the idea in the fall of 2010.

Have you looked into the pilgrimage aspect of the route? Do you see yourself as a pilgrim on this journey?

I absolutely see myself as a pilgrim on this journey. Some might say, “Well, you are not slowing down and really having the experience of meeting the people.” I can answer that by saying, “True; and someday I will return and take my time on the Camino. But this pilgrimage is about speed and spending some long tough days on my own putting one foot in front of the other—day after day until I reach Santiago.”

I will have to dig deep into myself and my faith as I endure some hard days. In the end, I will be a different person. This experience will change me.

What made you decide to do this without a support vehicle?

Well … I have backed off from that idea. Normally, I would absolutely do this run without support and I might come back someday and attempt this endeavor unsupported. The trail lends itself to not needing a lot of support because of the frequency it comes into town.

Recently, however, I have been alerted to the fact that the time of year that I am going (weather and low tourist volume) is not conducive to attempting this run without support. I have realized that most of the “albergues” (hostels) along the trail do not have heat and are too damp to dry your clothing. Cold and wet conditions are going to set me up for failure.

Additionally, I have discovered that many albergues are closed during the time I am going because of the weather and/or because of Spain’s current economic challenges.

Lastly, albergues close early for the evening and so if I come into town at 8 pm looking for a room, I will be out of luck without my crew holding a spot for me somewhere.

Therefore, I am sad to say, I am decided to move this run to a supported endeavor. My mom, stepfather, and one of my daughters will be there for me at the end of each day. I will be on my own throughout the day and I will even sleep in a completely separate town from my family but I will see them for about two hours each evening as I finish.

[Janny Anderson]

Jenny Anderson, on a previous run.
Photo courtesy Jenny Anderson.

You’ll be trying to average more than seventy-three kilometres per day. How many hours will you be running in an average day? How does that compare to long-distance runs you’ve done in the past?

In the past, I have mostly done ultra-races (50k to 100 miles); however, I accomplished the SB6K program in the summer of 2009, which entailed summiting forty of North Carolina’s 6,000-foot peaks some of which were off trail. This 280 mile (450.6 kilometre) endeavor was completed in less than a week with the equivalent amount of climbing as summiting Mt. Everest twice. We covered approximately forty miles (sixty-four kilometres) a day on some pretty mountainous terrain. We averaged about fifteen hours a day. I say “we” because I did this with two other female friends.

I anticipate covering seventy-five to eighty-three kilometres a day on the the Camino Francés (averaging eighty kilometres [fifty miles] a day). I hope to average about four miles (6.4 kilometres) an hour which would be about thirteen to sixteen hours a day depending on the degree of elevation. I will need to be very patient but steadfast.

You plan to carry a five-pound (2.3-kilogram) backpack. What will you take in it?

I will carry a five-pound pack and I have been training with five pounds since October. In fact, I haven’t run a step without it. I have been putting in 90 to 125 mile (144 to 201 kilometre) weeks with the pack. I will carry the Delorme GPS and SPOT check locator. I will carry my micro-spikes for the snowy and icy mountain passes. Additionally, I will carry a camera, lots of layers of clothing in case it gets cold or wet, as well as food and water.

Will you be blogging along the way?

I will send text messages using the Delorme SPOT check and locator. I can send these messages via satellite throughout the day to my friends and family at home. Additionally, my mom and stepdad will email and call home for me to give updates. My husband will update my blog and Facebook page daily.

You say on your blog: “My pilgrimage is nothing in comparison to the life and death journey others are facing daily around the world. I will run for them and their individual stories.”

Can you tell me a bit about the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and what made you decide to fundraise for them? How is the fundraising going?

When originally looking for “the cause” that I wanted to promote and bring to light, I thought of two things: 1) I want something or someone that will truly “move” me when the going gets particularly tough in Spain, and 2) I want to help an organization that has credibility financially and logistically.

There are a lot of organizations out there that do not utilize their funds efficiently and there are several charity watchdogs that pick up on this. I turned to the American Philanthropy Association when looking to find a worthwhile organization. Several charity watchdogs have given The IRC an “A+” (the highest rating) for efficiency and use of funds. Ninety percent of all their money goes directly to refugees.

The IRC has videos all over YouTube that express and depict the impact this incredible organization has had around the world. The IRC was started by Albert Einstein over seventy-five years ago and so it carries further credibility through its longevity.

Additionally, I love the fact that this organization helps those that are on very tough journeys. These people are enduring hundreds (sometimes thousands) of miles to escape persecution and death.

They inspire me. They will be the ones that keep me going when I feel like I can’t take another step. To think of their endurance, courage, and spirit is the most moving and motivating thing I can imagine.

My fundraising goal is $2000. My campaign will end during the third week of March. I have $300 more to go and I have no doubt that I will reach my goal. $2000 will feed 400 refugee children for a month.

It’s a start.

[Update: Since writing this, Jenny announced that she’s already reached her fundraising goal.]

You wrote in your blog: “I must honestly say that I do have fear for the amount of pain I will endure. I have fear of how my emotions and perspective will alter as the suffering deepens and I run though very dark and lonely hours. Nonetheless, this is part of the journey. I would have it no other way. It will make the end that much more beautiful and worthwhile. Fear. Pain. Suffering. These are not the enemy. The enemy is using them as an excuse to not meet a goal or attempt a challenge.”

You’ve done some long runs before. How did you deal with the fear and pain then?

I have always been the type of person to subscribe to the philosophy that enduring life’s toughest moments is the only thing that truly builds character. Each difficult moment in my life has taught me the most significant lessons. I view challenges as stepping stones to great lessons and so I never run from them.

Endurance is the greatest gift I could pass on to my children. Enduring the difficult, the painful, the uncomfortable, and the impossible can be our saving grace. I think about this philosophy when times get tough.

Other things that get me through the lonely and dark moments are: 1) my abiding faith in God; 2) knowing that others are enduring a much tougher road than I so it is important to suck it up; and 3) “this is who I am and what I do.”

Is there anything else about the trip that you’d like to mention?

1) Support the IRC!

2) There is no such thing as impossible.

* * *

To learn more about Jenny—and follow her run after February 27—visit her blog, Jenny’s Journey.

You can learn more about the IRC at the International Rescue Committee website. If you’d like to make a donation through Jenny’s campaign, visit her iRESCUE page.

Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 12:37 pm
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This Week in Pilgrimage: A Pilgrim Blessing in Seville


Photo of the Week
Paddy Burke took this photo at Clavijo, which he describes as 'a short steep cycle south of Logroño.' Santiago Matamoros is said to have led the Christian troops against a Muslim army at the Battle of Clavijo, which was supposedly fought in 844. Historians now doubt the battle actually occurred.
Submit your photo for Photo of the Week.

This week … I’m breaking in my hiking boots. Whether the boots will adapt to my feet or my feet will adapt to the boots is still an open question.

In the meantime, there’s more news.

The usual disclaimer: I’ve done the best I can to ensure accuracy, but a lot of this information comes from Spanish sites and my Spanish is a long way from perfect.

Pilgrimage Bits and Pieces

  • Pilgrims starting the Vía de la Plata in Seville will now have a chance to receive a blessing before they (or rather, we!) set out. If there are pilgrims at the 8:30 a.m. mass in the Capilla Mayor of the Seville cathedral, they will be given a special blessing.
  • In Yesa reservoir news, it seems the president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Spain agrees with the Camino groups that asked UNESCO to include the Camino on its World Heritage in Danger list, and opposes the growth of the reservoir. She also says that any new Camino Aragonés route would have to be an authentic historical route.
  • A workshop on pilgrimage studies begins today. The two-day workshop will involve scholars from more than thirty American and Canadian universities that are putting together a consortium that will give students a chance to participate in summer pilgrimage studies seminars in Santiago de Compostela.
  • The Ministry for Rural affairs recently burned a stretch of forest along the Vía de la Plata in the province of Ourense. A spokesperson for the ministry says this is meant to prevent forest fires. Environmental groups and forestry workers are unhappy, as there are protected species in the area and forest fires lead to erosion, river pollution, and other problems.
  • The webcam at the Fuente del Vino at the Irache Monastery is working again. (via falcon269)
  • Apparently, in the latest issue of the Spanish pilgrim magazine Camino de Santiago Revista Peregrina, Antón Pombo looks at whether the Camino might succumb to a tourist exploitation that doesn’t respect pilgrim values. This would seem to be part of a continuing Camino discussion in Spain that I wish I could explain, but really don’t understand well enough.
  • The American high school students I wrote about last month got enough donations to buy new backpacks, and are now blogging about their preparations. Be sure to check out Sabrina’s hilarious post about their first hike. The students will be updating the blog regularly when they start walking the Camino in June.
  • A new (Spanish) book, Las cocinas del camino (The Kitchens of the Camino), provides a gastronomic overview of many different Camino routes in Spain. Judging by the photo, this looks like the sort of big, beautiful book you wouldn’t want to carry in your backpack, but if food is important to you—and you can read Spanish—it could help you plan what to eat where.
  • The Camino Documentary will be holding a benefit and screening of the 23-minute trailer this Sunday in Washington, DC. Everyone is welcome.
  • Cycling from St. Petersburg, Russia to Santiago de Compostela is apparently “a dream for many.” And French groups are, according to the article, slowly making this feat possible.
  • The town council of Nájera is hoping to make some improvements to the town’s historic centre, including a new fountain for the Plaza de San Miguel.

Pilgrim Roads

I promised you history last week and didn’t deliver—I’m sorry. It’ll be coming soon.

Next week, I’ll have an interview with Jenny Anderson, who will soon attempt to break a World Speed Record by running the Camino Francés from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in fewer than twelve days.

Jenny writes:

I absolutely see myself as a pilgrim on this journey. Some might say, “Well, you are not slowing down and really having the experience of meeting the people.” I can answer that by saying, “True; and someday I will return and take my time on the Camino. But this pilgrimage is about speed and spending some long tough days on my own putting one foot in front of the other—day after day until I reach Santiago.”

Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 1:57 pm
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Crossing the St. Bernard Pass in Winter (By Ian Brodrick)

[Hospice du Grand-Saint-Bernard]

The Hospice du Grand-Saint-Bernard.
Photo courtesy Ian Brodrick.

I first heard of the St. Bernard Pass, in the Swiss Alps on the way to Italy, when I was quite young. Ever since, the name makes me imagine monks and their St. Bernard dogs wading through deep snow to rescue travellers.

I recently found out that pilgrims walking to Rome on the Via Francigena take the St. Bernard Pass, but I imagined them walking in warmer seasons.

It turns I was wrong—at least a little. Ian Brodrick recently braved winter conditions on the pass with Regula Burri, a Swiss friend he met on the Camino. He summarizes his findings below for other pilgrims who are interested in the same journey.

* * *

At the end of January, I crossed the St. Bernard in two days from Orsieres to Aosta, following the route pilgrims on the Via Francigena usually take in summer, with an overnight stay at the Hospice-du-Grand-Saint-Bernard. I made the trip to assess the route’s viability in winter, and to enjoy an Alpine winter walk.

The road normally closes in October and the route is a very different proposition in winter. It should really be considered Alpine winter walking, both on the graded slopes of the road and on other tracks. In our case, Orsieres to the hospice took about nine hours. The main problem was that we had to spend a couple of hours high up on the pass in the dark, with falling temperatures. It was very cold, reaching -15 to -20 degrees Celsius very early in the evening.

I would not discourage anyone with the will and experience to make this journey. But keep in mind it needs a good deal of thought, preparation and perhaps experience.

I would suggest most winter walkers take the bus from Orsiere to Aosta—especially if you’re in any doubt about your abilities or the conditions. There are two buses a day in winter, and they are very quick indeed.

For most people, I think the walking season starts when the road is cleared and the paths defrost. But in late spring, with longer warmer days, snowshoeing might be a pleasure not a trial. It might be worth trying then, before the cars return to the road (which is closed all winter).

Obviously many of the local facilities are closed in winter, while winter sports shops and resorts are open. This includes Crystal Sports in Orsieres, where you can hire snowshoes of some sort. You will also need very warm outdoor clothes, a compass and a head torch. For us, water was freezing in the pack in half an hour or so. It’s always good to carry a decent steel thermos with sweet tea.

To stay at the hospice it is necessary to call in advance (the day before)—and you must stay there. All of the other facilities on the Col are closed with the road.

The Route to the Col

[St. Bernard Pass]

The second day of the trek over the St. Bernard Pass, descending to Aosta.
Photo courtesy Ian Brodrick.

The first thing to say is that the trails marked out for the Via Francigena are for the most part unused in winter. For us, it was icy in the lower northern valleys in Switzerland, with melting and refreezing covering even the forest floor with sheet ice, and there was deep snow higher up toward Bourg St. Pierre and up to the Super St. Bernard ski location.

Routes marked out for snowshoeing were entirely unused, even the one next to Orsieres. Some parts were covered in sheet ice, and others in hard snow.

It is essential to have snowshoes or walking crampons on the trails, and then good snowshoes on the snow-covered Col de St. Bernard road to the hospice, and to leave ample time in the short days.

Without proper equipment, adequate experience and planning the route could be dangerous—I must stress that here.

In relation to distance, it would not be unreasonable to add a further fifty percent to the time you’d need under better conditions. I would say that for most it would be unwise to attempt to reach the hospice from anywhere further away that Bourg St. Pierre. Even then, I found all of the Via Francigena trails to have been completely unused for the winter period. Some few intrepid souls walked the road towards the tunnel to get to the hospice.

Most skiers and snowshoers are simply dropped off at the bottom of the road at the super St. Bernard ski station, and use cross country skis to ascend! This is not really what we are doing.

From the Super St. Bernard ski location, the climb on the snow-covered road begins. In January, I found that even moving well we could not get to the hospice in daylight from Orsieres.

Again, I must stress that for most walkers, being in Alpine winter temperatures and conditions in the dark is not safe and should not be contemplated. While the road is marked with snow poles, they may not be easy to follow in bad conditions. Previous tracks are easily covered by a slight wind.

A head torch is good for when it gets profoundly dark, but otherwise peripheral vision in the snowy conditions will work (but wear dark glasses in bright snow conditions). The hospice has exterior lights. They are only visible in good weather relatively close to the Col, and it is easy to see that navigational errors could lead to a serious incident.

Navigation is not difficult, even at night, if you are a little used to night walking in the hills and in extreme cold, but errors are possible in a number of places. The route is mostly in a valley, with only a couple of wrong turns possible—but they are possible. In tough conditions people normally make errors that would be inexplicable in other circumstances.

As mentioned, there are snow poles (less visible in bad weather), and often tracks I guess come from touring skiers. These can’t be relied on.

The temperatures after dark quickly went down to -15 or -20, and required good equipment. I strongly advise that anyone contemplating this route in winter ensures that they have daylight, along with the equipment and some skills to deal with the conditions. It is essential to research the weather.

Low visibility and high winds create complications—and indeed mean the majority should not consider this route. The other issue that must be mentioned is avalanches across the road—I’ll discuss that more later. The monks at the hospice keep records and can be relied on for day-by-day weather updates. You can find contact details on the Hospice du Grand-Saint-Bernard website.

My view is that a mapping GPS would be very useful to someone crossing the pass—but you’d need to keep the batteries warm. Also note that using a GPS exposes the hands to frostbite, and that would be a real danger if it were, say, -20 and windy. It’s best to wear good fingerless gloves under a windproof thin pair, with a pair of mittens over the top.

In winter, always let people at the next place you’re staying know you are coming, and give them an estimate of arrival time. It may be your only chance of rescue. Having said that, this is Switzerland, and there is mobile phone signal throughout the pass!

The Hospice

The hospice is open in winter and excellent. In January there was no problem at all with space. It was a delight to find this wonderful institution in the freezing and profoundly dark night. We were chided for being late for dinner at 7:30pm!

The route south from the hospice toward Aosta also follows the snow-covered road. The trails are under deep snow in winter. Competent touring skiers can use their own judgment to shorten the route. Everyone else needs good snowshoes—perhaps rather better than the “walking the dog” ones hired out by Cristal in Orsieres. MSR Lighning or similar might work well. This is a basic matter of safety.

There is a real issue with avalanches on this route south. We could see many slab and powder avalanches, and in places they took out the road barriers. Few people had ventured up or down from the Aosta Valley this winter, although we found the conditions safe enough. It is necessary to ensure the conditions are safe before making any attempt—and to be able to deal with whatever conditions you find.

After two or three hours of descent down the original track, you come across the Italian end of the tunnel, and the going gets flatter and easier. The new road to the tunnel continues above in concrete conduit. Near to St. Remy the road is open, but some of the trails used by the Via Francigena are closed. The route can be found just above the village at the end of the cleared road. It is necessary to walk to Etroubles and on to Aosta on the roads.

St. Remy is now bedecked in Via Francigena signage, and emblems—and that includes the street lamps!

* * *

Many thanks to Ian Brodrick for this informative article.

Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 3:17 pm
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