Aosta to Nus, 16.38km
Ok, so you can’t have everything! The temperature dropped and the rain fell on us for most of the walk today. Clouds obscured the snowy peaks of the mighty Alps surrounding the Aosta valley. BUT, we saw Roman bridges, castles and spectacular scenery (even through the mist)! We’re happy. The walk was made even more pleasant with the aid of our new walking poles and by a significant reduction in the weight of our packs – Lois, in particular, traded her 30L pack for a new 10L daypack.
As arranged, our bags were picked up by Sr. Pelanda. An Air Tag enabled us to track them to their destination! After today, however, we will have to come up with a different plan, as he later texted to say the cost would go up significantly as we got further away from Aosta.
After espresso, cappuccino and a marmalata croissant for Lois, we headed east through the Porta Pretoria, built in 25BCE, passed by the Arco di Augusto from the same era and then walked across the Roman Ponte di Pietra, all in the space of a few minutes! We soon climbed high above the valley, the path often following the routes of ancient “rus” or irrigation canals, which have enabled agriculture and rearing of cattle (cow bells were heard), goats, and sheep for millennia. We stopped for our mid-morning hot chocolate and poppy seed pastry close to the Saint-Christophe 12C church, where a Sunday service was underway. Later, we passed the Castello di Quart, dating from 1185, currently under renovation. “At the mouth of the Valsainte, on a promontory that is steep on all sides, rises the castle of Quart”. Appropriately, the slopes were covered with ancient vines bearing new shoots along the Chemin des Vignobles.
In other signs of spring, the fragrance of wisteria trailing along old stone walks, Rosemary in bloom, budding roses, flowering lilacs and purple irises.
The paths were great (no mud!) until a last steep section descending to Nus, where rains had washed rocks and stones down the path, making navigating difficult. Wet and cold, we recovered over pear, Gorgonzola and Fior di latte pizza and a glass of local red.
Wildlife notes: Eurasian Jay