Thursday, June 22, 2006

THURS JUNE 22: - DAY SEVEN - St Vincent to Pont St Martin 32.2km 9.5kms

THURS JUNE 22: DAY EIGHT - St Vincent to Pont St Martin 32.2km
Kathy: Talk about fauna and flora! We have seen domestic animals such as cows, sheep and goats. Cows and bulls with enormous leather straps and bells around their necks. A herd of goats being herded by a 'shepherd' and smart dog not far out of town, woolly sheep, lots of dogs, cats, kittens as well as ducks and ducklings, chickens etc. There are all varieties of dogs, Cairn terriers, Collies, St Bernard’s, St Charles spaniels etc. We have also seen two foxes - one near La Douay and one near Bard. We have seen some strange looking furry critters that could be ferrets or perhaps raccoons. We have seen raptors, crows, thrush-like birds, sparrows, swallows, kites, woodpeckers and many others. Silvia talks to the animals (and they talk back!) and has been nose to nose with a goat.
But today we also had the flies! Compliments of a yard behind our B&B that is home to a family of goats - this in the equivalent of West Street mind you! We are watching Val, as she is lethal with her pepper spray, having nearly killed us all in Aosta spraying it at a fly in our room!

Rayna: We left St Vincent on a lovely wooded path then we hit tarred roads which are hard underfoot and after a long day – 9 ½ hours - all except Kathy feels shattered. Kathy got a second wind went shopping and made us all dinner - Val will expand upon that.

Marion: Woke up this morning to the sound of WOOF-WOOF - which is Val's alarm sound! Sil and Val told me that my watch had woken them at midnight when the alarm went off. I was so tired that I didn't hear it. After getting dressed this morning I walked outside to a magnificent view, we were surrounded by mountains and across the valley there was a castle on a hill. It was so peacefull – the sun had just come up, birds were singing and I felt like I was in the middle of a dream. I felt so good for most of today, the backpack feeling like a part of me, (must be getting fitter) but as the day went on I really knew that I had a backpack on my back! Was very relieved to find our B&B.

Sil: Serve us right for being so clever yesterday and counting our sightseeing kilometres as part of our mileage and catching a bus. It's like Ride Now - Pay Later!!. 32kms might not sound like a lot but with over 150kms in your legs and much of that climbing up and down a 2 500m mountain, it took its toll on all of us today.
So, is the Via F what I expected? Yes and no. Yes - the scenery is spectacular - straight out of a Disney movie. High mountains, green meadows, acres of wild flowers - each small pasture like a country bunch! We have walked through medieval villages with stone buildings pressing in from each side. Sometimes we feel as though we are intruding when we walk right past someone’s barn or front door. Village fountains and water troughs keep us supplied with water. We walked through Montjovet, a village famous for its wine and then passed by two castles and a fortess on the way to Pont St Martin - St Germaine, Isogne and the stunning fortress of Bard. Walking along an old Roman Road with the ruts of chariot and cart wheels still visible in the large stones. We climbed high above terraced vineyards that look like pictures of South American terraced agriculture. It has been a visual and sensory overload.
NO?? Well, because I did not expect it to be so difficult - the terrain is much harder than the Camino. There are very few signs. We have had to find our own way every step of the way. The weather. It has been extremely hot. No snow, no cold winds, very little rain. Hotter at times than Durban in the summer.. So yes, and no - it is more than I expected and I am really looking forward to the next few weeks when we start walking through Tuscany.
Arriving in Pont St Martin we stopped at a police station to ask for directions to the B&B. A tall, dark and handsome policeman came out to point the way and I think Kathy was instantly smitten – tall, young, dark, handsome and in a uniform with knee high boots nog al! She seemed to get her 2nd wind while the rest of us were wilting so she offerd to make us all dinner. The accommodation has been wonderful. Most B&B's – like this one, the Al Castel - are apartments with kitchen, stove, fridge and we have even had use of the odd washing machine. And they only cost ± E25 each with breakfast.


thor said...

Well done girls!Thanks for the web updates.Its almost like being on the walk but without the pain.Make the most of the day on the train.

Anonymous said...

To the famous 5
Great to hear all your news. We are all well. Have a great day
Greg, Kim, Joshua and David

Linda said...

What a disappointment, logged on to find only day 7. Can't wait for the next instalments, keep em coming girls. Luv to you all.

Dave and Antoinette said...

Well we love following the bloggers. It seems amazing that you can even post photos and that I can get an email from Kathy from her Varsity email - yet half the time I can't even work out how to use the cell phone. Well Ouma Regina did the Spar Ladies yesterday dressed up as French Maid- apparently he looked great.
Tyreforce Ten is this Sunday and we are all system go. Having a cold snap in Durban and of course we all have flu. Hoepfully you will be able to sell your story to Getaway mag on your return.

Love to you all and wish I was there. Dave and Antoinette

Anonymous said...

Val, you have Christmas spelt incorrectly all over the Homenet page telling people about the soft toys children will be receiving. The title spelling is incorrect and so is the spelling in the text.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Val, this is Carole and yes it was me who commented on the misspelling of Christmas. I hope you are all bearing up well, I think of you every day and hope you are having a wonderful time.

Michelle said...

Hi Gals

I have enjoyed keeping up to date with your trip. Wish I could have joined you. "Regina"the french maid was an absolute treat with suspender stockings and a g-string. Looking forward to seeing all your photos. Keep up the diary.

Love Michelle & Dereck

Anonymous said...

Hello Val & Girls (who I don't know but who sound interesting!)..
Trip sounds great, wish I was there. Have left a msg for Daph so hopefully she can log on too. Keep the diary coming and my thoughts are with you. Have you all got blisters?
Sandra from UK

Anonymous said...

Hi Marion and co.,
Thinking of you and enjoying the updates. keep well and safe.
Love Terry