VF Day 3 & 4: Hiking the Swiss Alps

By on June 3, 2022

Somebody suggested I should let that thought sink in. I guess I hadn’t thought about until we were surrounded by mountains and the only way out is up and over. Wow, it’s sinking in.

I didn’t have a blog yesterday, I was having a rough day. It was raining, my shins were hurting, the terrain was challenging with rain, and we made the tough call to take the train to our evening destination. I struggle with feeling like I failed. I am going to leave my drive for perfection here in the Alps where perfect scenery is all around.

It ended up being a nice day despite us not walking. We had a fabulous room at the Hotel Terminus in Orsières. I spent much of the day with my feet up, ice on my shins, resting and reading. Taking a rest yesterday paid off substantially! Today my shins don’t hurt and I feel a lot better. I know it always pays off to take care of yourself but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to admit it and do it.

Managing shin splits

We did wander the small village of Orsières a bit, found a pharmacy, an outdoor/hiking gear store, and that was about it. If you need anything for the trek up to St. Bernard Pass, that is the last opportunity. We got a bit more Compeed, which is amazing stuff if you have a hot spot that has not turned to a blister yet. I swear by Compeed!

We enjoyed a nice dinner and when back to our rooms. A note about dinner though, we ordered a “half board” with our room reservation which is dinner and breakfast. However, unlike in Spain, wine is not included and – wow – was their wine expensive! Dinner included tap water, a small appetizer, main dish, and small dessert. Breakfast included breads, jellies, yogurt, ham, cheese, and coffee. Total cost for that half board without the wine was 156 franks! Yep, I was shocked too! It’s my fault, I should have asked how much the half board was and I would have known. Fortunately, our hotel room was only 40 franks for both of us at the pilgrim rate.

Today’s stats:

  • Martigny to Orsières – 1 km to the train station.
  • Hotel Terminus – 40 franks

Check out the YouTube video from these two days!

Let’s talk about today! I wish I capture this day to memory and never forget it’s beauty. We were rewarded abundantly for resting yesterday. Today was hard hiking but the beauty of the Alps is all around us. If you have seen pictures of the wildflower fields of the Alps, we spent the entire day walking through them. We wandered through a couple of villages, walked by the river all day, saw lots of cows with their traditional Swiss cowbells around their necks, a few piglets, endless wildflower fields, and mountains all around. I never want to forget this day.

Look at those Swiss cowbells

The hiking was challenging, we walked uphill most of the day. It was 14 km and 800 meters (2,264 feet) of elevation gain. It took us about 6 hours plus a nice lunch break in Liddes for pizza that was bigger than my plate. I wasn’t going to eat it all but… well, I did. Tomorrow’s climb is 12.4 km but we will gain 1062 meters (3,484 feet) of elevation. But that’s tomorrow’s problem.

Today’s hike on the left, tomorrow’s on the right

Tonight we have an interesting accommodation. We are staying in Maison St. Pierre in the town of Bourg-Saint-Pierre. It is/was a religious building of some sort, there is history everywhere. The fireplace is dated 1822. It’s a traditional “pilgrimage” accommodation with 4 rooms. They all have twin beds, one room has 8 beds. We picked a room with only 3 beds and since we’re the only people in the entire place, I bet we’ll have not only the room to ourselves but the entire Maison. What’s unfortunate is that the room is more expensive than last night with our private room/private bath accommodation. It’s all part of the experience, hopefully dinner will be cheaper. Update: it wasn’t. 😏

Tonight’s accommodation

We’ve quickly jumped back into our “pilgrimage” routine. We shower and hand wash our clothes immediately. We take time to check our feet, use the massage ball on them. This routine was challenging to work out during our first pilgrimage, but as this is our third, we just accept that is part of the adventure.

Next, we enjoy a bit of quiet time to blog/put a video together before we head out to find dinner. This blog and the video are important to us for capturing the experience. We hope it brings you joy, but most importantly, we want to be able to look back on what we’ve done. I mean, we’re hiking the Alps! Wowza, that’s pretty cool. I can’t wait to see what Tuscany brings us.

The goal is to walk to Rome on the Via Francigena. We pray our bodies stay healthy, our motivation stays strong, and our relationship flourishes even more along the way.

Today’s stats:

  • Walked Orsières to Bourg-Saint-Pierre – 14 km
  • Hotel – 50 franks (cash only)

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