Oct 13, 2014

Bunked down and thankful

I've just tucked myself into my bunk for the last time at the TCS Camping Martigny. I'm feeling very cozy snuggled under my down sleeping bag listenening to the rain come down outside. This is a great campsite, and judging from their website, the Touring Club Suisse is an equally excellent organisation. Here's a link to the campground I've taken refuge in over the past two nights: www.tcs.ch/fr/voyages-camping/camping/offres/martigny.php 

This morning after sleeping in late and having a leisurely breakfast, I decided to see how my feet were doing. I was encouraged to discover I could walk without pain, so I wandered in to town to see about buying a lighter jacket. The one I packed is just too much for hiking in, even if the temperatures drop below freezing. I can always layer up if necessary, so a light windbreaker is what I really needed. (I asked, and there is a donation box for clothing at the next train station 3 km away.)

I had a look in two sporting goods stores. The first one had something that was perfect. And it was "only" 300 Swiss franks! I thanked the salesperson for her help and explained that was a little out of my price range. And to be fair, Mountain Equipment Co-op has similarly specced jackets for similar prices. What MEC has that this shop didn't is a range of options. The next store had what I was looking for. It didn't have the double zipper or some of the other nifty features, but for 40 francs I think it will do just fine!

While I was in town, I also ‎took the opportunity to try fondue. ("Cheese, Gromit!") I approve. In general I'll be avoiding restaurants on this pilgrimage, not out of some need to do penance but simply as a matter of economics. I spent as much on my noon meal as I have been paying for two days' worth of food from supermarkets. The notable exception to this has been Turkish kebab shops. For under 10 francs I get a salad, some tasty meat, and some sort of carbohydrate, whether that's rice, potatoes, or fries. Since water fountains are ubiquitous in Switzerland, I'm able to save money there, too. My morning coffee habit seems to be getting more expensive the further I get from Paris, but I'll be in Italy soon enough!

I walked back to the campground with a full stomach and a new jacket, feeling very grateful that I was, in fact, walking. The painful hobble that I'd adopted in an effort to avoid worsening the condition of my blisters is gone. I was still walking carefully, but I was distributing my weight evenly on both feet. In another few days I'm sure I'll go back to taking painfree mobility for granted, but today I was very happy indeed. My three nights in Martigny seem to have been enough, although I'll make my final decision tomorrow morning. If I decide I'm not up for the next few stages yet, I'll just extend my stay here until I am ready. I don't want to be struck lame at 2000 metres above sea level, halfway between towns!

Once back at the camp, I uploaded some photos and waited for a phone call. Today is Thanksgiving in Canada, so I knew my parents would both be home at a time convenient for all of us to talk. It was nice to hear from them, and to get an update on my grandmother.

And now here I am, lights out, tapping away at my BlackBerry and listening to the rain. The forecast for tomorrow looks good, my laundry is done, my clothes and my breakfast is laid out for the morning. Once I hit send, I'll read the appointed prayers and get a solid nine hours of sleep!

Tomorrow on my way out of town I plan to visit the site of a Roman Mithraeum (‎https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraeum) and stop by the local Gallo-Roman musem (What, your town doesn't have one?) before stopping off at the train station to get rid of this hot, heavy jacket. And then onwards to Orsiéres!

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