Oct 12, 2014

Update from Martigny

It turns out that I was knocking on the wrong door last evening. I had seen the Maison St-Bernard across the street from the church and assumed that was the Paroisse Catholique mentioned in my guidebook. This morning after Matins and breakfast, one of the very gracious Augustinian fathers took me across the street to the actual building that houses the parish offices and pilgrim accommodation. Whoops! He stamped my pilgrim's passport and wished me "Bon journée." At breakfast, several of the fathers asked me to pray for them on my pilgrimage, which of course I will, but it seemed like a strange reversal. I've gotten this far because of all the people praying for me!

One of the things they asked me last evening was how long I wanted to stay. Since they seemed a little taken aback by my request, I thought it best not to presume too much on their hospitality, so I said it would just be for one night. Once I was shown to my very nice en suite, I peeled off my socks and realised my feet would need more than an evening to heal.

This morning after packing up, I made my way to the central town square and took advantage of the free WiFi to upload some photos and also check the weather forecast and the nearest campground.‎ Since it's supposed to rain all day tomorrow, I decided to take a bed in the campground dormitory. I'm the only person in there so far, and the nightly rate is only 5 Swiss francs more than I paid for setting up my tarp in the campground in Villeneuve. I've paid for two nights here, and if my feet are still not ready for the coming days over the Alps, I'll stay until they are.

In the meantime, Martigny looks like a great place to spend a few days. Perhaps tomorrow I'll hobble around town a bit and visit some of the Roman ruins. Octodure was the name of Martigny under the Roman Empire, and as the first major settlement north of the pass on relatively level ground, it was settled even before the Romans came and made it their own.‎ Today, though, I plan to laze about the campground, do some laundry, and stay off my feet as much as possible.

Incidentally, I found out why I was having issues with my global SIM. It turns out that, of the three telecom providers in Switzerland, only one of them offers a decent rate for data. When I crossed into the country from France, that was not the one my phone automatically connected to.‎ I've added more funds to my account, and will be able to make and receive phone calls again. Still no joy on the data front, but many towns offer free WiFi in their central squares, and of course restaurants, hostels, and campgrounds also provide this service. If absolutely necessary, and if the town is big enough to have one, I can always go to McDonald's. 

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