Rest day 4 – Aosta
I got back to the hotel after 9 and I just couldn’t settle down and fall asleep quickly. That really messed things up, because if I don’t fall asleep early enough, I get really bad restless legs which makes fall asleep difficult. So I definitely paid a price for being social in a group I couldn’t leave early and go to bed. But I survived.
The bed is definitely nice, but the pillows aren’t great. I do have to say, though, that one of the best pieces of kit is my buff. I use it at night if there’s too much light in the room, because I only sleep well if it’s dark. I think that’s one of the reasons I wake up so much during the night. I really should use it at night more. I definitely slept better with it on.
I woke up after 8. For some reason, my left hip bone is sore. I’m not sure if there’s a difference with my pack, or what. My pack is sitting differently. I’ve lost weight, so it’s hard to tighten the belt enough, and it’s important to get the belt as tight as possible so you’re carrying the load on your hips.
I’m also starting to get muscle cramps in my legs. Not Charlie horses or anything, but just on the verge. If I stretch my legs too much in bed it almost sets it off. I have electrolyte tabs that I use, and I take a pretty large magnesium pill every day, but apparently it’s not quite enough.
There’s a huge store just a couple of blocks away, so I decided to go there this morning. Breakfast is extra at the hotel, so I wanted to buy something to eat tomorrow, and other things.
I dragged myself out of bed and made myself go, but the store was huge and I spent way longer there than I extended to.
I was able to find some over the counter things. I got some more effervescent tabs for a multi vitamin and one for potassium and magnesium. I also bought some more deodorant, and some bread, butter, and preserves and little Nutella packets for tomorrow. The huge ticket item was some sunscreen. I really, really should have brought more from home. It’s about 9x more expensive here. I bought a small tube for 17 E. Ugh. But I haven’t been wearing sunscreen because I don’t have much, so… I really needed to buy some.
I took everything back to the hotel then headed up to town. I got to the cathedral at 11:30. Plenty of time to take pictures before going to lunch. It’s a pretty small cathedral, and there aren’t any super amazing stained glass windows. Very different from French Cathedrals, but there were a lot of frescoes.
I went lunch menu shopping on the main strip and finally settled on one that also came with a dessert. The annoying thing about Italian restaurants is they all have cover charges. They also don’t give you tap water, so you have to pay for bottled water.
I got boar ragu tagliatelle. It was good. It didn’t taste like beef. Then the second was chicken Marsala, but they served it separately. I should have taken a picture after I combined it. And I got a few French fries with it. Dessert was a lemon sorbetto.
An American couple sat near me and they looked like possible pilgrims, so I asked, but they said they were hiking the Alta Via 1, so I got all excited. I wanted to ask them more questions but I think I was annoying them, so I didn’t. I’d really like to come back sometime and do the whole AV1 maybe, and finish the TMB. Idk. It would be amazing.
After lunch I got really tired and I almost just went back to the hotel, but I was feeling like I should do some sight seeing because I’m here, and they have some Roman ruins. The guy at dinner was telling me about it last night. He asked if I had seen the wall and the arches, and no I hadn’t. He said, you go down this street and you can’t miss it. I asked, the one with the big plaza? And he said, no, the one by the Cathedral. So I walked down the street by the cathedral and I didn’t find anything I couldn’t miss. I came to a cross street and I turned left. I should have turned right. After wandering around for entirely too long, I searched for Roman ruins near me. Turns out it was down the street with the big plaza, and if I’d gone that way I couldn’t miss it. Ugh.
So I walked up to the ticket booth and he asked if I was student. I said yes, but I can’t prove it, and he said, ok. So I only had to pay 5 E instead of 7. The ticket gets you into 4 things around town. The main one was this Roman theater ruins.
It said the thing was 22m tall. It looks really tall. It put those 400-900m climbs into more perspective. That’s really high.
I mean, it was cool and all, but I was tired and hot and kind of cranky and kind of feeling like I should be in bed for my rest day and not walking all over town.
But I’d paid the 5 E, so I went to find the ancient Christian church. It was the foundation, and it was under ground, so at least it was cooler. It dates to the 400s, and it was in the shape of a cross. I guess they started that pretty early. There was another church next door, so I went to that one, too.
Then I went to the other thing by the cathedral, the crypto something. It was also underground, and just two long rows of arches. It used to be part of a whole complex.
I decided to get some gelato, just because. I was spending money, I might as well get a treat. I was trying to decide, and a couple came in and I had them order before me. The lady got a cone, which I was planning on doing, and the guy got a cup, and I saw that he got a little plastic spoon (it’s more like a spatula). I had been meaning to ask someone since this morning where I could get a plastic knife. I have butter and jam, but no utensils. You can’t bring plastic knives on airplanes, and I just never got around to getting one. So it made me wonder, is something like that a coincidence? I took longer to order and noticed the spoon. Or is God really that present in the details of our lives? I don’t want to think about that too much right now. I went through a lot of really difficult years, so… yeah. I got chocolate and violet.
Then I went back to the hotel and took a shower, because I’d walked 7k today. It’s definitely hotter in the valley than up in the mountains.
I spent the afternoon catching up on my blog and downloading, converting, and uploading gps tracks. I did all of that, and yet it still doesn’t route between points on the tracks. This whole system is very frustrating. If you don’t stick to the preset stages, it’s difficult to know how far things are.
So at dinner last night, they were talking about how difficult the set stage for tomorrow is. It’s 27k, and up 600m and down 700m. They were talking about breaking it up or taking a bus, and I am super curious about how bad it really is. I haven’t walked that far in a while, since I’ve been in the mountains and taking shorter days, and I’ve been sick, but it really doesn’t sound that bad to me. I will find out tomorrow!
I was also looking ahead and thinking about trying to combine the next two stages. They are 19k and 14.5k, so that would be a very long day, but I think I can cut a few k off. I won’t make that decision today. I’ll see how tomorrow goes first.
I went downstairs to see when I can check out tomorrow. She said 7:30, and I think that’s fine. Realistically I’m not going to be ready to leave earlier than that. I also got a stamp, but she didn’t understand two dates because I was here two days, so I need to find another stamp.
I tried to go to a closer pizza place, but it was closed, and the other place was closed, so I ended up walking back into the city. I walked 10k today lol. Sigh. I guess it’s a warm up for tomorrow. I’m kind of excited about it, really. I’m doing a lot better. Maybe even 85%-90%.
I decided to try to go back to the Belle Époque, because I knew they would have a stamp, and maybe the pizza wasn’t as bad as their other food, but the restaurant was closed today. I thought about trying to ask for a stamp anyway, since I had eaten there yesterday, but I just left.
I ended up at the same place I had lunch, and the 3 waiters who recognized me seemed genuinely happy to see me again. I got a pizza with tomatoes, olives, anchovies, capers, and basil. It was really good. Probably one of the best I’ve had so far. The crust was amazing.
I asked if they had a stamp, and she gave me two, maybe because I was there twice?
It makes me happy to be back in the hotel before dark. Hopefully I sleep well tonight. Tomorrow is a big day!