Day 23: July 12, 2008MODANE WAS THE HALFWAY POINT in our projected walk from "Geneva" (actually Evian-les-Bains) to Nice, and we were finally there. We'd never been actually certain of our daily totals: distance traveled is hard to track because of all the hairpins; walking speed is inconsistent because of grade and terrain; even elevation change is uncertain because of frequent fairly small (but cumulatively significant) gains and losses of altitude. But for what they're worth here are my estimates for the first half of the walk:
After a rocky start we had hit our stride, as you might say; we'd walked the last ten days without taking a day off, averaging more than ten miles a day. I'd long planned to take a day off here, in order to show Henry and Mac the Italian side of the border: the valSusa, leading from the ski town of Bardonecchia down to the small city of Susa.
walking days: 19 rest days: 3 distance walked: 274 km (170 miles) (average: 15 km (9+ miles) per day hours walked: 128.6 (5 days 8 hours) (average: 6 hours 40 minutes per day) elevation change: 25,580 meters (83, 920 feet) (average: 1350 meters (4400 feet) per day
We got up fairly early to walk to the bus station, took the bus to Bardonecchia, then the train to Chiomonte, where Lindsey's father was born. As we walked into town it began to rain. We took refuge in the one café-bar in the center of town; then I bought an umbrella in the one haberdashery and we walked the town, including a visit to the cemetery to see Henry's great-great-grandfather.
Chiomonte under the rain
I got a haircut while we waited for the bus down into Susa, a town I like; there we did another walkabout — having bought the umbrella, the rain stopped, of course — had lunch, and took the train back to Bardonecchia where we had dinner while waiting for the bus back to Modane. Strange, all these motorized conveyances; strange, covering all these kilometers so quickly. Tomorrow we'd be back in harness.