Day 5: Orsières to Bourg St. Pierre

This morning Mery decided to continue on the road while I made up my mind to hike the mountain trail. Günter and Luana went the same way. We climbed up steep hills, sweated a lot, saw the most beautiful landscape, walked in silence and shared some jokes. This is a thing I love about a pilgrimage. You could do it all on your own, but it’s so nice to know that other people are there too. You can take a break together, push each other, take care of each other, get lost together, laugh together and point out little things to one another which are only interesting right there and then. No posting of a photo and a stranger’s comment can come close to this feeling. And still, walking in silence, being alone and at peace with yourself is so much part of a pilgrimage. It’s amazing to meet the right people on the way. People that feel the same way, people that like to walk in silence also but then share a bottle of wine with you in the evening. Today we arrived pretty early, around 2pm, since we decided to only do 15km, rest well and climb the pass tomorrow. However, we just found out that tomorrow there shall be snow. Well. We’ll see.

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After our arrival we hung out in the village. There isn’t actually much to do, but a pilgrim is busy anyway. It’s like a ritual. You arrive, you hang up your clothes, maybe do some washing (if there is a chance that things will dry), have a shower, deal with your feet (open blisters, massage, cream), and basically unpack everthing. You have to put it all back in there in the right order the next day anyway. And the. You rest, recover for the next day. Today, relaxing included a bottle of red, which we drank from our aluminium cups on a bench in the street. Pure class.

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During dinner we talked about how Luana, who is only in her fourth day of a pilgrimage ever, is worried about the pass tomorrow and not sure she will arrive in Rome. It was the same for me on the Camino de Santiago. Now it’s different. I learned in 2012 that a pilgrimage means not to worry about the next day but to simply get up in the morning, pick up your backpack and walk as far as your legs will carry you. When ever you need a breack, you take one. If you can’t go on, you stop. And I know one thing for sure: I will get to Rome! Last time was so horribly painful that it was basically impossible to get there since I couldn’t actually walk anymore. And still, I did it. So for me, there is no doubt of wether I make it to Rome. I’m not sure how and when, but I will walk onto St. Peter’s Square one day in September this year. Until then, it’s the way that counts, not the destination. Bon marche.

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