GTA – Encounters

Day 5

Today I walked alone yet had some interesting encounters.

The terrain was more agricultural.

Philippe took one look at me and recognised a like-minded hiker: light shoes and pack, equipped to be independent.

He had not got the memo and was walking south to north; most of us are going the other way.

His aim is performance and he has walked in 30 days what my book suggests takes 60 days.

We exchanged information about good bivouacs and restaurants, then got onto hard-core equipment issues. He even put up his super-light tent, one I have considered many times. Am I going to buy it …..

I do not know how long we talked, but it was fun.

On the other side of the pass I came to a road. Although it looked like nobody drove it, I decided to follow it and hitch-hike.

Angela gave me lift. We chatted between French and Italian. When we arrived at Varzo, I appreciated the ride all the more because it was a long way.

I went to Varzo only to get cash. Leaving was a challenge: no bus, no train, and no easy walk. Nobody offered me a lift either.

I walked along the road until it joined the main road. Suddenly I was in a bad place. This road was very narrow with barriers on both sides, lots of fast two-way traffic, and a tunnel ahead; walking it was not an option. Going backwards was not easy either.

A speeding small blue car pulled out of the stream and braked hard in front of me.

“I saw you were in a bad place and decided to give you a lift”, she said. We chatted easily and she drove me all the way to the Hospice de Simplon.

Where I ended up having a glass of wine and sharing stories with a senior Swiss politician (whom I had not recognised).

A good day for meeting people.

John

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