Modane to Valfrejus

The hotel kindly gave us an early breakfast so we could get to the station in good time. At the station there was an anxious moment or two when it seemed as though the train to Modane, for which we had tickets, didn’t exist. It transpired that there was a train but it wasn’t going to go the whole way, and a bus would be necessary for the last part of the journey to Modane, where we could pick up the walk where we left off last year, with the inevitable long climb out of the valley.

There were two possible routes out of Modane. One shorter but steeper than the other. We chose the latter, which in places was steep enough to make us wonder what the other one was like.

After buying some lunch at the supermarket, the path took us out of Modane, and though a tunnel under the A43, which is the main road through to Turin. We went under it just before it disappears into an enormous tunnel taking it into Italy.

Looking back into the valley

We followed a sort of pilgrim trail with ‘stations’ starting with the nativity and telling the story from there. Some of them were quite interesting but others spectacularly unattractive.

Contemplating one of the ‘stations’

They were also a bit unreliable as measurements of distance being unequally spaced, and when we got to the crucifixion I thought we must have nearly arrived somewhere, but we still had Resurrection, Ascension, Pentecost and the Assumption of Mary still to go.

But after all that we came to the Sanctuaire Notre Dame du Charmaix, a chapel attractively built into the rock, where we had lunch.

From there it was just another 15 minutes to Valfrejus, which is a modern ski resort, complete with lots of burger bars, but a ghost town in summer. That does mean though that we were able to find a little apartment for the night incredibly cheaply. About half the tiny flat is taken up with cleaning materials- a not very subtle hint I think.

A short day to start the walk, so I am now sitting in the shade of a tree in a flowery meadow writing this.

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