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... Italian villages to pick up and drop off the locals going about their day - fascinating.
Arriving in Aosta, we weren't sure what to expect, but walking around, soon discovered the many ancient ruins from the days of the Roman Empire - arches, bridges, fortresses, towers, and even a huge Roman ampitheater.
The streets were made of stone and narrow and windy and fun ...
... uphill but since Aosta it has been pretty much uphill all of the way for 35km. It has been a great road though, with less traffic since the tunneled main road branched off. Just tourist traffic really - quite a few vintage cars and lots of motorbikes (on a Sunday). This will be our highest point for the trip, but there will be many more ups and downs still to ...
... today with some lovely sections and numerous interesting towns and villages. Sometime this morning we could see very distant mountains through the haze and they have very gradually drawn closer throughout the day. Where we are staying for the night we are well into the Aosta valley. We haven't climbed much yet but looking up the valley I imagine we are in for some significant uphill when we leave here in the morning! 140km on the clock for the ...
... bathroom -- the only one we had seen during the entire hike.
Dinner that night-- our last in Italy-- included spaghetti with good ole regular pasta, which made Barbara very happy. We shared a table with two retired French men who, lucky for us, spoke good English, and we swapped stories of our various travels.
Leaving the attractive village of Courmayer, we wished we had time to spend an extra day.
Right away we were hit with a very steep and rocky uphill that the guidebook had sugercoated in its decription as not that bad. It was bad. All in all, the steep downhill into Courmayer and the steep uphill slog to get out was the toughest part of the whole tour du Mont Blanc.