My TMB didn’t end the same glorious way I’d thought it might: happy to be finished, glad to be starting the VF, done quickly and without much effort. Neither did my Via Francigena walk begin the way I’d imagined. After having gone out of my way to hike up to the Great St Bernard Pass, I took the bus up from Orsières.
Great St Bernard Pass
The border of Switzerland and Italy runs right down the middle of the lake at Great St Bernard Pass. A border building now stands empty.
Even if I’d read that the Great St Bernard Hospice – the white building on the right at the back of the photo above – only accepted guests who came up under their own steam, they took me in.
So I spent the day strolling from Switzerland to Italy, and back again. This is what it looked like from the Swiss side of the lake.
The big white building was an Italian military building. It no longer looks used. The middle building is a hotel.
It’s the tiny building on the left that’s worthy of note. This little café/restaurant serves some of the best tiramisu I’ve ever had.
There is also a small café with good coffee pastries, etc, on the Swiss side, behind the Hospice.
If you’re up to it, there are a number of small trails around the lake and a panoramic one next to the Hospice. This is the photo from above.
If you can, visit the Great St Bernard museum. I also got to see them walking their Great St Bernard dogs around.
“Nice job,” I said to one of the men taking them out for a stroll.
“Only in good weather,” he answered.