Back in January the The Mormon Society of St. James announced its fourth annual pilgrimage in August 2016, this time along the Swiss Road of the Via Francigena (St. Francis’s Way), the ancient trading and pilgrimage route from Canterbury to Rome.
Since plans have solidified somewhat since the initial announcement, I’m posting this update to encourage those who may be on the fence to consider joining us.
We still plan to begin the pilgrimage on Monday, August 8, 2016 in Aigle, Switzerland and reach Grand St. Bernard Pass on Friday, August 12, 2016. However, feel free to come late, leave early, not walk the entire length (busses are available) or otherwise tailor the trip to your needs.
Over five days we will cover about 75km, starting at about 400m above sea level and ending up at 2460m. For those who still have sore feet from previous trips, this is a shorter walk than in years past, and the daily stages are likewise generally shorter than what we have done before. I am hoping that the only things epic about this trip will be the views and the company. Here’s how it breaks down:
1. Aigle to St. Maurice: 15.1km (flat)
2. St. Maurice to Martigny: 16.4km (flat)
3. Martigny to Orsières/Champex-Lac: 19.3km (uphill)
4. Orsières to Bourg-St. Pierre: 13.2km (uphill)
5. Bourg-St. Pierre to Col du Gd St. Bernard: 12.4km (uphill)
It goes without saying that Switzerland is an expensive country and August is generally an expensive time to travel. However, sharing rooms can help contain costs once you arrive. To give you an idea of what’s possible, a number of us have booked accommodations for as low as about $15/person/night in a dorm or $45/person/night in a double room. Availability is limited since we will be traveling through small towns.
The closest international airport is Geneva (GVA), though Basel (BSL) and Zürich (ZRH) are also easily accessible by rail.
If you have any questions, drop by the Facebook event page linked above. See some of you in August!