Actual: Admiring the brilliant blue sky, strewn with vapour trails, and visiting the magnificent Forte di Fenestrelle.
Best bit: A truly magnificent Fort.
Cumulative to date (planned in brackets):
402 km (390), 29100 metres ascent (29300), 150 hours (roughly!) walking (159).
No of summits visited: 7
No of cols or passes visited: 57
Highest point: Point Joanne - 3054 metres
No of native English speakers met/seen from a distance: an American coach party.
Hours waterproofs worn: 1
I've tried to send a few emails from our webmail facility during the past month. I know that works from internet cafés (we haven't found any), but I don't think it's working using the Blackberry phone. I tried! So apologies to those people whom courtesy deserved a response or contact. We will be in touch in a month's time. Meanwhile, text messaging to us should work fine.
Notchy, of course, knows the number and is continuing to entertain us with his World News Service. Thank you, Notchy, and we hope the Field Kitchen continues to function.
(Notchy is our good friend at home whose kitchen has been relocated to his garden during house renovations.)
Stephanie, who together with Ulrike came to our salvation for an evening at Campo Base, - Hello - we did enjoy that evening, and we hope Ulrike got over her temporary lack of practice with the Italian language. Thanks for your message Stephanie, and keep in touch.
Roman (Lighthiker) - thanks also for your messages. We don't mind the ups and downs, the GTA is indeed a fine route. But we will be leaving it after tomorrow to follow our own IBR to Usseglio. Then we follow the GTA to Fonti Minerale before finally deserting it in favour of Gran Paradiso and the Alta Vias of the Aosta valley. So we won't be visiting Susa, or Rocciamelone. The GTA beyond Fonti Minerale will remain a treat for another day.
Hello Volker and Eva-Maria. We enjoyed our time with you in the quaint Posto Tappa at Balsiglia. And the strawberries were lovely. The German weather forecasting station you put me on to is excellent. I'm not going to disable the images as I like to look at the page full of yellow circles!
Hello Rodney and Christine in Shropshire. Rest assured, I will return with vigour to the little problem with B-T on my return in August.
The camp site is very quiet, mostly occupied by fixed caravans and cabins whose owners aren't here. Apart from the extortionate pricing, it's very pleasant. It has three very big long buildings (each 60 x 10 metres), partly used for the site facilities, but curiously out of place on a camp site. Strange.
Military antiquities perhaps.
The fort offers only guided visits - 7 hours, 3 hours, or 1 hour. We chose the 3 hour version, with an Italian guide, Michel.
The fort is big and complex. We went about a third of the way up it, rising 200+ metres in the process. There are 4000 steps to the top. It fell into disuse in 1920, except as an ammunition dump, and crumbled significantly until 1990 when renovations started. We soon realised why only guided tours are allowed - there are lots of crumbling bits of building, numerous mysterious tunnels, etc. It would be a wonderful place to explore, but maybe a bit dangerous!
Michel did his best to educate us, but to get a guide who speaks English you need to pre-book at least 10 people. This afternoon the fort had just us and 20 Italians as customers for the guided tour of this remarkable place.
We thought the fort would be a major tourist attraction. Wrong! No French, no Germans. Just some rather solemn Italians and us.
Then it was back to a delicious 7 course alfresco dinner outside the tent, on what would be a perfect evening for an outdoor concert.
It has been another lovely day - not even any high cloud.
What will expire first?
Pot cosy (looking battered), my Tilley hat (developing holes) or Sue's boots?
My own Asolo Fugitive boots were new for the trip, so I brought some Nikwax proofer for them. I left that at Balsiglia after the boots had seen their first rain since 18 June in the Peak District when they were brand new. There seems no point in proofing the uppers when water seems to flow freely into the boots through a space between the uppers and the soles! I shouldn't complain though, they really are very comfy.
That's all. Another 'rest day' has just flashed past!