This post comes very late; the reason will become clear as your read further.
I had decided to stay off highways from start to finish. Despite the 535 km total distance, I made little headway; there were another six hours to go, mainly due to the many speed restrictions.
Chur – Switzerland
After driving for about four hours, I decided to overnight at Chur in Switzerland. From the outside, the hotel I spotted seemed to be a simple set-up. Once inside I realized I was at one of the Romantika 4 star hotels. By Swiss standards, the 90€ (US$ 102) price tag for a single room and breakfast – internet included – was very reasonable. Dinner, on the other hand and in relation to the room, was pricey.
Everything about the stay was perfect, from friendly reception to attentive restaurant staff. My room was spotless and in a quiet part of the hotel overlooking the mountain.
The scenery along the way varied from pleasant green rolling hills to spectacular mountain and lake vistas. Lago Maggiore was shimmering under the hot August sun. This immense body of water (64+ km/40 mi long), is the largest lake of Switzerland in Canton Ticino, and the second largest lake of Italy.
Once I reached the outskirts of Aosta, near Turin, I was about 40 km from my destination. The secondary roads were busy, it was Sunday afternoon, and people were making their way home. We had left most of the curves behind, the road ahead was straight and speed limits were between 60 and 70 km.
All at once, a driver from the oncoming lane plowed into mine. Crash! Full impact. I had tried to avoid the other car by swerving away and into the nearby field but time and momentum were against me. (You can read the full story in my Musings post: http://wp.me/p5pDP5-J)
The GPS mutely communicated that I was 4 minutes way from my destination…
The emergency ward at the one and only hospital in Aosta was chaotic. Staff running to and fro. A room full of people on gurneys waiting to be examined. The hours of waiting a blur; it was late when X-ray results revealed that I had sustained four cracked ribs and lots of contusions, mostly on the right side. It was very difficult and painful to breathe. My mind was all over the place and it took every ounce of effort to focus on questions and procedures.
The next day, after undergoing further tests, the good news was that the ribs hadn’t pierced any organs. I broke down in tears when the doctor said I’d have to spend another night at the hospital. I assured her that I would get worse if I stayed one more night. She relented and discharged me.
Adriana and Andrea Duc, the owners of Maison Noé where I was supposed to have holidayed, had kept in touch and had checked-in on me. They had offered all kinds of help. They took me to their Maison in the mountains after shopping for gluten-free food and essentials. I stayed there about a week, then returned home by train thinking it would be the least painful option. It wasn’t. Fortunately there were few train transfers and train personnel were waiting for me to wheel me to the next train.
Adriana and Andrea went out of their way to assist with local police, insurances and so on. I couldn’t have asked for kinder and more compassionate hosts! I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to Maison Noé knowing that I’ll be in good hands. I will go back anyway; there is so much that awaits discovery.
Revire – Arnad
The first night at the Maison was tough; the smallest movement produced searing pain and it was difficult to sleep in a sitting position… Next morning I went for breakfast at a snail’s pace, thankful that I had my walking stick with me, a worthy and supportive companion during my stay.
The B&B is surrounded by mountains. How I longed to explore the trails, the castles, the abbey and ruins tucked away between valleys! All that would have to wait for another time. For now, I was thankful to be alive. All I could do was sit in the garden and take in the beauty around me. After only a couple of days, I could breathe normally and without much pain. It’s not for nothing that people with lung afflictions are sent to convalesce in sanatoria, built in the mountains for that very purpose.
I praised God for His magnificent and perfect creation. This side of the Aosta Valley is fairly untouched compared to the more touristy and popular side of the valley.
Andrea Duc explained the history behind Maison Noé. It had been built in the 1600s, as was the rest of Revire, a tiny medieval village, which had been abandoned after the war. The village used to have a school, vineyards and even a notary. Andrea bought the Maison from the heirs of Noé Perrieur. It took him four years to restore this six-room house and work on another project.
Local valley residents have been restoring the ancient stone structures, breathing new life into them. Some building still wait to be reborn. Nestled in the mountains, the village’s location is idyllic. From the road below, one can’t even tell it exists.
Nice thing about this B&B: once a room has been booked and the room number communicated, the key is left on the latch (all rooms have external access), which is great for those guests arriving late at night.
For anyone looking to get away from the hectic pace and noise, you will find rest, silence and solitude at this B&B surrounded by picturesque vistas. Whatever your favorite outdoor pastime, you’ll find it in Arnad and at Maison Noé. I highly recommend it.
I should mention that Andrea Duc is an accomplished guide and trekking guide. He is an avid hiker and mountain climber, and has organized alpine climbs for groups in different parts of the world. So if you’re looking for something special in the way of hikes, he’s the man to contact.
A huge thank you Adriana and Andrea for all your care! I’ll be back 🙂
Today, six weeks later, I’m still at home. I’m almost pain-free and ready to return to work next week. It has become easier to write for longer periods of time, although I can’t overdo it yet. One step at the time…