Hiking through medieval villages and castle Forte di Bard | Day 3 of Via Francigena from Arnad to Pont Saint Martin
It was the third day of Via Francigena trail when we hiked around 20 kms from the village Arnad to Pont Saint Martin.
We had a very quiet and calm night in the secluded forest place that we found yesterday. Luckily nobody came up to disturb us and that because of the camp spot we chose was not possible to see even up close. We slept for 8 hours straight and with fresh powers were ready to hit the trail. It was very hot and kind of stuffy at night and we slept almost without any clothes and were not using sleeping bags.
Having had our breakfast and wrapped everything up we started the day at 8am that was one hour earlier than yesterday but we still could do better.
All the first part of the day we were walking along the fields and mostly on pavement car roads with no shadow. That was absolutely killing because the sunlight was very strong and hot. And even wearing a hat the sun was striking our heads badly.
We passed through the village of Arnad where we were met by lots of loose dogs, ate our ice cream to start the day as a tradition and went forward. We noticed that there were quite a lot of water machines that were selling natural and sparkling water for 5 cents/litre. That wasn’t bad but considering that there are a lot of natural sources around it wasn’t that necessary.
Then we crossed the old river bridge and the most boring part of the trail started. It was all on the car roads and along the fields close to the highway. The only thing that was saving the situation a bit were the incredible rocky mountains that were very close to us. But the heat wave was real so we rushed to the closest village Hone to take a break.
Already from a distance we saw a big castle Forte Di Bard situated on top of the hill. It looked a bit scary to be honest and more like a jail but apparently that’s how it was built in medieval times. It was located on different levels and looked very massive. So we enjoyed the view of it for some time, took several shots and moved on.
We went through the village Bard and then met the steepest downhill of the day. The legs were already forgetting it after our Tour de Mont Blanc Hike. But it was quite short and then after walking along the side of a rocky mountain we got out to the old Roman route – part of which was conserved in its original state. It looked impressive with the huge rocks that was making a brick road and the cut part of the rock on the side. That was crazy to think how they were making it back then without any advance technologies we have now. The route itself was quite uneven though and we could not imagine someone’s passing in his carriage or cart smoothly.
Then because of the extreme heat conditions we decided to take a shortcut route to the campsite where we planned to stop tonight as we already were too exhausted to continue walking under the sun. So we had to skip the Pont Saint Martin village entirely and walk along the rails of the train for some time. Unfortunately the supermarket was closed for afternoon break but we didn’t really needed it that much so we continued on. We had another 5 kilometers to go and they weren’t the most interesting going along the fast car roads.
So we did somewhat around 20 kilometers for that day when we got to the campsite. This area was still quite industrial but the camping itself turned out to be very good. It was quite spacious and green with lots of space for the tents to choose from. There was even a little swimming pool. The facilities were clean and new. The price was around 17 euros for the night and they were kind enough to even make us a little discount.
Later that evening it started to rain for a bit but then it stopped. The rest of the day we were making our plans for the next days to come considering how hot it was and what was the trail like…