Not long after Turin everything begins to change as we wind up and into the Susa valley. The riding is only a gentle climb at the entrance to the valley, but we have clearly arrived in the Alps. The mountains rise up on either side of the valley, jagged and majestic. The treeless alpine areas are just above us. Yesterday Gord mentioned that it’s like Canmore, but with castles, and medieval villages, and gelato. So really not like Canmore at all, but he was quick to point out that there is probably gelato in Canmore too.

The climbing begins in earnest at the town of Susa. The valley narrows to a wall and there is no way through but up. I’m on the state road heading towards Monginevro Pass. We are breaking our climb into three days to ultimately arrive in Briançon, France on July 4th.

Gordon:  Tonight we are staying at about 900 metres in the village of Exilles. And yes, it is a medieval town with a castle and gelato.  Today is a special day, as it is the feast of the patron saints (Peter and Paul).  There was a market all afternoon and several hours of music.  The band had two accordions and a hurdy-gurdy, and they were performing timeless folk dance music.  Most of the (older) crowd in attendance knew all of the remarkably varied and intricate dances.

The town itself is a wonder to walk through.  There are any number of almost subterranean passages, with irregular streets and ancient wooden doors.  It reminded us of the choras in Greece.

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