We arrived safely in Aosta this evening, after an eventful three hour train ride through both green and snow-capped mountains during a thunderstorm. The Italian trains aren't exactly Amtrak quality, and there was a huge leak overhead, which spilled several cups of water on us while we were sleeping. It was more funny than anything though.
Fede was waiting for us at the train station, and then took us back to her place in a CAR. We've been walking about 10 miles a day (no exaggeration -- we are on our feet from about 9am - 12 or 1am every day), so the car was a welcome surprise. Fede then showed us to our room, which is super clean, neatly decorated, and private! Her entire apartment is immaculate. We honestly could not ask for better accomodations. She is extremely sweet, is conversational in English, and apparently I've impressed her with my Italian. She said I am the first American woman she knows that can speak Italian! (I told her that sadly, it is rare for a public American school to offer more than Spanish, Latin, and maybe French.) We just found out that none of the others going on the hike tomorrow speak English, so I will be speaking Italian all day! Mark speaks Spanish to the Italians and most of the time they look at him like he has six heads, but occasionally he gets away with it. =)
Fede had to go to work tonight, and does not come home until 6am. She'll then sleep most of the day, leaving Mark and I free to relax tthis evening and catch up on all that sleep we missed last night. Then tomorrow we can walk around the town, and enjoy the goregous views before our hike. There may be a Brasilian couchsurfer coming tonight as well. Mark and I have really enjoyed getting to know other international travelers.
Just wanted to update about our arrival in Aosta. Since we will be sleeping in the mountains tomorrow, I probably will not post again for a few days. If you don't hear from us by Tuesday, it means we got eaten by bears. Ciao a tutti!