When will Switzerland love me like I love it?

     The hitching went pretty easy today between Leysin, Switzerland and here near Aosta, Italy. I spaced out at times while admiring Leysin from a distance and the mountain pass between the two countries, missing some potential drivers, but it didn’t matter. There were five rides including one woman, a few rides I turned down or they turned me down, and again some angry drivers gesturing at me with hostility. It’s common knowledge that I love Switzerland and I have been there probably more than 10 times and the hitchhiking goes well, but I can’t think of another country per capita where I get so many sourpusses. I was wearing my faded orange pants, which I admit can be rage-inducing, and I should have shaved, so maybe it was deserved.
     The key ride over the Grand St. Bernard pass was with a young guy who thankfully avoided the tunnel and drove over the scenic mountain. Plus, he had a Volvo convertible, which was good for photos.
     An old Moldovan-Italian man drove me down into Aosta. I gamely tried speaking Italian with him, which was a challenge after fumbling through French on the other side of the mountain, but I’m not so hopeless and I understand more than one would think.
     Hey, I’m in Italy! I have been here maybe five or six times, but many years ago except for one quick 24-hour visit in 2007. It feels very new. Tomorrow I thought of hanging around Aosta but Marco, my CouchSurfing host, has been telling me how easy it is to visit Courmayeur and the Mont Blanc–excuse me, Monte Bianco–region. It didn’t occur to me that it was so close. I have to take advantage of it. Time is precious and time waits for no one. (I really need to patent these phrases before someone else thinks of them.) Monte Bianco is the highest mountain in Europe at 4800 meters, but in Bolivia I was higher than that–in a car!
     I took a bus out to Marco’s suburb. Everyone always looks at me crazy when I ask if I need to have exact change for the bus, but in USA it is common and in fact in Los Angeles the bus drivers are purposely issued shirts without pockets because of all the filching.

     The Italian side of the pass to Switzerland

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