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Yeb Saño shares what it has been like to walk through the "divine and spiritual" Great St Bernard Pass of the Alps.back to listing
For the last 24 hours, our group has been walking up with the Swiss Alps to reach the Great St Bernard Pass. After spending the night 8100 ft (2469 m) above sea level at Hospice du Grand-Saint-Bernard, a historical shelter for pilgrims passing through, we're now walking down the Alps towards Geneva. I’ve had such a powerful experience here because of the Alps. Especially for people who live in the tropics, it’s overwhelmingly beautiful scenery, but also it reminds you of the powerful divine forces around you.
It’s a very spiritual experience.
Crossing the Alps represents a lot of meaningful things, including the fact that it is probably the biggest physical obstacle between Rome and Paris that we have to overcome. And it’s not just a mountain — it’s a cold mountain at this time of the year. So getting through it [crossing the Alps] in this long journey is quite possibly the most important metaphor we can encounter, in the context of the contrast related to climate change.
The People's Pilgrimage on top of Great St Bernard PassStaying at the Hospice du Grand-Saint-Bernard for me was like being transported back into the past. The Great St Bernard Pass has a rich history which we were able to learn more about — it is the most ancient pass through the Western Alps and has been an important route for pilgrims in ancient times and until today.
The People's Pilgrimage with Hospice du Grand-Saint-Bernard in the backgroundA key teaching of St Bernard we learned was “Deeds, not words” and it is something I think speaks to our mission of what we're trying to do. The People’s Pilgrimage represents climate action. It represents also, in a political way, that the time for talking is long over.