Day 16: Vercelli to Robbio

This morning we meet a Dutch guy in the convento at breakfast and agree to walk into town together since Günter and I also want to look at those very old churches before leaving. When we’re outside, he’s nowhere to be seen. We wait for ten minutes then leave. Rain has already started but is at a decent level. We set out to the town centre when the rain picks up and gets quite heavy. Günter and I decide there is no point in sightseeing in this weather so we make our way back in the Via. The rain increases and turns into some kind of waterfall. We walk on, knowing there will be a village after about ten kilometres for a little rest. It feels like forever since we get just so very wet. By the time we see a car under the highway bridge and Günter wonders what the guy might be doing there, I am soaking wet. My raincoat isn’t protecting me, water us running down my spine and stomach, even my feet inside my shoes start getting wet. I feel like I’m fully dressed in a shower. (I’m wondering later on if god was judging us for not waiting for the Dutch guy…) The thing is, if I was going home, I wouldn’t even mind. You just take a hot bath and put your things out for drying. On the Via, everything will stay wet for quite a while. Therefore, when you’re past the emotional caring, your reason jumps I and tells you, that this is stupid. So instead of wondering what the car is doing under the bridge, I approach the guy who owns it and politely ask if he’s going to Robbio. “That way. Straight on,” he replies and I point out that I was actually referring to him driving and taking us with him. He thinks for a moment and then tells us to throw our stuff in the back and jump in. Ok, should I be walking every kilometre of the Via to be a real pilgrim, is the question? Maybe. But seriously, it’s not supposed to be torture and I’m not willing to get ill and walk in wet shoes for blisters so that I have to quit in the end. So, judge me. I don’t care. It was the perfect decision. Because it kept raining for half the day. And this way, our shoes are nearly dry again. I need to point out however, that we’ve been truly blessed today. The Italian driver, I’ll just call him Luigi, saved us and the people in town were so generous. The lady at the church gave us umbrellas, several people pointed the way to the place to stay, unasked, the police showed us through and the community didn’t even let us donate any money for the stay but welcomed “due pilligrini con agua!” Where in the world does this still happen? Right, in Italy! In addition, you can go to a restaurant opposite the train station and order pasta for nine euros which is to die for. Elizabeth Gilbert knew why Italy got the “eat” part in her book… We only walked five kilometres today in impossible rain, but the day was simply amazing. Keep caring for others. And adapt to the situation. Onwards.

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