Day 21: Santa Cristina to Calendasco

It’s my birthday today. I’m now twenty nine years old. Still not thirty, that is. So all day, that’s what I celebrated. Firstly by walking via streets and paths along railroad tracks to Miraldo Terme, which we shouldn’t have passed. Again, like so many times before the track has been changed and poor little pilgrims have to walk extra kilomtres. That’s already annoying in general. Today, however, it’s even more so, because we left late (since I had to check my birthday messages) and don’t have much time to be at the river Po at noon to catch the ferry. We do believe that the guy will wait some minutes for us though. So we make our way through bushes and fields, including a fair amount of churches, along a beautiful castle (which I decide to move into) in Chignolo Po, and finally onto a dam. The whole path there has been newly built especially for pilgrims. It looks amazing.

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After a freaking long march across that stupid dam in the heat we finally make it to the ferry.

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We are twenty minutes late and he, the private person who offers this service, didn’t wait for us afterall. Eventually we manage to reach him via phone and he tells us he’ll be there at 4pm. It’s 12.30…. So we wait…

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He finally picks us up with his friends on board. It’s not a ferry btw but a small ship that races across the river to the other side in about five minutes. I mean seriously, he couldn’t fit that in at 1pm? Anyway, I read a book while waiting so never mind. We arrive to something like a party and are offered beer and also cake when they hear it’s my birthday. We get the stamp and move on.

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The restaurant for the second stamp of today turns out to be the same thing. Shame. I’m a little disappointed. Hours of waiting, no real ferry and just one stamp so far…
We walk on past tomato fields to Calendasco.

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The hostel doesn’t seem to be what we thought it was either the room is VERY basic and the English dude doesn’t seem too nice. More African refugees here btw. It’s so strange how you hear in the news that they are in Italy but only realise they really are when you get here and see them. I hope they’ll be well. We try to find a place to eat but everything is closed. Well. It’s Monday. I should have known. A guy we ask offers to drive us to a trattoria and the menu is amazing. We have too much food and too much wine. We then walk the 1.5 kilometres back to Calendasco. We try to hitch but no one stops. Instead they turn on their brights and speed up. Great.
We return to our hostel. Enea the English (son of the) owner has done our laundry, with a mashine, it smells so nice and clean. But it isn’t dry so he offers us a beer while waiting. He drinks with us. After learning it’s my birthday he decides it’s necessary to drink more. He even brings out tiramisu as my birthday cake. So we keep on drinking beer after beer. Apparently they have to take in the refugees. It’s their second round and this time it’s much better. One of the former refugees is now his kitchen aid. Enea says he’s a good guy. I think he made the tiramisu. Well done. Thanks!

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Finally we have to go to bed. Taking our fresh clothes with us. I’m happy. It’s been a great birthday on the road. Thank you Günter and Enea. Tonight was awesome. All the best to all of you too.
My feet are in a lot of pain by the way. The tendons are blue and swollen. Not a good sign if you ask me.

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Ps: I know I am a little behind on showing pictures, but don’t think the garden gnomes have disappeared. Happy to share them with you…

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