Today it rained. That’s really all I have to say. The thing with rain on a pilgrimage/hike is that not only are you getting very wet (which s***s) but you also kind of constantly look down. I bought a rain poncho and I’m very happy about that decision. However, the quality isn’t great so it ripped in two places. But even without those wholes you’re wet. Your face, your legs, most of all your shoes. Rain is dripping down the hood…. It’s simply very enjoyable! As you can imagine.
When we left Pontremoli this morning, the Canadians were already gone and we were yet to make the decision if we wanted to do a 34 kilometre tour or not. Well, with all the water… Anyway. It was still ok when we started walking and we followed some beautiful paths and little villages (all extra kilometres but for once we didn’t mind). When it started raining the fun stopped. A group of Italian pilgrims we had bumped into a couple of days ago in Cassio and who had stayed at the same places every night since, walked past us. Apparently our detours slowed us down a lot. We saw that they were walking down the road now and made the choice to follow suit. It was wet and busy with cars. Unpleasant! But a little shorter. When we reached Villafranca we really only wanted to stay there. It took us over an hour to search for a place to sleep. Finally we found the “parrocchia” which turned out to be a hotel. The owner gave us a pilgrim’a discount which I’m sure is the normal price! We took the room anyway. After a nap and having put out the shoes for drying, we went for a tour around town since it stopped raining for a moment. Stocked up on food for tomorrow, we are now ready to have a pizza dinner (which we didn’t get yesterday. Everything seemed to be closed so we ended up having our own food on the convents roof terrace with a view over Pontremoli, which was quite cool.) We are gearing up for a long walk of 34 kilometres tomorrow. This part of the Via Francigena is a bit nasty since eventually we’ll have to do a long tour of over 30k. I personally think between 20 and 25 is enough. We decided it’s better to do this march without your skin being wet. So I’m holding my thumbs for tomorrow… Send out a prayer (or other note) for us, if you feel like it 🙂
Apparently in the Italian mountains it’s impossible to have any internet connection. I’m very sorry. Quite some catching up to do.
So, yesterday we left Cassio in the morning after a great breakfast at the amazing Ostello. All uphill, we run into an Italian girl and a German guy walking in the opposite direction to Turin. We pass a cute little village and after a lot more uphill, horrible sweating and heavy breathing, we reach Berceto. Beautiful!
There we have a nice pick nick and then visit the market and the dome. On the way out we pay a visit to a lovely little patisserie to get one of their dolci for the road. We choose and the owner decides to “pay” for us. It’s on the house. Farewell pilgrims. Thank you so much!
After walking up and down through the bushes some more, we change into the road where our hostel for the night is. Ostello della Cisa. It’s not actually on the pass, so we only get to see that the next day. But we have dinner with our Canadian friends once more and the view is awesome. Btw, there are more African refugees here.
The walking wasn’t easy that day, but my feet, knee and shoulder are alright. So no complaints here.