Leaving the Mountains Behind

Day 38 – Saturday, September 7 – Ivrea to Santhia – 38k

I had set my alarm for 5:45, but I woke up at 5 again, and about 10 other times. It’s kind of annoying, but I still feel like I’m getting enough sleep.

The butter smelled ok still, so I used it on my bread, along with a jelly packet. I also had a banana and a peach, and the worst croissant I’ve ever had, but the Nutella helped make it better. Italian croissants only look like croissants on the outside. They are very sad.

Even with the Nutella it was probably the least sugary breakfast I’ve had in a few weeks.

I went downstairs but the guy wasn’t here yet. I only had to wait 4 minutes, and I was out the door at 6:22. It was still fairly dark, but by the time I got out of town it was getting light. I didn’t feel like I was walking in the dark. It’s definitely the earliest I’ve left so far!

Even though I knew I had at least 36k to go, and realistically it would probably be more, I didn’t try to hurry. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Quite literally almost a marathon.

I settled into a comfortable pace that I knew was probably over 4 km an hour.

Walking out of town, of course, was on pavement, but I really, really hoped the whole day wouldn’t be road walking.

The path went kind of north into a less urban area, so it did turn into some gravel, but there were puddles everywhere from the rain the day before.

I also had to pee for the first time. Today was a peeing day, which is really, really annoying. I had to pee every hour. Actually, it’s more like I have to pee 15-20 minutes after I already peed, but it takes another half hour to find a place to go, so I spend all day feeling like I have to pee. I lost count but I went at least 7 times. I like the days where I only pee once or twice.

I actually saw a wild boar walking up a street! I hurried to get a picture, and I took some video. It was kind of far away, but I bet that pig was pretty good sized. Right after I saw the boar, I saw a panther. It came up for a petting and then was on it’s way. I actually saw a lot of animals today. I saw a deer, bunnies, frogs, a muskrat, a great blue heron, and hundreds of slugs.

Trying to go around one of the puddles my foot slipped in the mud and I got a little wet. Just a little. I didn’t think it would be an issue, even with another 30k + to go. The grass was very wet, and I had to walk through some of that. So even though I wasn’t walking in the rain, my feet did get a bit wet.

I think it routed us through this area just to see a lake.

The gravel didn’t last long, and I was back on the road. Today I went through a lot of suburb type housing places. 

I also went through a lot of vineyards.

I didn’t see any pilgrims today. I was the first one out of Ivrea, so those ones were behind me, and the others all stayed too far away for me to catch up to any of them.

I got to Viverone maybe around 11:30? Not really sure. It’s the next stop according to the book, but the town looked really… old and dirty. It did not look like a nice place to stay at all.

But it took more than 20k to reach Viverone, so that did not bode well for the total distance I’d be going today. At least I wasn’t walking in the rain, right?

When I look behind I see the mountains going away. I have been in the mountains for the past 37 days, mostly. It is weird to be leaving them behind, but I’m kind of glad for the break as well. 

It’s interesting, though. I don’t know exactly why, but my pack feels heavier than it did in the mountains. Maybe because I was walking differently, it carried differently? I know I am losing weight, so it sits differently. But my pack definitely feels heavier. And it pulls on my back differently. In the mountains I didn’t feel it much, and now I really feel it. I’m just not really sure why that is.

I did go through some really cute towns.

My feet were really starting to hurt. It was too much road walking. Around 28k I started looking for a place to take a rest. I’d passed a lot of benches earlier, but they were all too early for me to sit. I finally found a nice, flat-ish rock in some shade and sat for about 15 minutes. I do think it helped, even though I was limping for a bit when I got up and it took a while to get back into stride. I was able to figure out I still had about 10k to go.

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I started getting into more farmland type areas. Distances were straighter, longer, and there were tons of dragonflies and irrigation canals. I saw a crop I wasn’t familiar with, and then realized it must be some kind of rice. This is supposed to be a high mosquito area as well. Hopefully they aren’t bad right now.

I had to cross over a freeway, and the routing made me walk really far around and double back on myself. It would be a lot easier if they could just create some stairs down from the overpass. The extra walking was probably a kilometer.

If I had been able to find another place to sit, I would have taken another break. My feet were pretty unhappy with me. But I didn’t find a place so I just kept going.

I arrived at the ostello and was so relieved to be done. I met Mario coming out, and he showed me around. He had said there were going to be 11 pilgrims and I’d have to share a room. I was picturing 6 bunk beds in one room, so I was really, really hoping I wouldn’t be stuck with a top bunk. I think they have a lot more spaces than that. I’m in a little area with 3 beds, and I met a Frenchman in another room, Tony, but I haven’t seen anyone else yet.

I think there are more rooms upstairs. 

Since being in Italy, and not understanding much of anything at all, it always surprises me when I talk to someone who speaks French, and I really understand quite a lot. I am very grateful for the French I do know.

I talked to Tony for a bit. Well, he did most of the talking. For the past 11 years he does a new walk each year. He’s done the 4 major ones in France, and he’s done a bunch of the ones in Spain. Next year he will start from Rome then go to Naples and work his way up the Mediterranean and back to France. I hope he can keep walking for many years.

Tony just came back from the store and he brought me a banana. He also said the church was open and very pretty, so I’m going to go look at it before they close it.

They were getting ready for mass, so I didn’t take close up pictures of the front. It is gorgeous!!

I went back to the ostello to ask Tony where the supermarket was. He tried to explain but he didn’t really know himself, so he walked me there.

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I got some fruit and some bread for breakfast tomorrow. Places like this don’t usually have breakfast since it’s donativo.

I think we passed Frankie and Rick on the way, but I didn’t recognize them at first. They didn’t seem to recognize me, either. You look different without your packs!

Another guy, David from Belgium, showed up about 6:30. He speaks 6 or 7 languages! They are obligated to learn 3 in school. 

It ended up just being me and David for dinner. Italian is one of the languages he is only just learning, so a lot of the menu was a mystery. We chose one of the risotto options as the first course, but it was risotto with beans. I would not have chosen that. It was good, I just would have liked something else better. But David said we should be eating risotto for the next week, being in rice county. 

Second course was mystery meat, but mine ended up being like ribs and onions. It was delicious. Then a mixed salad for dessert. Really good value for a pilgrim menu.

When we got back there was a new guy who had just gotten there.

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