Taking the Boat Across the Po

Day 45 – Sunday, September 15th – Corte St. Andre to Piacenza – 20 km                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

I was very grateful again for my buff, because there was a light from the building across the way that shown through the window right onto my pillow, but my buff completely blocked it. 

The boatman was coming at 8:30, so there was no rush in getting up. I think I was the last one out of the door, shortly after 8. Except for my new friend from last night, who wasn’t taking the boat. He was going the long way on the left bank of the river. He said the left bank was always better. In this case, I’m sure he was right.

Everyone was waiting for the boat already. Gavin and Jill were there, having come from Orio Litta. Everyone had their bags lined up in a queue. Yesterday Pierluigi said Danilo could take 14-15 pilgrims max, and we had 14 people. It was definitely a full boat! The boat was smaller than I had expected. The whole thing was quite different than what I had pictured.

He ended up taking us about 4 km downstream. Actually, I don’t know if it was down or up stream. It was a beautiful ride, and nice and cool. I’d be happy if it was that temperature all the time. The boat was not very fast. The whole thing took about an hour, so I don’t know how much time, if any, it actually saved. But it did save some distance, plus it’s just the whole experience of it all.

After we landed, we were at a little hosting area and he talked about some history, but none of it in English, so I don’t really know what he said.

Then we climbed up and over a road to his actual house, where he had a stamp, we paid him, and aligned his log book. He keeps track of how many pilgrims go in his boat and where they come from. So far he has transported 124 Americans total.

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Everyone started on their way down the road after they signed the book. He told us about a shortcut just ahead. I asked to go to the bathroom, so I was one of the last to leave.

Gavin and Jill were just ahead of me. When the road took a turn to the left, I checked my map, and sure enough, that’s where the shortcut was. Gavin and Jill had passed it, but realized their mistake and turned back. Everyone ahead of them had gone past it. We got there at the same time, so walked through together.

Hunting season has started, so we were hearing gunshots all morning, and we could see hunters walking through the fields with dogs. Must be some kind of bird hunting?

We connected back with the Via in front of everyone, and it wasn’t too long before we came to the first town. We stopped in a bar for a bit of breakfast. I had two pieces of cake, which turned out to be 3 E each. It was Milan all over again, without the table fee.

The 4 stopped in for refreshment as well, but the rest of the group passed on by.

We started walking again. My ankle really is going much better today. I am encouraged for the future. After a re-taping and a nice rest day, I hope it will be much better. I’ve been pretty worried about the 30 more days I have to go, which is a very long time! I told Gavin today that he might have just saved my Camino, for real.

Even though it was feeling better, I still can’t walk super fast. I’m still probably walking faster than I should, but not as fast I used to. I had a bit of trouble keeping up with Gavin and Jill. At least I wasn’t trying to walk with Petra and Marita!

Today was a lot of walking on busy roads with barely any shoulder. I really think today is give and take. If you take the boat and have that experience, you have a pretty crappy walk into Piacenza. If you don’t take the boat, you have a nice walker, but it’s longer, and you don’t get the boat experience. I’m not sure which is better.

We came to another town and Gavin and Jill stopped again. Jean Luc was there already. He hadn’t stopped at the first bar. We had planned on having dinner together again in Piacenza, but he said there was a problem with his hotel and it didn’t actually book. He had had a pay pal confirmation of payment, but then this morning it had bounced back. He ended up not being able to stay in piacenza at all and had to walk on. I would have been devastated!

From there the walk into piacenza was pretty bad. After we looped up onto an overpass to cross a dry river, it was a 5k straight shot into the city that felt a lot longer.

My pack was starting to rub badly. I was trying the flip flop thing today in my belt, and I think it will work, but it’s kid of difficult to position properly and it shifts while walking. I’ll figure it out.

I finally got into the old part of piacenza, which is actually really nice. I like the feel of it a lot; much more than Pavia. There are tons of churches here. I will try to see a lot of them tomorrow. 

I couldn’t check into my B&B until 2, so I found lunch. I ended up at a pizza place. I should have waited, because very close to my hotel was a restaurant that looked like it had a good lunch menu and it would have been cheaper. My pizza was 9.50, but with the cover charge, water, and side of vegetables, it was 17 E. They get you with all the extras.

I got a sausage, blue cheese, and porcini mushroom pizza. I think I actually don’t like porcini mushrooms. They are too soft and mushy. It’s totally a texture thing. Or maybe it’s because they cooked them in butter first and there was a lot of butter on the pizza, which is odd. I will not get that one again, and I think I will avoid all three of those ingredients for a while.

I also started getting a pretty bad headache, but I don’t remember if it had started before lunch or after. I might not have drunk enough today.

I got checked in to the B&B, which was a little dicey, since it’s more like a private residence than a hotel.

I have to say, I lucked out with the room. The bed is fantastic and the pillows are good. It had said there was a bathtub, but there is not. But there is a fan! 

I spent all afternoon lying in bed not doing anything remotely productive.

I messaged Gavin asking if we could meet up to re-tape my foot, since it was Sunday and the pharmacies were closed. It’s been a few days and the tape was starting to come off, and it’s definitely looser.

I met them for dinner in a square by one of the big churches. It was a great view! I wanted to avoid pizza, so I decided to try the lasagna for once. I won’t get it again. There wasn’t much of it and it was bland. I’m sure it’s not bland everywhere, with mushy noodles, but it will still probably always be an issue with portion size.

When I started dinner I still had a pretty bad headache, but the Tylenol migraine started working very nicely and I felt a lot better by the end.

We went to pay the bill and split it, but the guy wasn’t into it at all. The total was 45.50 and he charged me 10 and the rest to Gavin. But mine was actually 16. So I bought us all gelato afterward. It was delicious, of course! I got passion fruit, grapefruit, mint, and berry with some chocolate bits.

It was a lovely evening! I think this rest day is going to be great.

One Comment

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  1. I probably would have picked the boat too.

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