Day 48 – Thursday, September 19 – Costamezzana to Fornovo di Toro – 21km
I actually slept better than I expected. With my ankle taped, it’s more comfortable to sleep on one side than the other, so I woke up more just to turn over.
We had to be out by 8, but that wasn’t a problem. I wanted to leave earlier, but I also wanted to be a good pilgrim and wait for Veronica and have breakfast at the bar together. I was willing to skip it, but Oliver was so nice I think he would have been sad if I didn’t come for breakfast.
I got fresh squeezed orange juice and two pieces of cake. He only charged 4 E. Other places it would have been at least 8. I was very impressed.
I asked him if he would take a picture with us, and he was very happy to.
I also got a picture of just me and Veronica, and Veronica and Olaf. Olaf is named after who you think he is.
The weather said it was just supposed to be cloudy all day, but it ended up being a rain day. It just didn’t rain very hard. The clouds were very low, so it was very foggy, but up in the hills it also rained.
I retraced my steps from yesterday, but it looked very different from yesterday. I came across a hunting party with very boisterous dogs. I don’t know what they were hunting. Maybe pheasants? I saw one later.
After turning from where the castle was, I went through a field that got my shoes wet.
Then it was along the road for a bit, until it turned off onto more farm roads. These roads were MUD. I tried to walk on the grass, but I still collected mud on my shoes. Heavy, sticky mud. It gathered in a ball around the bottom of my poles. I tried to shake the mud off, and the snow guard came off as well. So I littered. I wasn’t about to pick through a ball of mud to retrieve it. Sorry.
Looking at my map, it looked like I could cut off a bit of the mud walking, but I had to go down a very steep hill of mud. I made it safely, but I might have gone through some private property. It’s kind of hard to tell.
That brought me onto the main road through Cella. Terri had said she was staying there with Emile and Petra, the ones pulling the carts. I sent Terri a message and suggested that they find an alternate route, because the mud would bog down those wheels. I can only imagine how messy that would be.
But the mud was not over. After leaving town, it sent me across a steam that I was very pleased I was able to cross without getting too wet, but it didn’t matter. My shoes got soaked afterward from walking through wet grass. But before that, it was up an incredibly long, steep, and muddy hill. This was the worst of it. And it was very slow going. The mud caked on my shoes until it looked like I was wearing snow shoes, but made of mud. If I shook it off, it just came right back. And it was so heavy. I walked as much as I could in the grass, but it still didn’t matter. So much mud. At the top of the hill there was a place I had to walk through that was pure mud, and it sucked at my shoes so hard they almost came off.
But then I was on a road, and I tried to knock as much off as I could.
Then it was through a wet, grassy field, which actually worked out nicely because it cleaned my shoes. But my feet were totally soaked.
I arrived in Medasano shortly before noon. It was a more modern looking town. Gavin and Jill said they were staying there tonight. I sent them a message about the mud and suggested a route that would bypass the hill.
From there it was another 7k to Fornovo. I had been hoping to get there shortly after noon, but that wasn’t going to happen.
I found a grocery on the way out of town, and bought some deli pizza and a muffin. I had my first walking lunch in Italy.
The Via routed through a more natural area near the river, or I had the option of going straight. I decided to go by the river, since it wasn’t much different.
After walking a good ways in, I had to cross a river, and there didn’t seem to be a way to do it without getting wet or taking my shoes off. But then I discovered if I went slightly downstream, I could cross without getting too wet by stepping on little stones that were barely visible. It worked, and I didn’t have to back track.
I went under a bridge and could see the second bridge in the distance that I would be crossing. There was a gravel plant by the river, and at some point I was supposed to go around it, but I got distracted and didn’t notice until I’d walked myself into the end of the road. I had to backtrack, or go through the plant. It looked deserted, so I took my chances. I could see where I had to go, but I had to go down an overgrown staircase to get there. The blackberry thorns tore at my clothes.
Once I made it down, it wasn’t far the gate, but a guy saw me and started yelling. I just kept walking. Oh well, I got lost? Of course on the other side there were signs about no trespassing. They should have had those on the other side, and then maybe I would have noticed I was off track.
I crossed the river on the long bridge, then walked into the square by the church. Another guy, Paul, was there waiting for the office of tourism to open so we could ask about the ostello. The book said it was an apartment near the church, but nothing was marked.
We waited for about 20 mins, and then an old guy came along and said he could show us. We had to go inside a bar tucked away on the back side of the church. We registered and paid, then went up to the apartment. 9 beds. I got showered and washed clothes and socks.
I got a message from Gavin asking if I was at such and such place in Fornovo. Yes I was. He said they had to come here, too. The place in Medasano gave their beds to someone else. How awful!
I went to have dinner with Paul. I got a salad that was actually very good.
On the way back, we saw Jill and Gavin wandering around, so we showed them where to go. Jill had called and talked to someone, but of course he didn’t write their names down, so they said they were “Emilio” in the book. Thankfully Emilio’s group never showed up.
What a day!
I took my taping off my foot because of all the wet and mud. I’m leaving it off for a bit to see how it does.
I went to dinner again with Gavin and Jill. Wasn’t planning on eating much, but then I got hungry. I had a plain Margherita pizza. It was really good!