Friday, 13 July 2012

Tea with the Grand Admiral of the River Po!

The approach to Corte San Andrea, the jetty where Danilo Parisi meets you on the north bank of the mighty River Po, was long and very hot indeed.

Danilo, as I suspected, was a great breath of fresh air and soon we were all laughing and joking - restored by his company. The journey across the Po was every bit as momentous as I had expected and there followed a protracted lunch with... A degree of singing; dinner followed not long after and the singing continued - don't start sending recording contracts in the post just yet even though In The Dolphin's Wake is now in the top 100 iTunes travel audiobooks.

We arrived in noble Piacenza as Italy was recording record temperatures, by 10.30 yesterday morning it was already 35 degrees. Today is my last rest day for 12 days and an important chance to rest blistered and swollen feet; it is also here that I have bid farewell to Andreas and Jock Davis - to continue the route and return to London respectively. It has been more than good to have their company. Another notable farewell is to the mosquitoes that have ravaged our lives this past week or more - no tears shed there!

And so, South of the River Po, now begins arguably the hardest four weeks of the journey and possibly my life as I walk consistently long distances over difficult terrain as I climb into the Apennine Mountains and walk in 40 degree (110 F) days. It all adds to his remarkable experience of course and tomorrow I start out at 4.30 am; Rome, on the 9th August, is but 27 days away!

Photos: In Piacenza; signing the Pilgrim Register in Danilo's garden on the South Bank; the River Po; Cat of the Day; Chignolo Po Castello; Jock and HCB with L'Ammiraglio Grande del Fiume Po (Danilo!).

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