Obviously the best day to do a 25 km walk with minimal shade is a muggy, hazy day, one where you can’t see any distant scenery and sunburn is inevitable. It’s what anyone would do, right? Guys?
At any rate, it’s what I did last Saturday. In numbers:
- Hours in advance I’d planned this: 12. I was feeling energetic Friday night, and at some point I decided I should continue with this ‘walking to Rome‘ business. A bit of quick Google-map-ing and I figured I knew what I was doing.
- Kilometres originally planned to walk: 13.5. You know, a reasonable 2-3 hours. But “just in case I was feeling extra energetic”, I looked a bit further ahead and planned a longer route: Chivasso-Lamporo, ~20 km on the via Francigena and then an extra 4.5 km Lamporo-Crescentino train station. Really, given the option of a longer walk, what did I think was going to happen??
- Number of snakes spotted: 3. “There are no venomous snakes in Piemonte” became my motto. If that isn’t true, please don’t tell me. The worst was when a snake and I startled each other on an over-grown bit path, one of the few bits of the route that wasn’t a road. “Oh my goodness!” I sad aloud. Fortunately, the snake didn’t reply. That was the one point I wished I was with a group, so I could be the one faux-cheerfully saying “There are no venomous snakes in Piemonte, let’s go!” It’s less convincing when no-one is listening.
- Number of frogs: dozens. As I was walking next to irrigation canals they’d jump in when I went past. Plop, plop, plop. I whistled “Galumph went the little green frog” as I walked. I hope the frogs only know the first verse and chorus.
- Number of corn fields: All of them. Every single corn field. So. much. corn. I was so excited when I came across a rice field towards the end of the day. If I were an actual pilgrim, I’d be doing insanely long days just to get out of the plains as quickly as possible. But… there is something to be said for long boring walks. After the first hour or two, you start to accept that nothing much is going to happen, and you end up doing all the thinking and daydreaming you’d been putting off for the past while.