Today is the big day. We are flying to Milan. In many ways, we are less prepared for this walk than any other. In one other way though, we are more prepared. Let’s find out which way wins.
Normally, I study the language of the country we are going to for months ahead of our walks. I want to at least be able to ask directions, make reservations and hold simple conversations with people we come in contact with. This time, I didn’t. We will be in Italy for ten days and then France for a few weeks before coming back to Italy on the way home. I am bad enough at one European language. I can’t study two. I have studied and used both French and Italian before but never used either enough to hope to remember anything. I’m counting on Google Translate.
Melanie was walking ten kilometers a day and climbing stairs until she had a medical issue and stopped a month ago. I was also walking ten to twelve kilometers a day but just got bored walking on flat Singapore asphalt. I mostly stopped walking a month ago too. We will have about a week of walking on flat land in Italy before we hit the mountains. I hope that is enough for us to get into shape. If not, the first few days on the mountains will be hell.
Normally, I am pretty much packed for a walk a week ahead of time. That ensures that gear is in good order or I have time to replace or fix things. This trip, I just finished packing. There is still seven hours until take off but that cut it close. One problem was finding Woolite. I use that for laundry and had not realized that we didn’t have any more in the house. Last night, I was racing around Singapore to different grocery stores and no one had any. Melanie wisely just started calling stores today and found it easily. Women are just smarter. I did, however, start re-waterproofing my gear last weekend because that takes time. I am just a semi-procrastinator.
The one way that we are better prepared is that we have one more year of experience in long walks, compared to last year. Every year we do this, we learn something new. Every year we do this, we know we can look back and say “well we climbed 1,200m one day a few years ago, we can do it again” or “we walked across a desert, today’s trail shouldn’t be a problem”. All that makes a big difference. After all, we are just walking. It’s as much mental as physical. We have the mental part locked in pretty well. I hope. Maybe. We’ll see.
Next stop – Milan. We’ll overnight there, then go by train to Vercelli. There is one night there and a short, warmup walk before the real trail begins. Keep us in your thoughts. Also , send me a message if you want any prayers said along The Way. We stop in churches a lot.