That was much better today. We had perfect overcast weather and it was cool 60°F (15.5°C). That’s my kind of walking weather. Also, there were a few tiny changes in elevation that difference was a very pleasant change from the last two days. Walking on perfectly flat land is boring and it conditions your muscles in a bad way. At the end of a flat walk, we have trouble just stepping up on a curb. The little ten meter ups and downs today made a huge difference for us.
Before I go on about today’s walk, I have to mention some things we learned about Nello, our hospilero from last night. He has walked from Turin to Santiago in one go, in 79 days. Respect! It’s going to take us three months over three different years to do that. Also, he cooks a fantastic fettuccini Alfredo. That was our dinner last night with spinach, chicken cutlet and wine. Delizioso!
The trail today was about 2/3s on gravel or dirt tracks or vegetation. We didn’t have to bash through anywhere. The blacktop and sidewalk sections were few but about 1.5 to 2km each so there were no long stretches of that. A good portion of the walk was along irrigation channels, railroad tracks and a canal into Chivasso. It was all quite pleasant.
There appeared to be two places to stop today for a break but we only managed one of them. We skirted the village of Saluggia around 10am. The trail barely touches the town and we weren’t too keen to try exploring for a bakery or café that early on Sunday morning. Closer to lunchtime, the trail led us to the center of Castelrossa where there was some sort of motorcycle festival going on. They were selling food but we had a simpler snack and lemon soda in the local café.
As we reached the edge of Chivasso, I could not be surprised when Melanie greeted a woman like an old friend. I have been on too many trips with her when she bumps into an old classmate, ex-colleague or distant cousin in places like Paris, New York, Sienna, the Cambodian jungle, etc. It turned out that today’s reunion was less spectacular. Melanie and a lady getting into her car recognized each other from 4km earlier, in Castelrosso where she was getting out of her car as we left town. The woman must have wondered if we were following her but we had a nice chat explaining what we were doing.
There is also a festival going on in Chivasso which made the final kilometer to our hotel pass quickly. There were stall-holders selling wine, cheese, cookies, garlic, candy, and dozens of other things. There were also simple games set up for kids to play for free. I don’t know what is being celebrated, but there is confetti all over the street. There looks like a band being set up in the parking lot across the street. I hope it doesn’t go on late into the night. Just in case though, we have ear plugs.
After last night’s hostel, we’re back in a hotel again tonight. We took a chance and didn’t make reservations. We need to stop doing that. As we came in the front door of the hotel on the far side of town, we were told that there were no more room. They must have been moved by the outburst of tears from both of us because one of the receptionists pointed out to the other that maybe one room was free. We snapped it up. They said it would take five minutes to get ready so we waited in the lobby and watched —- as they argued with each other for ten minutes before one of them disappeared. Two minutes later, our room was ready. Happy days.
For those following us, today was the first day we could follow the trail by the yellow arrows (or white arrows towards Rome). Sometimes they were hard to spot and many times they were glaringly obvious but with a good eye and some luck, the trail could be followed by the arrows. That said, I still highly recommend a smartphone GPS app as a backup and for reassurance. Some apps are free, easy to use, don’t need any data so your phone can be in airplane mode. What’s not to love?
We are heading out now back to the main church to see if we can get a stamp in our credentials. We need one stamp every day to be able to stay in any of the hostels or gites in France.