Number of kilometres today: 22.5
Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 1,134.5
Total steps since Canterbury: 1,607,642
This post will be short(ish) on words as it is almost mid-night and I need to sleep.
This morning I climbed up into the hills and the vineyard terraces for the final time. I was happy to do it although I may have sworn a couple of times on some steep rocky ascents and then laughed.
I walked quietly. I saw a fox eating grapes that had fallen from one of the vines. When he finally saw me taking photos he dashed off into some undergrowth and then who knows where. There hillside was filled with vines.
I decided to be kind to myself and walk the alternate route through the flat valley rather than take the main route and climb more hills. There was no pre-warning about fording the stream until I saw the instruction in my guidebook. Those words always make me nervous. It wasn't so bad. And the Red Beasts Mk 2 kept my feet dry although that water was cold. The coldness (not the water) infiltrated my boots.
It was as I walked out of the village of Quassolo after lunch that I realised the mountains were dissipating into rolling hills, spreading out and disappearing. I turned back to look towards the peaks and the valley from where I had walked. It was then I realised that I had walked across the Alps and left them behind. That's a pretty incredible feat in itself but I'm not done yet. My path is still leading me to Rome.
I thought I would have become some superhuman walker by now but I am not. My knees are holding up well only complaining on the hills. But my feet are pounded by my body weight and The Devil everyday. They carry us silently for the first four hours then start to let me know they are not happy about it.
Tomorrow is meant to be a 31.7 kilometres walk to Santhia. In France, I would have sucked it up and walked it but at the moment, I just don't want to walk that far. I know after 4 hours it is going to be painful and unenjoyable. So for the first time, I have decided to split a stage into two days and slow it down. I will walk around 21 kilometres to Viverone where I will stay by the lake and then walk the remaining 16 kilometres the following day. I am on track to make to Rome by 1st December. Time is on my side. I can afford to slow it down.
Top of Ponte-Saint-Martin
Walking out of Ponte-Saint-Martin amongst vine terraces.
Fox! No zoom. I really was this close to him.
Steep climb up some rocks.
Walking beneath the vines.
View towards Carema
I forded this stream!
Old door in Quincinetto
Interesting flume of cloud joining the mountains
This is when I realised I was leaving the Alps behind.
And so I kept looking back.