The past few walking days have seen me cover a lot of distance. Tomorrow instead of pressing on directly to Piacenza from Santa Cristina (about 40 kms), Michael and I will be stopping halfway at the parish accommodations in Orio Litto. While we have both done 35+ km days, that would mean arriving in Piacenza footsore and exhausted. Instead, we should arrive by early afternoon Monday, with several hours of daylight left to see the town, and in my case, do some shopping.
With my on-going foot problems, I've decided it's time to change my shoes. I'd been planning to do this in Pavia, but was in no shape to do so once we arrived shortly before sunset on Friday. I'll also be looking for some new socks. The hydrocolloidal bandages I've been using to patch my feet are great for the fragile skin covering a blister, but they tend to merge with the fibres of my socks, making removing said socks a delicate process and leaving a real mess embedded in them. (Washing them at a laundromat didn't help a bit, never mind by hand in a sink.)
I'm also hoping to visit some of the churches in Piacenza. One of the drawbacks to this type of trip is that I simply cannot see everything worth seeing. I need to keep moving on down the line. I'd really hoped to visit the Church of San Pietro Ciel d'Oro in Pavia, which houses the tomb of St Augustine of Hippo. One of the items in the museum in the archbishop's palace in Vercelli is the oldest extant book in Anglo-Saxon. That would've been cool to see, but so it goes.
My halting progress through northern Italy has provided me with some new experiences. On Tuesday as I was walking through the countryside, I passed a farm which had several emus stalking about a large enclosure. Those are some impressive birds!
Today while we were approaching a hamlet, Michael stopped excitedly at a tree alongside the trail, which was bearing pumpkin-shaped fruit slightly larger than an apple. I used my walking stick to knock several of them out of the tree for him to catch. I'd seen groves of these in the Aosta Valley and Piemonte, but they were always on private property. The cachi fruit were sweet, soft, and utterly delicious. On arriving at the hostel this evening, I went online and learned that they are persimmons. I'll be having one for breakfast tomorrow.
This evening, Don Antonio (the parish priest and our host in Santa Cristina) called the hostel in Orio Litto on our behalf, so we're expected there tomorrow. I'm not sure where we'll stay in Piacenza, but having an Italian as a travelling companion has made my nightly accommodation much, much cheaper (read, often free).
Michael went to Mass this evening before settling down to watch the Juventus match with the priest and a whole passle of youth, and there's no Orthodox Church within walking distance, so we'll set out again by 8:00 tomorrow morning. That being said, I'd best post this update and settle in for a well-deserved rest.