Day forty-seven: Ivrea to Santhia

For the first time on a Camino, I set out from the accommodation in heavy rain. The complete set of dry bags was pressed into action and proved their worth. The new boots are labeled ‘waterproof’, which I can now verify through field testing. Unfortunately what it means is that one water gets into the boots, it is there until you take the boots off and pour the water out.
Today I parted ways with P. We walked together through the old town of Ivrea until our routes diverged. She was following the official route more closely than I was (despite my cross country short cut, I still did 37 km for the day). Conveniently there was a cafe at the junction, so we had a farewell cappuccino together. We first met in Switzerland and initially just walked down into Italy together, but we enjoyed each other’s company so we ended up walking together for several days. Having a Camino buddy for a few days was great, as once the euphoria of making it to the top of the pass wears off, you have to deal with the reality that there are still 1,000km to go (and while the scenery in the Aosta valley is spectacular, the trail is physically challenging.) Having a walking buddy with a great sense of humour makes the tough days more manageable.

Not much to report for today’s leg. It was mostly head down trudging in the rain. The hills were obscured by the rain clouds, and while there were the inevitable castles, the camera stayed wrapped in plastic for the most part. The phone, my critical navigation device, is not the optimal tool in the rain: swiping with wet fingers was a non- starter, and rain drops were sufficiently forceful to activate sundry apps. Most frequently ativated was AccuWeather, helpfully telling me the current conditions were rain. Doh.
Santhia was once a critical cross road for North/South and East/West, and while its Glory days are well in the past, it is a pleasant town, where the locals make a concerted effort to support pilgrims, with a great Ostello, and a couple of local restaurants put on pelligrino menus. I’m in Risi & Risotto, eating….. Risotto. The PO valley is the rice growing region of Italy, so there may be more Risottos in my near future.
Today’s pics: Viverone castle (with giant via francigena logo cutout) and the Church of Saint Agata and Bell tower,Santhia.
Daily km: 37

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