Day fifty-two: Gropello Cairoli to Pavia

The extra km done yesterday paid off as it was only 17km to Pavia. So I arrived before lunch time to discover the info I had for the Ostello was incorrect and they are not open for check in until 1430. Not wanting to sightsee for three hours with a backpack, I went to a near-by B&B that is listed in the via francigena app, but sadly it was ‘completo’. As I left, I stopped just down the street to take a photo of the flood markings on the church, and the lady from the b&b came running up to tell me she had a room after all. Camino Karma… especially as after I checked in someone phoned to book a room (this was all in Italian, but it’s amazing how much one can comprehend when necessary!)
So I’m now being Italian and enjoying the set price lunch menu at the restaurant next door. This place looks like it was originally built before the Europeans discovered New Zealand, and its patrons are an eclectic mix of men with ties on and tradesmen covered in drywall dust and paint splotches. For 12€ one gets wine, primo (rissotto for me), secondi (made a brave call and had something that I’m still not entirely sure what it was, but it tasted really good) with green bean salad, and espresso. Maybe I need to walk half days more often!
While a siesta would be good. I’m now off to enjoy the splendors of Pavia.
Part two. I have now made two excursions across the covered bridge into the old town of Pavia. It still retina its original Roman layout of major north-south and east-west streets splitting the town. Other than the layout nothing very Roman remains other than what is in the museum – housed on the castle. Most of the historical buildings here are finished in brick, and the one church they did with stone utilized sandstone, and after a few hundred years much of the detail has been lost to the elements. Most impressive was the University of Pavia, founded in 1361. The gate was open so I spent some time wandering around its inner courtyards. Pavia is a great city to explore at random without getting lost. It has the river Ticino on one side, an encircling boulevard on the other sides, and it is on a slope, so if you are going downhill you are headed towards the river, and if it’s flat, you are headed across town. And limited vehicle access which makes it easy to be a pedestrian.
Daily km: 17

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