Number of kilometres today: 27.9
Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 1,200.3
Total steps since Canterbury: 1,700,881
Today I smashed out 28 kilometres in 5.5 hours. I slept little last night but somehow found this amazing source of energy within. Maybe it was the fields of gold or maybe it was the music I listened to as I walked this morning. I found my rhythm and didn't want to stop, not even for lunch, but I did. That was after I stopped for second breakfast too.
I love being out in the countryside but I love hanging out in the one spot, a local bar or park or piazza observing the locals. In the bar in Santhia this morning, a lady had a very passionate conversation with a gentleman about the pane he had purchased and was trying to present her. The bar staff and other locals raised their eyebrows in amusement. So did I.
In San Germano Vercellese, I was "la nuova donna" and the old timers couldn't believe that I was not cold just wearing my long-sleeve merino. You walk 8 kilometres in the morning sunshine and the crisp morning air will no longer feel crisp to you either.
In Vercelli, I drank my apertivo, a spritz of course, in Piazza Cavour as the sun set behind the three storey pastel colured apartments, watching everyone take their passeggiata and observing those around me drink their beer, marachino, aperol, even a tea whilst smoking cigarettes. I like eavesdropping trying to understand their conversations or at least piecing together words to make up my own understanding of what they are talking about.
As much as I am part of the scene I still feel separate from it. That's the solitude. A two-eged sword. Longing to be part of it all but still wanting this time to myself.
Today I overtook my first pilgrims, a French-speaking Swiss couple in their 60's. When I first spotted them walking ahead of me, my heart sank. I didn't want to walk with other pilgrims. Not now. Maybe not ever on this journey. I caught up with them and tried to make conversation in Italian but they showed little interest in talking. I wished them Buon Camino and kept on walking alone to my own rhythm, grateful that they didn't want to talk.
I finished guide book number two today. Tomorrow, I start the third and final guide book. I am 782 kilometres away from Rome. It sounds so far but its not. The days have their own rhythm and keep clocking over. I want it all to slow down.