Day 54: Piacenza

Number of kilometres today: 21.5

Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 1,352.1

Total steps since Canterbury:  1,909,748

There is so much I want to say about today but I am tired and I can feel the twinges of a cold starting to edge their way in so I need sleep to keep it at bay.

This whole pilgrimage is following a rite of passage but even more so today as I caught the current day  ferry, a river taxi, down the River Po like the pilgrims of old.

I was filmed and intereviewd by a journalist in Italian about the Via Francigena and the river taxi.  I think I told her I like fireplaces not I like to walk.

There was coffee shared with the famous ferryman, Signor Danilo Parisi, and three of his Polizia friends and a conversation in Italian where I did most of the talking and gesturing in Italian.

There was mud that clung to my boots and painted my trouser legs grey brown.

There was walking alongside the crazy busy Via Emilio Pavese listening to a bit of Scream & Shout by will.i.am and Britney and Renegades of Fund by Rage Against The Machine to keep me striding.

There were the offers of being driven into town instead of walking.  I explained I am a pilgrim and declined.  I didn't tell them I like fireplaces.

There were the requests for prayers when I arrive in Roma.

There was asking for help to find somewhere to eat dinner in this suburban area of Piacenza and being directed to and then finding my way to a great little pizzeria.

I am two-thirds of the way through this pilgrimage.  I have only 690 kilometres left to walk to Rome.  I have thought briefly about what it will be like when I arrive and it ends. Jubiliant.  Incredulous. Sad. Endings are only ever beginnings.  And I won't know how I feel until I arrive into that moment which is not yet.

Tomorrow I have to walk across a river.  No bridge.  No powers to part the waters or walk on top of it.

Tomorrow I should cross 45 degrees latitude, the imaginary line halfay between the north pole and the equator.

Tomorrow, one thing is for sure.  I walk.

Villa Litta Carini, Orio Litta

Looking back at Villa Litta Carini from farmland

Approaching the Po Ferry landing at Corte San Andrea.

Shrine near the ferry landing

View up the Po River from the ferry landing 

My river taxi arriving

The famous ferry man, Signor Danilo Parisi

Archbishop Sigeric's foot imprint against my big foot.  If it really is his, he had such petit feet.

Plaque on the ground at the ferry landing at Sopravivo

Plaque outside Signor Parisi's house.  My guide book suggests Roma is a little farther away than this.

Inside Signor Parisi's house.

This is his record of all the pilgrims he has taxied along the river all the way back to when he started doing it in 1998. It is a beautiful red leather book and a wonderful record to have.

Bridge across the Po at Ponte Trebbia

Basilica di San Antonino, Piacenze

Entrance to the basilica

Statue of Gregorio X at the Basilica

Piazza del Duomo

Duomo di Piacenza

Via XX Settembre

Palazzo Communale also known as il Gotico in Piazza dil Cavalli

Basilica di San Francesco