Bernate to Po River
A short but deep sleep. More or less well rested I make my way out of the studio and into the kitchen, where Pierangelo prepared breakfast for me the previous evening.
At 05:30, after some bisquits and an espresso, I am on my way. I do not have a certain place to reach but I want to stretch my limits today. So I try keeping a good pace, which is easy along the canal. As it's slowly getting day, I watch the small villages waking up and the path along the Canal Navagio Grande coming to life with people running and walking their dogs. My legs feel strong so I keep on going. Nearly 20 kilometers non-stop until my first break. Some bread with Pierangelo's delicious fig marmalade.
Even though I'm not following the "official" E1, there are E1 signs along the canal. No idea why. Doesn't matter. Eventually, I leave the canal, cross the Ticino River via a ponton bridge and make my way towards the Po River. It's hot and humid. Feels like Hongkong or even somewhere in South East Asia. Luckily it's all completely flat and walking doesn't require much effort.
Once I walk past a Kiwi fruit farm and a couple of minutes later find myself amidst rice paddies I realize once more how far I have come. Up north, where nothing but grass was growing. No tress, no bushes, no nothing. And now...
My legs wouldn't get tired, so by 16:00, I decide to keep pushing to make it across the Po River today. After a resupply in Sannazzaro di'Burgondi I walk past a sign saying Ponte Gerola is closed for maintenance. Shit. I completely missed that during my planning. So what should I do now? I was taken a bit off guard by the sign and I initially just keep on walking on the highway, which obviously is fairly quiet. No roadwalk from hell. But I have other things to worry. While walking the 5 kilometers to the bridge, I quickly run through the option. I'd definitely try to cross the bridge anyway. Being 19:30, the workers must have left for the day. And even if it was not possible to use the bridge, maybe I could ford the river, considering the little precipitation this summer. If that won't work either, well then it's either an additional day walking to the next bridge (if that is even possible) or hitch around. But I'd worry about that later.
As I approach the bridge, I get super nervous. The nervousness quickly goes away though once I realize, it's no problem crossing the bridge on foot. All they do is putting on fresh black top, while side walk is left untouched. With no cars at all, I cross the bridge, the sun setting to my right, the Apennin Range suddenly appring on my left. Magical. On the other side, I quickly find a good spot to pitch my tent.
What a lucky ending of my long day. Now all I hope is that the predicted thunderstorms won't actually happen.