Sulmoma to San Pietro Avellana
Only thanks to a sprint across Milano Centrale train station I made the connection. The train was already pulling out of the station, when the train staff is showing me my private "suite". If I hadn't made the connection, it would have been a miserable 9 hour wait in Milano.
I got offered linen and a free snack, then made myself comfortable for the 6 hour ride to Pescara.
While I didn't sleep much, it is still a very pleasant experience on board the sleeper train. I get off at 04:00 in Pescara and take a bus to Sulmoma. Shortly past 06:00 I am on the trail again, walking through a Sulmoma, which is waking up. Cafés are opening, old men gather around Tabacchis, reading newspapers. It's a lively city and also a pretty one. Nonetheless, I keep walking, just stopping for a couple of photos. The urge to continue is immense.
So I walk and walk and walk, mostly roads initially. It's 12:00, I am close to Pescoconstanzo, when I feel the first rain drops. I say to myself "there won't be a lot of rain" and I keep walking. Then out of nowhere it starts pouring down. I find some shelter under roof, watching the road turning into a river. As the rain eases, I continue. With my changed attitude towards rain, walking in it goes easier. Nevertheless, when it gets too strong, I seek shelter.
People that I meet along the way are all smiling at me. It seems like thru-hikers are a rare sight and the people seem genuinely interested. Once past Roccacinquemiglia, the tracks are getting terrible. Overgrown, muddy (it literally feels like the Northland forests on Te Araroa), not a single marker. Rain keeps coming. Ticks and mosquitoes join the party as well. I start feeling tired. Strangely, I manage to most3keep my hiking spirit up. Shortly before 20:00 I make it out of the mud hell. Pitch my tent at the first possible location right behind a cemetery. Nothing amazing but practical. My first campspot with a water source since Firenze!