Mimosa Campground to Villa San Giovanni (Sicily Ferry Terminal)
While eating tomato and cheese wraps at the beach, watching the sunset, we decided that a Zero Day for Maria would be the most sensible thing. No sense in making things worse by road walking the whole day.
I leavy early today. Very early. With the heat wave in full swing and temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius, I am on the trail before 04:00 to have at least a few hours with pleasant temperatures. And I want to make it to the Ferry Terminal today - finishing mainland Europe.
The gate of the campground is locked, so I am forced to leave it via the backdoor and onto the beach, which I follow for a couple of hundred meters. Two dogs roaming around the beach in the dark scare me. After that encounter, I am definitely awake. Eventually, I rejoin the road, walk past a village and a port. As it is getting brighter I can see all the shipping containers. MSC, HamburgSüd, Maersk,... One of the few constant things on my hike. Since south Sweden, I spot them on ports and highways.
The air smells of sewage and burned rubber. A terrible combination and something I don't need in the early morning. Until late morning, the walk is fairly underwhelming. Depressing at times, as I make my way through dirty cities and villages. Things improve once I get closer to Bagnara. The views are excellent, in fact I can clearly make out Torre Faro, a decommissioned tall high voltage power line pylon, on Sicily, the trail head of E1 in Italy.
The Strada Stato 18, the road I have been following on and off since Salerno is not overly busy. Fruitstands left and right of the road give it a somehow non-European feeling.
Maria is waiting for me in Bagnara where we swim in Crystal clear water. Surrounded by high hills it feels amazing. While I am continuing my walk, Maria is planning. Arranging the ferry crossing, booking accommodation. It's wonderful having someone taking care of background. Thank you!
After another quick rendezvous in Scilly, I walk the final 10 kilometers to the ferry terminal, my end point of mainland Europe.
Literally 10 meters before reaching the terminal, I stand in front of a fence. I must have myself navigated into a dead end. I squeeze through somehow. It's a somewhat typical ending of my hike across mainland Italy.
The arrival is far less emotional than I thought it to be. Maybe it's the crowded, dirty location. Maybe the fact there's still some stuff to do. Mainly resupply. Which is not easy. Once more, shops on the map do not exist, a walk through the messy city of Villa San Giovanni unavoidable. Not exactly what I need after 60 kilometers of hiking. I meet Maria in the shopping center. I feel a bit sorry for her, as she has to deal with my temporary frustration. She tries her best to keep my hiking spirits up. It helps and once we board the vessel the earlier struggles are slowly forgotten.
The sail across the straight is amazing. Heading straight for the sun, which is setting behind the mountain range I would be walking tomorrow.