Day 219: The Last One!

San Lorenzo to Isola della Correnti

Distance: 20km

I take a slow start into, what I hope would be, my last day. I watch the sunrise, go for an early morning swim, before continuing following the coast along beaches and rocks. A pleasant start. In Marzamemi I stop for a Cappuccino and some chocolate bread. It's hazy. A strong contrast with the deep blue see. Eventually, I go for another swim before reaching Capo Passero, the last town before the end. It is also where I have to walk back tomorrow to catch a northbound bus. Destination unknown. I still have to figure that one out. Not now.

After a resupply I am tackling the last six or so kilometers. Initially along the road, then the beach. After a so far surprisingly unemotional day, the emotions hit me once the Statua del Cristo Redentore, the southern terminus of E1 comes in sight. Spontaneously, I have to think of my first day on E1. I remember it like it was yesterday. 

The beach is packed. A causeway takes me to the statue and a plaque, indicating the terminus of Sentiero Italia (which strangely doesn't go here, but it gives a nice touch anyway).

People are surrounding the statue, taking photos of the "punta più a sud d'Italia" - -engravement. Italy's southernmost point. I walk right past the statue, taking a seat on a grassy spot. I can't hold back a tear or two - torn between "happy I made it" and a bit overwhelmed of the big void. E1 has been consuming me for the past couple of years and suddenly it's over. They are the same feelings I have had after Te Araroa. Feelings I guess many thru-hikers can relate to. 

While sitting there, I notice Isola della Correnti, the island of the currents right in front of me. People are crossing the water. Since two of my trusted followers put some very gentle pressure on me to finish my hike on the island, I put my phone and tracker in a dry bag and head for the sea. Leaving my pack behind on the last few steps feels awfully wrong but observing the people crossing, it would be a terrible idea crossing it with my pack. Crossing the 100 meters of sea is straight forward. Yet, I am in the water up to my throat. Once across, I head straight for the southernmost point. That's definitely it. In fact, I'm on a more southerly latitude than Tunis, Africa. Crazy! 

So until here and no further. I go for a swim. Right where the Ionian and the Mediterranean Sea meet. It's rocky, the waves are throwing me around but it feels amazing. 

I don't hang around too long. It might sound weird but I feel a bit sorry for my pack, left behind on the other side. So I cross back. Back to the statue, where I just sit for another hour or so until it's getting a bit warm. I head to Camping Captain. Located just a few steps away. I check in, pitch my tent in the shade. All the emotions made me feel a bit exhausted. The right moment for a siesta. Now that I finished my hike, I can do that without any urge to carry on. 

Somehow, it feels like someone pulled the plug and all the air is out. I guess it's the combination of the relieve to have arrived and the last couple of long days. Doesn't matter. Until I fly home on July, 4th, I take it easy. Plenty of swimming, maybe a bit of running. Time to process what I have just achieved. 

I'll end the blog entry for today at this time. By the end of the week I'll try to write a summary of E1 in Italy and the whole thing. So stay tuned! 

What a start into my last day
What a start into my last day
Following the sea
Following the sea
Time for a swim in the clear water
Time for a swim in the clear water
Approaching Capo Passero
Approaching Capo Passero
34 degrees Celsius. And it's not yet 10:00.
34 degrees Celsius. And it's not yet 10:00.
Isola de Correnti
Isola de Correnti
Done and dusted!
Done and dusted!
From the far north to the deep south
From the far north to the deep south

Write a comment

Comments: 4
  • #1

    Umberto (Thursday, 29 June 2023 22:14)

    it's wonderful. congratulations on the finish line. I will continue to follow you, also because you turned on a light bulb in my head hehehe, in fact I'm doing a few kilometers here in the mountains by myself. so Thank you and good life ciao. È meraviglioso. complimenti per il traguardo. continuerò a seguirti, anche perché mi hai acceso una lampadina in testa hehehe, infatti sto' facendo un po' di chilometri qui in montagna da me. quindi Grazie e buona vita ciao

  • #2

    Rob (Friday, 30 June 2023 03:33)

    Ngā mihi kia koe Sandro
    *copy from my fb page.

    Your job is done Sandro! Congratulations for finishing your E1 (7,000km ++) tramp/hike (walk) which you started from Nordkarp (North Cape) of Norway back on 29 June 2020 at a time of the endless days of the summer Artic circle, which would take you through Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland (your homeland), and down through the entire length of Italy, and further down through Sicily to finish 29 June 2023 at Statua delle Cristo Rendentore, the southern most point of Sicily, but still you walk further and crossed (walked through) the sea to finish at the southern most point of Italy, at Isola delle Correnti.
    The 3 summers (Autumn/Spring) it took you. The places you took us to, not just along your pathway, but of the shared plans, aspirations, and emotions.
    We heard.
    We saw.
    We felt.
    But, you had to endure whatever E1 would present to you. Sometimes it wasn't easy. At times it was extremely tough for you. You had to overcome. And at other times, it was sheer joy and wonderment.
    In the (voice) message I left you today, in the words of Gladys Knight "no matter how bad these days are, these days will become the good old days ..." Your worst days will become days of enlightenment, and days of fond memory. Wait!
    To now realise you are done of your E1. So very proud of your accomplishment. There aren't the words to truly express the feelings and thoughts we have for you right now.
    From our first meeting you when you did your TA (people know the lingo) in the summer of 2016/17, and see you accomplish that. Then to walk the Cape Wrath Trail (2019), right through the Scottish highlands and along the west coast of Scotland. As if that wasn't enough, even when the world was turned upside down and we were all confined within our own country borders, you walked across your homeland east to west, and then south to north (2020). All of this during a time of uncertainty which could result in everything being stifled - but you went on anyway.
    Through all of these days, kms, extremes of weathers, and countries, you've allowed us along every hikoi. We have followed you, often at the opposites of each others days, and sometimes in the still of each others nights (or, in your case, at the beginning in the far north of Norway, you had no nights!).
    And now, what was thought of, then planned, was the unknown, and is now accomplished, is all done!
    Our way to celebrate with you is a Trumpet! We (you and us) know this story! So today, we cheers to you with our Trumpets!
    We knew when we named a gate after you, that your story would not be over. It continues to be told. And now another milestone is added.
    Well done! Congratulations our bestie friend from Switzerland.
    As reported by a most famous Kiwi (& Sherpa) when they ascended Mt Everest "We knocked the bastard off!"
    YOU DID IT! � �
    *Sandro has a blog (since TA) that has enabled us to "follow" him every step of each of his hikoi (follow me), and allowed us to see his photos, read his writings, and of course, add our own comments. We have also been able to keep contact with him via FB, Messenger, and Whatsapp.
    His blog makes impressive and incredible reading.
    Highly recommend!

  • #3

    Fredy Koster (Friday, 30 June 2023 06:39)

    Congratulation of hiking the E1 from the north to the south.

    219 days, well done.

    Beautiful pictures. Bella Italia. As always on your hike you showed the inside of the country you walked through. I think you never can see as clear the light and shadows of a place as when you are walking.

    I will miss it.

    But looking forward for your next adventure.

  • #4

    Klaus and Gisela (Friday, 30 June 2023 18:45)

    Congratulations. Well done.
    Your stories and pictures are great and a big inspiration to us. Thank you for letting us part of your hike.


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