Via Francigena

Bathing in the vineyard

16. June 2018

This is incredible. As soon as I am on my way, a youg pilgrim rushes past me. I have no idea which race he wants to win. Of course I did set out at a more moderate speed, but hey, that really triggered some lines of thought. That‘s impossible, on two days running. That calls for a new plan.

The lad‘s name is Matteo

…and we start a conversation. The guy breathing down my neck calls himself Matteo and is from Paris. And he is a madman, the nice version of craziness, not to be misunderstood.
There must be a nest somewhere around here. Matteo started out from Paris to Santiago, and then back again, and then, without interruption, on the direct route to Rome – no kidding! We are talking about 5000 kilometers, at least. He has no tent anymore, that got broken in Spain. He sleeps outdoors, and I think he travels on a minimal budget. Because he has no guide-book with him, he can‘t find cheap rooms for the night. His mobile does not work, too. Like a bat in daylight…I tell him to ask for hostels at the tourist information. Then we go our different ways. He takes up speed and is gone soon.

A bath in the cow tank

An hour or so later I see a naked man – Matteo. He is climbing into a drinking trough for animals. As I approach I think to myself that I have seen cleaner water in my life. He says hello and is not embarassed at all. Which is okay with me…even if my pilgrimage-universe looks definitely better, or at least more cleanly.

Beautiful pilgrim route in the hills

All in all this was a good day for me. A lot of sunshine, pleasant walks through the vineyards and cool forests. The landscape is more open now, the high mountains are gone, and I have reached the Piedmont. Or, to be precise, Irvea, a bigger town. Now I am looking forward to a shower and decent meal. If I get that, it‘s definitely gonna be a highlight.