Today we passed another milestone on our journey to Rome, when we reached the Mediterranean Sea near Luni. We can now say that we’ve crossed the continent of Europe, having last been by the sea at Wissant on the French Channel coast in March! It was quite the worst day we’ve had on this leg weather wise, as you’ll see from the attire in the photograph, but none the less satisfying.
Having crossed the Alps via the Col du Grand St Bernard back in July we stopped at Pont St Martin in the Vallee d’Aosta, as daytime temperatures began to get quite unpleasant. By mid-morning most days the heat was becoming quite oppressive and by midday pretty unbearable: only relieved if a bit of wind off the mountains kicked in. We were also beginning to run out of our post-Brexit visit allowance.
We returned at the end of October to find the Vallee d’Aosta in glorious autumn colours and temperatures in the mid-twenties, which was rather more comfortable to walk in. Through November we’ve crossed the Po Valley plains, visiting a number of historic cities along the way including: Vercelli, Pavia, Piacenza, Fidenza and Pontremoli. From Fidenza our route took us up into the Apennines, which turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. We exchanged the flat intensively farmed plains for steadily rising hills covered in oak and chestnut forest. The autumn colours were quite striking.
We crossed the Apennine watershed, the Passo della Cisa (1041m) on 20th November. On 22nd, fortunately for us a rest day, the weather turned and the first snows of the winter arrived on the higher mountains. The next few days we were blessed with gorgeous sunshine once the morning fog had cleared, with the mountaintops gleaming in the fresh snow.
Once we reach Lucca in a couple of days time we’ll be returning home for another break. Our plan is to pick up again at the end of February for the final run down to Rome.
We’ve seen some interesting rivers including the Po and various tributaries of it, the mountain rivers of the Alps and now those of the Apennines - all noticeably short of fish. We’ve been to some fascinating historic Cathedrals and Churches and we’ve met some very interesting people on the road. This includes a Swiss Guard from the Vatican walking home to Lucerne after the end of his tour of duty!
Our progress southwards can be followed through our blog at salisburytorome2020.com, and if you feel minded to contribute to our charities there is a Just Giving link on the site too