We ate pasta with Sabine and Bertrand from the south of France, and had a wonderful time with these avid walkers. So easy to be with, and with enough English to communicate with us, two very funny people. Our night in another well-equipped church property was luxurious – we made good use of our own room and its highly efficient a/c. With 5 men in the room across the hall, and no snorers, it was a quiet night. Everyone was up at 4.30 because the cafe was open at 5.00 so no problem with anyone being disturbed and short bathroom visits – most shower and do other things the night before so it all works well.

It was a little too dark after we had exhausted the street light area and so had to wait on an old platform station for a few minutes. Then it was our first real cool morning as we walked a few kms between the railway line, canals and crops. For quite some time we walked on main roads with little traffic. Our guide book calls it dangerous but if you obey basic road walking rules (walk on the side of oncoming vehicles so you know when someone is coming on your side, and getting off the road when a vehicle comes), we find it relatively safe. Stopping for coffee in a quirkily decorated Osteria, an Italian walker from last night’s lodgings paid for us – because we are in Italy. On the tarmac road again but soon out into fields for our last turn for home at Orio Litta.

We caught up with Pierre, the town mayor who was the cyclist we met 2 days ago, and stayed in the tower of his beautifully renovated ‘donativo’ where we caught up with our French friends who are sleeping on the floor below. Pierre also took the opportunity to take our photo and publish our story. He is well known for the enormous work he puts into anything Francigena and his local region is awash with his energy, ideas and enthusiasm especially for those sporting an issue.

As we stood in the pizzeria for a take-away lunch, Bertrand suggested we take up Pierre’s offer of a lift to eat great food. Pierre was not available to drive us, but his friend gleefully drove us for 20 minutes to an Osteria which is only 1 km out of town. The roads are closed, he explained, as he met another road block. Finally arriving, Paolo told us we would eat fish: his special spaghetti marinara, calamari and fish delicately fried, followed by a lemon sorbet drowned in Grappa. Wondering how we would return, another friend collected us for the return journey of less than 1 km, 5 minutes!

Keeping our culinary highlight alive Sabine prepared some delicious vegetables and mouthwatering melon, whilst we slept off lunch. After, we had just enough energy to plot a few days ahead, starting tomorrow morning when we take a water taxi to join our route.