We climbed down from our bell tower to begin a new day with our vibrant and entertaining new French friends. We walked along highways again, some fields, this time heavy with acres of Roma tomatoes, through lively working villages, many bars for coffee, croissants and alcohol.

At one stage we had to cross Italy’s longest rivers, the Po – it was with our speedboat driver Giovanni who took us on a glorious 5km trip downriver. After risking our lives getting down to the jetty, we had to do the same again on the other side as we struggled up broken stairs. He then took us to his delightful home where we had our walking passport stamped. As I filled in my personal details in his large manual I made some mistakes – seemingly he got a little cross, so I hugged this big man as I know they like a hug and we became best friends, mistakes forgiven.

At a similar walking pace we sang songs, theirs in French, of course mine in Italian but with few words; swapped stories as we swapped walking partners; misheard and laughed; presumed and assumed. A lot of traffic near the end meant less of all the above and much more silence and attention.

Our companions had their room booked as the French seem to do, while we had to spend time on booking.com eventually finding a beautiful room after mounting marble stairs in a Domus (a far cry from the donativo), accessed through those magnificent double doors I often wonder what is behind. Not to be touched, the intercom boomed, they open and close on their own. Clothes washed, some words typed, photos still not posting (a small disaster as our friends are having no trouble), and a lie down with legs up against the wall to bring fluid back down, so our French doctor tells us. She is also advising us on rashes and blisters – we keep her busy. A stroll around the old streets – dinner in the middle of one of them on the steps, then our luxurious bed. Tomorrow’s route is a bit confusing so maybe a bit of a mystery tour.