Wednesday 22 October.
During the night the wind was whistling through some opening outside. It seemed very strong which was unusual as it had been a calm and balmy day. The noise stopped later in the night and I thought it had been my imagination. But when we began walking the wind was blowing strongly and it was cold though surprisingly the sky was blue and cloudless. There had been reports yesterday of the tail end of a hurricane hitting the UK and this might have been the continuation of it. Another thing was the low temperature and guessed it would be freezing up on the St Bernard Pass probably snowing heavily. We considered that we had got through on time.
Today promised to be an easy day and it was. There were a few climbs but nothing serious, mainly it was flat and gentle. When we re-examined the route before leaving we found that we didn't have go all the way back to where we came into Ivrea yesterday but picked up the route just outside the hotel. A short distance along the main street a man waved us over to the other side. He had an office there and supplied information about the Via Franigena. He gave us a map, accommodation list and a badge, then he set up a cutout of the pilgrim monk outside and we took photographs. I think he was happy to get a couple of pilgrims come along, there can't be many at this time of year.
Soon we were on a minor road leaving Ivrea then a gravel track that headed for the woods. The sun was low in the sky blinding us and making us more vigilant at looking out for signs and waymarks at turnings. According to my reckoning and the direction we were heading in relation to the rising sun was north. Before we got too worried the track turned and pointed in the correct direction for Rome. The track made its way round a large pond with yet another chateau high up on a hill above.
We reached the village of Cascinette d'Ivrea in under half an hour and according to Cicerone it was 4km away. I assumed it was measured from where we entered the town at Lidl supermarket and we probably saved 2km from where our hotel was situated. Once we left the woods and into Cascinette it was on tar, minor roads and lanes to the next town of Bollengo. It was still flat and we continued to make excellent time. I thought it would be about 10 am when got there but we were 30 minutes earlier. We continued to Palazzo a further 4km before we had coffee. It was difficult to find a sheltered spot from the wind, not so much for our comfort but for the cooker, it takes an age to boil when the wind is blowing. There was a seat in the square outside the town buildings and I managed to set up the cooker behind some plant pots out of the wind.
After our break it was still on tar and a steady climb to reach the town of Piverone. Looking back now we could see the mountains we had come over a week ago and they were getting smaller and smaller as they got further behind us. In front now was the Lago di Viverone, a large lake that shimmered in the sunshine. After Piverone we went off road through vines and on grassy tracks to the ruins of the 11th century Romanesque Chiesa di San Pietro. We sat in the remains of the altar of the church for a rest before the final few kilometres of the day.
The track continued off-road, downhill now through more vines to enter the town of Viverone which was on the side of the lake. There was the steepest climb of the day as we made our way up the narrow street to exit at the top of Viverone from where there was wonderful view of the lake and the now much smaller looking Alps in the distance. Was there a bit more snow on the highest ones ?
It was now only a couple of kilometres to our destination for the day, Roppolo. There was another house with a sundial on its wall at the entrance to the village, a strange feature.
Just before our B&B, Le Lune, which we found easily there was a restaurant. We were looking at the menu on the door and the waiter came out and told us the menu of the day was only €11. This seemed reasonable and as there wasn't any shops in the village and we were going to have to eat out anyway this seemed a good option. We checked in at Le Lune first and they gave us coffee and biscuits while they finished preparing our room. It was a big room and the en suite facilities were first class. Also there was WiFi that we got into straight away without having to enter a lengthy password.
The restaurant was just across the street from the B&B, so no long walk. The service wasn't very swift but we weren't going anywhere and not in a hurry. For starters I had pasta with a Bolognaise sauce while Moira had crepes with a cheese filling. For main course we both had rabbit which was delicious, with mashed potatoes, carrots and green beans, done in a garlic rich sauce. We just had bottled water to drink and thought that would be extra but it was just the €11 each as quoted. Back in our room we showered then relaxed and listened to the radio which was loud and clear over the Internet.
The village of Roppolo was small and not a lot to do, all Cicerone had to say about it was: 'there are several interesting old houses in the main street'. We just spent the rest of the day in our room relaxing. Moira found a small hotel in San Germano Vercellese where we are heading tomorrow. It wasn't on 'booking.com' so she got our landlord to phone. There was, as usual no reply to the number we had, but our host recommend another hotel in the same town and we are booked in there. For our evening meal it was what we usually have for lunch, a hard boiled egg, cheese sandwiches and a beer.
It was getting cold as the sun set, winter must be approaching, we got into bed where it was warm. I don't think people put on the heating here until it snows. Warm now we lay back with the radio on and read until time to go to sleep.