Sunday 2 November.
Today our destination was Medesano and Moira had booked a hotel room there. We wanted to stay in the hostel that was listed and got the receptionist last night to phone but the hostel was now closed. Breakfast was included this morning and it was very good. We had muesli, fruit salad and yogurt to start then croisants and coffee. We managed to get large cups of creamy milk coffee but are apparently allowed only one cup.
It was 7:30 am when we got going and were well wrapped up as usual but it has turned very mild. It wasn't long before the rain jacket, beanie and socks/ gloves were off, later it got so hot that we were down to just t-shirt and shorts. As we left Fidenza it was the usual flat road and track and we met a local walker. He said he had walked from Fidenza to Rome, at first I thought he was doing it now but it turned out it had been a few years ago. His name was Valentino, he walked and 'chatted' with us for about half an hour and kept us on course. We were expecting the hills to start today and they did with a steep climb after leaving the town which took us up towards the village of Sicromonte perched on the top. After the first part of the climb Valentino wished us in Spanish fashion 'beun Camino' and headed back home.
We continued the climb and managed it without any problem, it was actually very satisfying getting away from the monotonous flat lands which were becoming boring. Once on top it was a delight, the views excellent with rolling hills going into the distance and lush green valleys with little villages dotted along them. It hadn't seemed to have been much of a climb really but it was surprising the height we had gained.
The profile of the day's walk was undulating climbing a total of 585 m but dropping roughly the same amount, 512 m. After Sicromonte we followed a ridge for a while then dropped into a valley before climbing again to Costa Mezzana. Just outside the town the road was practically block by cars outside the cemetery. There must have been a service or ceremony of some sort taking place on this holiday weekend, and as we noticed yesterday 'All Saint's Day' seems to involve the memory of deceased relatives. The route didn't go into the town but we took a lane which became a gravel track that led to the Castello di Costamezzano, another steep ascent to the castle on the hill top. It wasn't much of a attraction, a square block of brick that was more a lookout than a castle. We found a bench there and had our morning tea break. That was when the fleeces came off, it had become very warm indeed.
It was now on a grassy track through vines before we started to drop down into the next valley and the town of Cella. We stopped there for a rest at a children's swing park but I wasn't feeling as tired today as I have been on the flat sections. When we got going again there was a stream to cross; I managed to hop over some boulders but Moira took off her shoes and paddled. From there it was another very steep short rise to a big cross on the brow of the hill. After that we had an fairly easy descent into Medesano.
Moira had put an electronic pin indicating our hotel on the map in her iPad and this time it showed our location as well. So it was easy to follow the route into town and to the La Braceria hotel. We were soon in our room after the documentation and paying. It wasn't as luxurious as last night but it was good enough. We had lunch, cheese sandwiches, an apple and biscuits with tea that I brewed up in the bathroom. After lunch we showered, the water was very hot and refreshing. The rest of the afternoon we listened to the radio, good WiFi, and read the papers. We spoke to both Margaret and Suzy on FaceTime and had a good connection not like last night when it kept breaking up.
We went to the hotel restaurant in the evening for dinner. We both had a pizza they were enormous but managed to finish them. Moira had read a blog by two Australians who had walked the VF through Italy; they said when they began they shared a pizza but after a number of days strenuous walking were having one each. That's what is happening to us, but we are still losing weight. After dinner we went to bed and lay listening to the radio. The next thing I remember was waking an hour later, the lights were still on and Moira was sound asleep. I plugged in the iPads, which were still going, to charge, turned out the lights and returned to bed for a good night's sleep.