I woke early to see the sunrise above the lake and prepared myself for the day’s walk ahead. I go to the dining room for breakfast at the stated time of 7.00 am and find the hotel deserted, with no one in reception. I ring the bell and call out with no response. I try the front door to the hotel and it is locked so cannot leave. There are no contact numbers I can use so I have to sit and wait. Eventually close to 8.00 am I hear a key in the front door and a rather bedraggled young man appears, totally apologetic, explaining that he had overslept. I decided to forgo breakfast and ask to pay my bill and the young man has clearly never dealt with payments before and has to seek advice by telephone. Totally frustrated I eventually leave the hotel at 8.15 am. It is a beautiful morning and my frustration is soon gone as I climb from the lakeshore to rejoin the Via Francigena path. A middle-aged man out for an early morning jog passes me on the other side of the road, and calls out “Buongiorno”. I continue on through the narrow streets of Roppolo where, before I start the descent to Cavaglià, I look back to the lake below and the morainic amphitheater of Ivrea. The runner I saw earlier passes in the opposite direction on his way back to Viverone and we exchange a wave. The descent to Cavaglià follows quiet country roads. On arriving in Cavaglià I stop briefly for coffee and a croissant and then visit the beautiful Church of San Michele Arcangelo. The roads and tracks begin to level out and just after 10.00 am on the outskirts of Santhia I see my first paddy field. Temperatures and humidity begin to rise and I find shade beneath the flyover of the A4 motorway where I rest and take a lunch break. It is relatively early in the day and I decide to bypass the town of Santhia and press on to San Germano Vercellese. Temperatures are in the mid-thirties as the path crosses the Depretis Canal, an irrigation channel fed from the waters of the Dora Baltea. Later I pass the rebuilt small 16th century Church of Saint Rocco. Paddy fields are now very much part of the landscape and I cross the much larger irrigation Cavour Canal which is fed from the River Po before reaching my destination of San Germano Vercellese. I found the Via Francigena Hostel which is run by the local parish and I called the mobile number of Berto Federico and shortly after Mrs. Federico arrived to open the hostel. It was a delightful small hostel complete with a kitchen, living room and bathroom, and bedroom with five beds. The cost was 10 euros. I was the only pilgrim staying at the hostel. After showering and resting I walked to the nearby Leon D’Oro Restaurant where a pilgrim’s supper is on the menu for ten euro. Welcomed by the host it was a convivial and enjoyable supper.
- Day 55 San Germano Vercellese to Vercelli – 25th July
- Day 53 Ivrea to Viverone – 23rd July