Day 61 Orio Litta to Piacenza – 31st July

The German pilgrim finally stopped talking around midnight and with just the sound of the cooling fans I slept. Today we were crossing the river Po via the legendry ferry operated by Danilo Parisi. The Mayor had the previous evening spoken with Danilo and arranged for Danilo to meet myself, Margaret and Jeroen on the banks of the Po at the ferry pier at 8.30 am. It was just before 7.00 am that all three of us said our goodbyes to Orio Litta, the sun was just rising as we crossed the paddy fields which were shrouded in a mysterious mist. We pass a sign  – “Cammino di Sigerico – Guado” and shortly after we arrived in good time at the Ford of Sigeric, the “Transitum Padi”. It was a beautiful morning, so quiet and peaceful as we sat and waited for the ferry. The clear blue sky reflecting in the still waters of the river Po. I stood, reflected, and prayed at the stele of the Madonna dei Pescatori. Placed at the ford to protect those that cross the river. Looking downstream I spot a speck in the distance, and yes it is moving towards us creating gentle waves in the still waters of the Po, as it draws ever closer I see it is a boat being guided by a man in a green shirt and as it draws into the ferry staging I see for the first time the smiling, welcoming and jovial face of Danilo. Danilo helps us load our backpacks onto the ferry and in a moment we are moving quickly through the water, I look behind to see the waves created by the boat stretching out and becoming increasingly weaker as they reach the banks on either side of the river. It is a short but memorable journey, just  4 kilometres downstream to reach Soprarivo where we disembark and follow Danilo to his home, the Caupona di Sigerico. He asks us to wait as he goes into his home and returns with a large book and sits at a table in the garden. He calls each of us, in turn, to sit with him at the table – the book is a register of every pilgrim he has ferried across the Po since the very first in 1998. We chat for a while and say our goodbyes and then begin the walk to Piacenza. We follow the river bank and after about 3 kilometres arrive in Calendasco where we stop for coffee and a late breakfast. Sensing that Margaret would like to walk alone in the company of her newly arrived husband I say my farewells and leave to continue the walk to Piacenza alone. The path follows a quiet country road through the small villages of Cottrebia Nuova and Malpaga before reaching the river Trebbio. Crossing the river I follow a pedestrian path into Piacenza. Arriving at 2.00 pm I first visit the Santa Maria Assunta e Santa Giustina Cathedral and after, I find a small restaurant where I sit at an outside table and enjoy a light lunch and a cold glass of beer. Just, as I am about to eat a rather persistent male beggar, appears – I give him the spare change in my pocket and he moves away – 10 minutes later he returns and asks for more! I gesture quite firmly, no more, and eventually, the restaurant staff ushers him away. I had booked to stay in Duomo Guest House.

Looking back to Orio Litta
Early morning haze on leaving Orio Litta

Margaret and Jeroen waiting for Danilo and the Po ferry.
The Po
The ferry approaches
Danilo
Sigeric’s fish
Danilo’s home
Danilo’s home
Santa Maria Assunta e Santa Giustina Cathedral
Santa Maria Assunta e Santa Giustina Cathedral
Santa Maria Assunta e Santa Giustina Cathedral

Santa Maria Assunta e Santa Giustina Cathedral

 

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