I’m loving being a pilgrim again! Life is good :)
The mosquitoes disappeared overnight so I had no trouble getting going early. Luckily I checked my map before going too far, as the canal wasn’t actually following the road I thought it was. The map stopped at this point so I had to bite the bullet and walk back the 1km to the main road.
I only made it about 5kms before spotting a café with an “internet” sign displayed. They weren’t open, but they let me sit out the front and use their wireless for free. Thanks guys :)
And success!!! I finally have some couches to sleep on with couchsurfing :) My 6½ hours on the internet yesterday paid off.
I didn’t end up moving again till around 10:30, but I only wanted to make it another 10kms to a lake I thought would be a good place to wait out the heat.
It was a good choice. The water was a perfect temperature so I swam, had a picnic lunch, read and slept until the afternoon. It was great!
When I started walking again at 16:00 it was hotter than ever. I found myself contemplating one of the main points which has struck a chord with me in Buddhism…
“Just to be with whatever is at the present”
This sounds simple enough but is quite hard in practice. I have noticed that when I was in the wheat fields of France, I was dreaming of being in Italy. When It was raining, I was wishing for the heat. When I was in Switzerland, I was longing for the day I would return. And now I’m in Italy and it’s HOT, I can’t wait to get to the beach.
I think that if you choose to live in our society, and not a cave, then it is important to spend some of your time learning from the past and some planning for the future. But it is still most important to spend as much time as possible in the “now”.
I have found a good analogy (someone please correct me if this is the wrong word ;) ) while walking. I have a goal where I want to go to Rome, and shorter goals every day. There are times when I have been daydreaming of being at the beach, or being in Rome, and have missed my turnoff. I can walk for miles in this state…and will continue to walk for miles until I come back to the present.
“It is only in the present that you can be sure you are on the right path”
Regardless of the heat I managed to make good time and made it to Santhià by 19:00.
My couchsurfing hosts were Andrea and Stefani. They were awesome! I could not have asked to meet more kind and generous people. They live right in the middle of town and shouted me pizza and ice-cream. Thanks heaps guys!
The only problem I have found with this area is the mosquitoes. I thought it was just that I was next to a canal yesterday but it appears to be a problem everywhere. I went to go for a beer with Andrea and his local pub was closed, so we stopped at a café. He warned me that sitting outside we would be attacked but I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught that assaulted us.
Between 8-10pm every night the locals all live in fear. It is not safe to walk the streets! I think I lost more blood going for that glass of wine than I would have taking a trip to donate to the Red Cross…