Through the rice fields toward Turin
May 15, 2010
Oct 15, 2010
As we left Pavia the next day, the rain had momentarily abated but the trails had been taken over by the ducks.
We were treated to one more massive storm that night but after that things began drying out. We have spent that time walking through the rice growing area of Italy -- who knew? Coming from Asian rice fields it is rather bizarre to see the rice next to European hardwood trees rather than the bamboo, bananas and palms we expect. Needless to say, the farmers here have not had to do much irrigating this past week.
And we have been providing ample food for the happy and large mosquito population. The area is also home to thousands of herons of all sizes and colors; we passed a "nesting area" where the kiddies were all squawking simultaneously.
As we are approaching the Alps to begin our ascent into France, it was nice to see that the recent rain provided a nice covering of snow up where we are heading.
Maybe it will melt before we get there in our shorts and sandals???
Last night we stayed in a suburb of a tiny village in the middle of the rice fields. Our welcome in Lamporo was quite remarkable. The local association has 5 or 6 members who share the responsibility of greeting and housing pilgrims and they were a delight! We got picked up and delivered to a lovely farm where we had our own house and stocked kitchen. The members joined us for a chat about our walk and even brought us homemade Tiramisu! Our hosts, Antonio and Agostina Pezza, could not have been nicer and more welcoming. (Even the family dog went out of his way to be affectionate--not the typical dog attitude to pilgrim interlopers!) It was really one of those very special pilgrim experiences. And a quieter night's sleep could not have been possible.
We are slowly drying out after too many days of way too much rain. Our day off in Pavia took us to the Certosa di Pavia, an understated, all-marble edifice colored with lapis lazuli and covered with ornate sculptures started as a tomb for the Viscontis and finished off in high style by the Sforzas of Milan. After visiting the two impressive cloisters, we were ready to sign a lease on a monk's cell. The Carthusian monks here lived in silence but in rather pleasant surroundings. Each monk had his own two-story house with 4 rooms, fireplace, patio, and outdoor privy. Meals delivered to the door. Doesn't sound like too tough a life!