“Make sure you’re stretching your calf muscles,” wrote Theresa, my fiancée. As usual, she was right on. It’s funny how a sore foot becomes a sore calf which becomes a sore foot. As I massage deeply into my calf muscle I feel a twinge in the exact spot where my foot hurt.
When I say, “hurt” I mean exactly that. The pain is now mostly gone, thanks to Theresa’s stretching and also to PT Diane Gaidon’s suggestion of an Arnica gel massage. That means I’m back on the road.
The next question becomes, where to land on my original itinerary? If I pick up after Fidenza, where I left off, this is what the distances would look like, along with the guidebooks’ ratings:
- Fidenza to Fornovo – 34 km. “Challenging”
- Fornovo to Cassio – 19 km. “Challenging”
- Cassio to Passo Della Cisa – 19.5 km. “Challenging.”
- Passo Della Cisa to Pontremoli – 32 km. “Challenging”
- Pontremoli to Aulla – 32 km. “Challenging”
- Aulla to Avenza – 32.7 km. “Very Challenging”
The itinerary doesn’t sound brilliant for someone recovering from a foot injury. Essentially the walk takes pilgrims five and a half days through the mountains and down to the sea at the beachy area just south of the famed Cinque Terre. The route doesn’t flatten out until the little town of Sarzana, between Aulla and Avenza.
So that’s my plan for tomorrow. Take the train to Fidenza, where I left the trail, then take the train to Sarzana, waving as I go by to several of the towns on the original walking itinerary. When I arrive in Sarzana I’ll walk three hours on the hopefully flat terrain to Avenza. The next couple of days after that should give flat and foot-friendly walks that will help me get back on track for the hundreds of miles that still remain.
I don’t want to hurt my arm, too, but I’m reaching around to pat myself on the back for coming to Parma to heal up. It’s an entertaining town and a welcome and worthy substitute for my first love: walking. Even so, it’ll be great to be back on the road to Rome starting tomorrow.
I’ll leave you with a few random photos of lovely Parma.