Day 18: Gropello Cairoli to Pavia — 18.5 km (11.5 miles)
Life back home intervened and I spent a sleepless night wondering about the status of an offer Theresa and I just made on a new home. So this morning at 05:30 I was out of bed and out in the street looking for a reliable cell signal I could use to call home. By 7:00 my call to Theresa was done — no final news yet on the sale, but lots of details to work out.
Charles was sipping coffee as he waited for me in the cafe below the hostel, and after a cappuccino of my own we were on the road. The main road of little Gropello spilled out into the rice fields, but today a refreshing wind blew from the east offering a more pleasant experience than the oppressive heat of the previous days. In the far distance we could once again see the Alps and now also the Apennines on the horizon ahead.
A brief stopover in Villanuova d’Ardenghi allowed a bathroom break. Afterward, a bike path became our track and we found ourselves walking along the Tacino River. In no time we saw the tall dome of the Pavia Duomo ahead and knew we’d be at our goal by noon.
Pavia includes some beautiful and historic churches along with a bonanza of restaurants and cafes. After showers and laundry we spent the afternoon and evening relaxing in the picturesque streets of the largest Italian city we’ve yet encountered.
Hiking Notes: although the bike road may seem a worthy shortcut, we enjoyed our walk along the Tacino River footpath into town.