Day 55 – Pavia to Santa Cristina E Bossine – 25.5kms

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We ate well at this tiny Asian place, run by a Chinese family last night – enjoying generous serves of Japanese sashimi, sushi and dumplings.

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Our Refugio was on the other side of the river so this morning we had to cross the covered bridge again. Here it is in the flat early morning light with the Pavia Duorma in the distance.

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Leaving the city is a long walk – and we passed many old, but still used, suburban churches such as this one on the way.

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Marilyn Monroe is found advertising almost everything, but we thought this take on ‘sexy hair’ was quite clever!!!!

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Fields of poppies remind one of the very moving WW1 poem written by the Canadian Major John McCrae for one of his soldiers funerals. He wrote:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
the larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep,
Though poppies grow in Flanders fields.

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The faded external glory of these rural churches belies the beauty and tranquility often found within.This one was in San Leonardo, a village on today’s route, the interior still stunningly beautiful.

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Outside we found Psalm 121- which is as fitting a comment on life today as it was 2000 years ago

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We took a short cut across farmers fields, compliments of MapsMe offline maps. We found not only obsolete housing and farming infrastructure but several roadside chapels. Most were in a poor state of repair such as this one.

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Every day we see the remains of man’s ongoing love affair with plastic. Here it lies in the irrigation channels, like this, as well as alongside the roads- it’s an eyesore now and will be for generations to come.

Italy is not a 3rd world country but when we see this we feel it is no better than one of the world’s poorest. We’ve seen an enormous amount of plastic collected for recycling – or landfill – especially water bottles!! Why in a 1st world country where the water is safe to drink do people buy water? How environmentally aware is this?

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At last, after 25kms we arrived at our refuge for the night in Santa Cristina E Bossine. It is next door to the church, has 4 rooms with about 20 beds, 1 bathroom, with a washing machine (so we took advantage and washed all we could) and a small kitchen. There were 5 of us here, so we each got a room to ourselves, which is such a nice luxury!!

The middle aged parish priest seems to run much of the town; he manages this refugio, as well as a community hall behind the refuge. This is where the town’s residents gather for cards, coffee etc and social gatherings for all ages. Most of the town seemed to be there yesterday!!!! It was a great experience to stay here and share in the life of the town for 1 night.

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The 5 of us decided to eat in so we went shopping. Marco was the cook and he did pasta and salad with Gorgonzola cheese and bread for our afters, all to be washed down with Lambrusca and Proscecco.

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Here is the almost finished meal.

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And now meet our dinner companions; they’re from Spain, France and Italy!!

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It was lovely evening sharing food and wine together, sitting on the dormitory beds as there were insufficient chairs for us all!!

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