Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Piacenza

Sarmato to Piacenza - 19 km - Monday 4th June 2012

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A slog along the main road in gray damp weather. There were no useful alternative routes.

Garmin Altitude Plot Garmin Mapsource Google Earth Sarmato Old Building Sarmato Old Building Sarmato West End Plenty of Water Plenty of Water Via Francigena Piacenza Fiume Trebbia Fiume Trebbia Fiume Trebbia Piacenza Piacenza Piacenza

Diary - Top

The humid thundery weather broke during the night with heavy rain and enough storm noise to wake the dead. It was still raining in the morning. The quick dash to the station didn't merit umbrella deployment. The 07:23 to Voghera left on time but was delayed en-route. This was an unusual train, clearly designed for a dryer climate. It was a double decker and the upstairs was awash with rain water. Down below, it was not much dryer. On every corner and during acceleration and braking, water poured out of different orifices. It's surprising how many orifices these trains have. The most impressive was water deluging out of the fluorescent lamp shades. The fuses must have been replaced with nails for the lights to keep working. Only a third of the seats were dry. Neil missed his connection by one minute.

With a long wait for the next train, it was time to go shopping for a bigger water bottle, cheese and Sogombro. This is not salmon, tuna or sardine but it is nice. Anne's law of dictionaries worked when Neil looked it up. Sogombro was not in the dictionary but soddisfato was. Anne's law causes you to find something rude or suggestive as soon as you look in a dictionary. The law is so strong that frequently the title word on the page is rude or suggestive.

It was nearly 11 am by the time the train reached Sarmato. The rain had stopped and it was cool. The walk along the main road was cheerless. The one opportunity for escape onto back roads didn't feel worth the extra effort. The old part of Sarmato was nice with pretty houses and an impressive monastic looking building. The eastern end was industrial. There were a succession of industrial estates along the road, many looking disused. Lunch was under cover at a disused supermarket while it threatened to rain again.

Piacenze old town was interesting with some fine old architecture and narrow streets. The approach road was industrial and there were a couple of kilometres of military barracks.

At the station, a train was due in about 15 minutes but the ticket machine refused to sell a ticket for it. Neil bought a ticket for the next train and used it on the earlier one. It was inspected without comment so presumably it was OK. There are different tariffs but it's not clear whether it's the time of day or the type of train. It was an "RV" so no seat bookings were needed. The later train was just an "R". The plan was to be the stupid foreigner if questioned. This is not a hard act to pull off.

Back at base, there was some successful hotel room engineering. The bed on wheels had a really irritating habit of sliding away from the wall so you gradually recline and then fall into the hole. A chock was needed but how to make a chock? A rolled up towel worked a treat. The bed wheel sits on the towel and has to climb a couple of inches for the bed to roll. Only one wheel was chocked. So far, no mishaps.

The air conditioning just failed. Will the room get really hot?

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