Some really nice off-main-road legs.
The 06:27 to Mantova departed on time and Neil got out at Cremona. There was a 56 minute wait before the next train so there was time to photograph station scenes. The train to Brescia also departed on time and after an unexplained delay 400 metres from the destination, Neil started the walk at about 9 am.
The first kilometre was not too nice. The road was busy with lorries in both directions and really too narrow for them plus a pedestrian. In the first village (Ponetvico) the nicest part of the walk began. It was the Cremona to Brescia path following a scenic and historic route. This section ran parallel with a brook through shady trees. An added bonus was a punnet of cherries. With luck, in a year or two, there will be a new avenue of cherry trees along the river bank. Sadly the route does not take into account public transport users so only a short section was useful.
The weather clouded over and there was some rain with big drops but not enough to get you wet. This was good because, with the late start and 25km estimated distance, hot sun would have been a problem. Later the weather got thundery with hail and heavy downpours. Neil's Christmas present umbrella from a few years ago proved valuable. It's a good one which collapses small but opens big. It can be turned inside out by the wind without damage. When Neil's mother Margaret died, he had the unpleasant task of clearing her possessions from her sheltered accommodation. This would be a good opportunity to purloin some heirlooms to prevent the rest of the family getting their share. Neil would now like to confess that he did indeed purloin Margaret's umbrella - the very same model as the one that worked so well today. With luck this replacement will last all the way to Istanbul when the current one finally gives up.
The train ride back to base was uneventful. Picnic rolls were purchased (six for a euro) to avoid Ryanair catering and prices (one for six euros - perhaps this is an exaggeration). Now some stinking cheese to get revenge for all the other passengers' annoying habits!