Home > Uncategorized > Part Sei – Roadrunner

Part Sei – Roadrunner

I recall a trip to the seaside with a young lady some time ago, when it was suggested that we take a stroll to the end of the beach and back. This seemed a capital idea, having driven all the way there, it would have been churlish not to have enjoyed its full extent. With this in mind, I set off at a brisk pace, only to turn around after a couple of hundred meters and find I was unaccompanied. Apparently, my company found it confusing that I had set off on a concrete track into a car park from which one couldn’t see the sea, when one could have walked on the sand on the beach. From my perspective, I was equally confused by her attitude – if ones goal was to walk from A to B and back again, it made perfect sense to me to use the most direct route, rather than trudging along sand banks which make for slower walking. Apparently, I was missing the point.

I was reminded of that this morning, while wandering happily through a 2km tunnel connecting La Spezia with the mountains around it. I’m afraid one of my numerous defects as a pilgrim is that I enjoy going places in a straight line, which means that while I could not honestly recommend the trip from Genoa to La Spezia to a normal person – seeing as it involves wandering along extremely busy roads with no hard shoulder, no shade and nothing of note to look at except the remnants of last years hill fires, I have rather enjoyed it. Rapallo was great, the ambiance of the place was so at ease with itself, that it made for very pleasant ambling, although I paid for it with some truly terrifying walking in the days that followed, including some unlit single file tunnels along the coast, which alternated with walking trails in the mountains better suited to mountaineers. Mountaineers who had either a death wish or a helicopter – as the bloody things were damn near impassable.

I am also pleased to note that I have done my bit for European harmony. Arriving fatigued after 45kms in the sun at a coastal resort whose name I forget, I rather innocently paid my fee and started pitching my (now broken) tent at the end of a row. At this point a blonde woman appeared and started hectoring in foreign. Despite language difficulties, enough practice enables one to tell when a woman is being unreasonable and hysterical in any language. ‘No, no, no’ I tell her, shooing her away. Soon afterwards, her boyfriend rocks up in a black BMW. He would have been quite physically intimidating, being built like a bear, were it not for the fact that he opened his mouth and produced a sound so shrill with self righteousness that it recalled a German accented child whose toy has been confiscated. The problem appeared to be that they had seen the place an hour or so earlier, but in a bout of admirable efficiency, had gone off to measure up every other space in the campsite to be sure of securing the best available – “I mean, ve saw it furst. I could haf left ze girlfriend here, but iz a risk I could not haf taken”. Despite explaining that the first thing I would do with her is leave her somewhere, I am unable to convince him of the merits of another spot, at which point they flounce off declaring I have ruined their holiday. At this point it occurs to me that it simply is not worth causing these people such misery, and I let them have their space, and drag myself 5km up the road to the next space – not a big thing, but I doubt I would have had the grace to do so a couple of months ago. I can well understand, though, given how quick the German sense of grievance is to rouse itself, how Chamberlain gave them the Sudetenland, “But is ours, ve saw it first and it is right next to Bohemia, and ve just had to measure up Alsace-Lorraine first…” (Joke, joke – sorry Julian, I must disappoint you terribly!)

Finally, I commend to you the Affittacamere Cotorelle B&B on the Via Aurellia, north of La Spezia. Absolutely lovely people, who went miles out of their way to house, feed and water me, and a beautiful, relaxing place to rest your bones. If you’re in the area, drop in…

Now, to Lucca, where I have fond memories of a shop which sells yellow belts and pink jumpers. Perhaps if I stock up on some of those, I shall smell of Italian, rather than putrefying salt, which is my current parfumme de jour.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 28, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Ruddy Heck! In the long scheme of things, you are nearly there! You must have feet like leather by now! Well done! Of course, I keep you in my thoughts. Love E

  2. Rosalie Pascoe
    September 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Bravissimo. You are nearly there! So looking forward to seeing you in Rome. Everything is booked….. so keep on walking.
    lol mumsie x

  3. Amelia
    September 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Please don’t buy orange trousers. Please. I do worry.

  4. Ben
    September 6, 2010 at 9:30 am

    No, do by the orange trousers! Don’t listen to Amelia on this one. If she cannot see the merit of orange trousers, she clearly has no taste!

  5. September 6, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    AJC – it’s the mullet I would be more concerned about, frankly… I know even Fellows would have a hard job forgiving the particular crime against fashion I am currently sporting as headwear.

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