This is for the people we’ve met so far. This is to the great kindness and hospitality we experience every single day. This is to the motivation boost we get, when people approach us with curiosity and openness. In every town, in every bar and restaurant there are those incredible nice people we want to take a minute to say “Thank you!” to. We have met complete strangers stopping their cars to talk to us, people walking across fields to know about us, school-classes on their way to somewhere stopping and asking us questions, people stepping out of their homes and opening them up inviting us in for short brakes or long stays. Some people have called their friends organizing a feast at the evening and countless people helped finding places to stay.
We must admit, we don’t remember all names and haven’t taken all the pictures as we should have but here are some wonderful people where we do have pictures of.
The last few days, since entering Campania, J. was in charge of the task of path-finding. It took me some inner conversation and persuading to agree on his idea of the path. I want to make clear that this has nothing to do with J. but with my own experiences in life to trust (only) my own way. My history taught me that following other peoples’ paths usually make me loose my way (rhetorically speaking). But, as life itself is a thruhike, it’s also part of letting go and trust other ideas and finding out that many ways lead to Rome. I guess, that’s how livin’ is done, too! Here I have a chance for personal growth and I hope to learn…
Anyways J. has chosen a beautiful path so far through Campania and I do not regret it that I followed. Do I come out of it stronger, bigger, older, more mature or even wiser? Time wil tell.
So much to my personal emotional side. What else is there to say about the last few days? We hiked through the National Park Cilento et Vallo di Diano. Beautiful landscape? – Yes! Awesome people? – Definitely! And the weather is getting warmer with no rain lately. How nice is that?
We made an awesome video of the coolest place on trail so far, Grave di Vasallo. Find it on our fb Album “E1 – That’s how livin’ is done!” or on www.instagram.com/jaredturtlechip.
If you want to see, how fast and how far we have hiked each day, click here.
Tomorrow we leave the Region of Basilicata, only 15 km left. It was beautiful 4 days. On the first day we hiked up to 1.660 m; snow was very deep up there. Withouseeing any trail-marks we bushwhacked our way up, steep and strenuous but fun with a hint of adventure. Still afterwards we decided to stay below snow-level for a while. Hiking on side-roads isn’t so bad after all. We enjoy the mountain scenery aruus as we can relax mentally a bit while hiking.
As we enter Campania tomorrow, we have to find our way as we go. The SI would constantly take us above snow-level and I’m not ready to go up there again.
With a short and easy day today, almost a day off, we hit our first 1000 km of walking!
Here are some stats for you:
Distance Hiked: 1003 km (623 mi)
Days off: 3
Km/hiking day: 29.5
We hiked all the way through Sicily and tomorrow we exit Calabria and enter Basilicata. We are a bit behind our goal of 30 km per day, but that being said, we are pretty positive with how things will go in the future! Italy, being so mountainous, is probably the toughest part of this trip. Add to that the fact that we are hitting these mountains in winter time and have had to deal with snow. The official E1 trail doesn’t start until around mid-Italy. Not being tied to a specific route has allowed us to seek beautiful paths while avoiding some rough terrain, especially on the high, snow-covered peaks. We have followed the Sentier Italia (SI) for a good portion of the trek, but unfortunately the marking can often be poor. Confusion over this has also cost us time. So we are enjoying ourselves but are looking forward to longer, warmer days on well-marked trails!
Arriving in Sangineto. We have the hotel all gor ourselves, weird feeling. Even the owner left us alone with the keys.
I think I’m going to stop writing on a day-to-day basis. It gets harder every day to think about questions like “How many days are we on trail?” or “What day is it?”. To me all days blur into one and I enjoy this to happen. When I think about our first night back in Portopalo di Capo Passero, it seems to be so long ago and distant. For me right now it’s enough to know it’s February – that’s all I need to know.
Hiking here in Calabria and Sicily is a pretty lonely adventure, at leadt at this time of the year. Apart from towns we only see a handful of people a day, most of them driving by in their cars; other hikers met so far: 1, and this was in Sicily. No one is walking up here in the mountains. And as J. and I usually walk silently, I really enjoy loosing the concept of time – such a relief from mental slavery.
As free as one can be – that’s how livin’ is done!
We left Calabria today…finally. It was about 580 km of mostly hard work. The trail is usually in a bad shape with poor or no signage, except in national parks where it was okay…sometimes. It was cold, stormy with lots of snow. The mountains here are steep and on hard passages we barely made 1 km/h.
But besides that, we met many great people, nice, welcoming, interested and curious people. Without their help many days would have been so much more miserable. Especially I want to mention the Royal Bar in Girifalco, the La Dolce Vita in San Sosti and of course this one guy we met in every town who helped us finding a place to stay. Here in Calabria one cannot just go to a hotel and check in as they are all closed. We always had to find a bar, order something to drink, talk to the locals until someone gets his phone out of his pocket and makes a call. Usually about 10 minutes later we are being pocked up and brought to a place for the night. Incredible! We started to make a fun out of it and compare this to a computer-game where we have to find this guy in order to level up. 🙂 People here in Calabria are sure something to remember!
And it’s not only the wonderful people here in Calabria, what let us keep going, it’s also the wonderful nature and scenery.
Now we look forward to Basilicata. And I hope you look forward to reading more stories about our little adventure.
We decide to stay at a lower altitude today, walk at the beach and go back to the mountains tomorrow. After a very tasty breakfast at the SeaPalace Hotel, our place for last night, we started at around 11 a.m. 6 hrs and 30 km later we arrive in Sangineto. We were lucky to see a beautiful sunset but now it’s time to find a place for the night. Camping in town is not really an option and all hotel or B&B’s are closed. Only one bar is open; we enter and tell the people we need a place for the night. It takes only one call for a person in the bar and the owner of a hotel picks us up at the bar, opens up his hotel for us and we have a place for the night.
The hospitality of the Calabrian people is outstanding. I am happy.
Waking up and everything’s wet and cold. It rained all night with storms. It’s foggy. Every step takes full effort. We hike through wet snow, my toes are numb. No thinking is allowed. The next step is mandatory. We need to keep going! At around noon we came to a street and decide to leave the mountains and descend to town. It’s 15 km to a hotel, we checked in. Finally a hot shower and the possibility to dry our stuff.
It started to rain early this morning but until around noon it was okay. But then it became nasty, really cold winds, storm-like, lots of rain and fog, snow. Completely exhausted, wet and freezing we find a place to camp. No fun!
Starting at 7 really helps to get some km done, 38 today. It was lots of uphill and most of the time I listened to an audiobook or music. There was not much talking today, just pure concentration; or shall I better say “non-concentration”?! Hiking, one step after another, keep going…that’s all. Well…and eating and sleeping. And tomorrow we do it all over again. If you wonder at what time we finish hiking each day: it’s 6:30 p.m. right now, I already had dinner, it’s dark outside. Sooo….good night.