I didn’t realize when I stopped to make camp last night that I was just a couple of hundred metres from the top of the mountain, so it was literally all down hill today. It was an easy walk aerobically, but torrid on my knees.

Today has been a most productive one for conversations in English. It fascinates me how I recently have been describing a lack of them and today I was presented with three. First, there were Monica and Matteo, an Italian couple from the north of the country, sitting by the side of the road as I passed. Matteo looked out his down turned window and spoke. He and I talked for about 10 minutes. Monica hardly said a thing. We learned a little about each other and when he asked how far I had come I realized that the location we were speaking I was at the 500km mark. I
had only done the sums while in La Spezia.

My second conversation commenced on the outskirts of Levanto when I was asked directions by three Irish women from Galway, two sisters and their friend. I didn’t get their names. They’d been doing the Cinque Terre, had travelled to Levanto by train and were about to walk back to Monterosso al Mare, the most westerly of the five villages, where they were staying. While I was speaking about the fundraising part of my walk one of the women handed me some Euros towards my goal. I declined, handing her a leaflet and inviting all three to have a look at my website if they wanted to make a donation. I’d earlier given the Italian couple a brochure. I normally just invite people to go to the webiste where it will be obvious they can make a donation. I usually also say that I write a daily blog.

After arriving in Levanto I chose a restaurant with outside seating and which had a pasta dish I wanted to eat, in this case spaghetti alle vongoli, a dish I fell in love with in Positano on a visit there in 1987. Already sitting at the table next to mine were Dianna and Richard from Pennsylvania in the USA, who were in the area also to do the Cinque Terra. We chatted for about 45 minutes during lunch. Again, I spoke
about what I was doing, and why. They also got a copy of my brochure. I was still seated as they were leaving. Diana lent over, gave me a hug and wished me well. This friendly gesture made me think that what we say, and sometimes more importantly, how we say it, enables us to connect with people in a way that is not obvious at the time.

Today’s journey was one of panoramic views of mountains, valleys, ravines, cliffs and blue ocean dotted with some of the villages that make up the Cinque Terre which from high up look like dolls houses in pastel shades of yellow, orange, and pink.

The walk from Levanto to Bonassola was a fascinating one. I exited Levanto via a long boardwalk which led to the first of about five tunnels that connect it with my destination. The longest of the tunnels is about one kilometre and all of them are for the exclusive use of pedestrians and cyclists. The trip which I thought was going to take an hour of solid walking took just 35 minutes.

I’ve just had a beautiful meal at my hotel: a set menu of four courses and fruit for
just a��13. One of the dishes was lasagna made with bA�chamel and pesto sauces. Pesto is a specialty of this district. I’m getting used to eating a salad at the end of the meal- quite refreshing and cleansing.

Tomorrow I’ve got a 30km walk to Sestri Levante, but it won’t be an early start because breakfast doesn’t begin until 8.00am. Sometimes we just have to make sacrifices.

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