Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Germany to Italy: The plan

 After I had returned from the Way of St. Francis Corona struck hard - Germany and most of Europe went into lockdown. For many weeks I wondered if and where I would be able to hike in the summer of 2020. 

My original plan - to finish my hike Europe Diagonal by walking from the Alps to Greece - quickly vanished in the air. Several countries on this route like Bosnia or Montenegro do not belong to the EU and were closed to foreigners. 

Sweden seemed to be the only country open despite all Corona mayhem and therefore I started planning a fourth European traverse from North to South, Finnland to Italy - hoping that I would be able to hike the Northern part through Scandinavia this year. But to my great surprise Finnland and the Baltic countries remained closed - and hard hit Italy was one of the first European countries to open up. By then I had had prepared the Northern section carefully and only had a vague idea of the route through Italy. If I wanted to pull off a major thruhike of 4,000 km I had to start hiking soon - or summer would be over.

Therefore I embarked on this trip on May 31st in Görlitz walking South not knowing if I would continue through Italy or flip up to Finnland. This was the first time I did not know at the beginning of a hike where I would be going ...

As some more days passed Finnland still did not open and with this uncertain prospect I eventually decided to hike through Italy this year. Luckily I had to interrupt my hike in mid June anyways for some presentations and TV shows and I used the time to quickly plan the route through Switzerland  and Italy. I have never planned so fast and with so little detail - but I had to be ready within 10 days.

There are two long-distance trails in Italy: European long-distance path E1 which up to date is not complete and only reaches as far South as around Naples. Sentiero Italia on the other hand even has several alternative branches and is officially complete. For long stretches both trails run close to each other or even coincide. But past hikers reported that both triails exist rather on paper than on the ground. This was going to be an interesting hike ...

No comments: