12th of August
The group lost a member. As Anthony, Jenny, Elena and I enjoyed our well deserved rest Alex was forced to continue alone as his schedule was rather tight and unfortunately didn’t allow for a delay. I miss you buddy, especially when singing pop songs whilst being slightly out of tune!
After the rest day in Belluno we felt strong and optimistic. Our next rest would be at the Adriatic sea! The only significant hurdle was the long climb out of Belluno and up the last mountain: Col Visentin, 1600 meters of ascent up to a military radio station and one of Italy’s first mountain huts.
As the day progressed and the temperature rose I felt an old familiar pain in the belly: the food poisoning that had taken so much out of my strength and joy this trip was apparently set on a comeback. I barely made it it the hut, but it was so gross we decided to continue to the next stop, a private pension about three hours down the road. Pure grit and immodium helped me through the next stretch, which saw us high up on a ridge at sunset, with spectacular thunderclouds in the distance. We also donated a significant amount of blood to the local musquitos and stinging flies. The donations however were involuntary and came accompanied by a large collection of curse words.
The next day saw us leave the mountains and enter the Prosecco region. The crossing of the Alps was finally complete! No more mountains, but rather an abundance of icecream and local wines as we made our way through the lovely Italian countryside. Or so we thought. The first stage out of the mountains was lovely and saw us sleeping at a gîte at a wine producer. This was for sure one of the most charming overnights of the trip. The next day temperatures rose to the mid 30’s with the sun beating down as we made our way down tarmac and dirt roads. Overheating was a serious danger now.
In the evening I collapsed, there is no other word for this. I could barely drag myself into bed, feeling both hot and cold at the same time. Normally heat doesn’t get to me that much, but I guess the combination of exhaustion and food poisoning sent me over the edge. In the morning the decission was quickly made to take the bus to the beach at Cavallino near Venice.
We are now spending our days at a five star campground which employs questionable methods of bug control (‘we are spraying the campground against musquitos, please move inside and close your tent’) but I guess that slowly dying of chemical exposure in ten years is offset by the fact that I have less musquito bites right now. Tomorrow we take an early morning hike into Venice to complete our journey but right now I’m going for a ride down the water slide. Cheers!