Ruth: 85 km with the additional 10 added in.
The very very flat Po Valley.
My needs are simple and, I suspect, not that different from other pilgrims on the Via Francigena or any pilgrimage route. At the end of a long hot day there needs to be a shower, some food and a bed. It is amazing how much I warm to a place when these three treasures are available. Generally speaking the VF has been excellent at providing these, but Pavia did not. After a long but great ride we arrived in time to secure a place and begin enjoying the sights. Unfortunately all of the religious places listed in our Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome accommodation list turned us away insisting that we return to the new Ostello Santa Maria in Betlem ( Bethlehem in English) when it opened at 6:30 pm! Somewhere during the 10 extra kilometres wandering from one address to another I hit the wall of heat, fatigue and frustration. How I actually behaved will be left unsaid, but if Gord hadn’t produced a Mars bar at a certain moment I don’t know what would have happened.
When the hostel opened however we were greeted by an apologetic man who informed us that the place was full. Our next option was the inexpensive hotel Statione by the railway station but we arrived to find it permanently closed. At 7:30 pm we forked over 95€ for a room at a three star hotel. We limped out for some risotto and then collapsed. In spite of the well recommended sights we did not stay in Pavia for a second night as planned.
I have been able to fully enjoy our stay in Piacensa because my three treasures were waiting for me. It turns out the sights here including the Cathedral are also well worth a visit but for this pilgrim secondary.