We are currently in the hot sweaty town of Latisana some 85km from the Slovenian border. More importatly than that two days ago we reached the biggest landmark of our expedition so far, the Adriatic Sea! Our 40km long day ended on the British and German lobster-people filled beaches at Lido di Jesolo. However all attention was diverted from the bikini clad woman (and, most unpleasantly, men in far less...) to the bright blue sea that stretched across the horizon before us. Armed with a cold beer we collapsed into the cool refreshing water. This was not only our first and only sea but also sybolised the half way point between London and Asia. It also marks our transition from Western to Eastern Europe and we are very much looking forward to leaving Italy and exploring the much less touristy central Balkans. Having both obviously mastered Italian we are also looking for the challenge of a new lauguage.
Other than that there is little to report that can't be guessed at from our last blog. We are still very much living rough, but with the added entertainment of frequent starvation rations. Each morning on arrival in or breakfast-town it is a guessing game as to whether we will eat that day or whether the Local holiday of the Feast of the Joyous Second Ascension of The Venerable and Munificent St Lazario will prevent us from feeding while the locals barricade themselves inside to feast on wine, wafers and song. Without intervention from the odd heathen local, weighed down with homegrown fruit and veg for us, we could well have starved several times over by now. Let's hope the Slovenians are a less pious bunch.
The roads and traffic have been similarly frustrating. The stifling heat of the afternoon forces us to walk from dawn until lunch, when the traffic is both interminable and chaotic, and then from late afternoon to sundown, when the returning comuters, overjoyed with finishing their day's work, celebrate by trying to run us down. All the more reason to flee to Slovenia, where the charging ferraris will be replaced by chuntering Yugos.
Otherwise, the walking has been pleasant, though hot. We had one small break in the weather, and got caught in the mother of all storms. We walked through it, intent on reaching a lake which we had been reliably informed was quite stunning, and where we intended on swimming our troubles away. After the 50km walk we were disappopinted by the swamp which confronted us at our destination. Not to be disheartened, we cheered ourselvers by spending that night in a graveyard. It was perhaps here where Andy managed to pick up an eye infection (hayfever from all those flowers, again?). The offending eye turned all sorts of funny hues and I was miserable to be told that perhaps a retreat to a motel might be neccasary. I spent a dreadfull 24 hours watching Sattelite TV in the reluctant comfort of the room, eating hot meals and drinking Guinness at unconventional hours. We were both overjoyed to be back on the highways and byeways the next day, among the roadkill and mosquitoes. (Many thanks due at this point to the charming duo of Sylvia and Alice, who gave us freebie after freebie from the hotel bar and kitchens)
AND NOW, MOST IMPORTANTLY, NEWS OF THIS YEAR'S MOST TALKED ABOUT 'EVENT'!
We have made a highly conjectural prediction of an Istanbulian bridge-crossing date of a day either side of the 31st of October. We have several recruits already, and are looking for more. Istanbul is an incredibly cool city, and we will be there having a bit of a shindig. Have a think about joining us. It's-all-made-easy-by-Easyjet, flights coming in at about a hundred quid (return) and operating most days of the week. You know you want to.
Other than that all that remains is for us to say a big thankyou to everyone who has sent encouraging text messages and emails, but most of all everyone who has donated their hard earned etc to the Red Cross in the name of our esteemed cause. We had a thought this morning- Make it your project, if you read this, to forward the blog address on to 5 people. It's better than recieving spam about free Novocaine, and it will also bring you good luck for 7 years.
Thanks again to one and all,
Paddy and Andy
"Sitting in a bus station, got no ticket for my destination..."