We left Marina Romea reluctantly. I am not normally a beach resort person, but I really liked our hotel and what little we saw of the town itself. I truly enjoyed the shade from the pine trees. After a couple of weeks of the blistering sun, walking in the deep, shadowy groves was like a foretaste of heaven. I could have stayed a few more days, probably not returning to the beach, but rather, simply strolling in the woods and drinking prosecco in our hotel's garden.
After a lovely breakfast (one of the best of the entire trip so far), we cinched our sweaty, greasy backpacks over our shoulders and set out again.
When programming my GPS to help guide us on the trip, I noticed that, since we had already departed 1.5 KM from the trail in coming to Marina Romea, we could simply continue south, and follow a main (pine tree-lined) street through the Ravenna suburbs and into town. This would probably require a short walk of around 12 KM.
The proper way, of course, was to retrace our steps, trek backward to the trail, and resume our route at the point from which we had departed.
Our Motto: When in doubt, do it the hard way.
We decided to go backwards, adding more distance to the day’s stage, but ensuring that we continued to maintain the established routing. I think we were beguiled by the guidebook, which stated that the designated path offered a long stroll through a beautiful pine wood. One of the highlights of the trip.
Back we went. We headed north, and then turned west at the first opportunity. We hiked around the northern side of one of Ravenna’s lagoons. We saw more flamingos, eel fishing cabins, and, at one point, an old man sitting in a small park serenading the birds and frogs with his clarinet.
And why not? Did Francis not preach to the birds?
Eventually we were able to get off the main road and turn south for Ravenna. Here is what the guidebook neglected to mention about the delightful piney woods: they are a mosquito and black fly hell. We had not gone far before the malevolent insects began to swarm. Mary and I sprayed each other with repellant, but it did little good. She was viciously savaged by the mosquitos, while I was repeatedly attacked by biting flies.
The pine woods go on for quite a long time (8 KM by my measure). Were there no mosquitoes, it would be enchanting. By the time we emerged on the other end, Mary’s cheek was swollen from a bite, her arms and legs had been repeatedly assaulted, and she actually had a dry trickle of blood down one of her arms from a bite.
We staggered out of the pestilential pine woods, only to practically stumble across our German friend, Timo. He was leaning against a fence, shoes off, and looking exhausted. The mosquitoes had not been kind to him either, but he had been having many adventures since we had last met on the road to Traghetto. While camping out in his tent he had been accosted by a badger, and while walking 50KM in one day, he also had been savaged by the insect world.
Nevertheless, he happily strapped on his boots, and the three of us proceeded into Ravenna.
Mary and I visited Ravenna three years earlier, and I was looking forward to our return. The hike through the suburbs did not seem unbearable, and soon we approached the tomb of Theodoric through a leafy park.
Theodoric was the second king of Italy. His predecessor, Odoacer, had deposed the last of the western Roman emperors, Romulus Augustus, and declared himself the king of Italy. Theodoric supplanted him, and used Ravenna as his capital. While here, he built a church for Arian Christians, and later was entombed in a mausoleum which exists on the outskirts of town.
After taking a few photos, we continued into the center. Timo was not planning to spend the night in the city (we planned to spend two nights), so it seemed unlikely we would catch up with him again. We had a late lunch together, and then it was time for us to take our different paths: Timo to Jerusalem, and we to our B&B.
Today’s Distance: 19.1
Total Distance: 595.8