But look the morn in russet mantle clad
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill
The valley was a lake of mist as I set out this morning, but there was a rosy glow in the sky above. The weather is holding, but rain is forecast. Trees appeared out of the mist as I walked into Premono for a morning coffee and a wifi connection.
How times of changed! I remember when cafes with wifi were few and far between. Now it is rare to find a bar without an Internet connection. The only distinguishing factor is the complexity of the password. This morning's was the best kind for it didn't exist at all. The network was open. Next in order of prefeference is the simple numerical sequence, such as one to zero or the name of the cafe, either in lower or upper case. The worst kind of password has a random sequence of 26 numerals and upper and lower case letters generated by malevolent digital deities that take pleasure in frustrating the traveller in his attempts to get on line. One keystroke error and it's begin again.
After Premono it was an easy walk across a plain into the town of Grado, ugly on the outskirts with agglomerations of drab apartment buildings, but with a pleasant older quarter given over to pedestrians, where of course I stopped for a coffee and tortilla. By now, the sun was piercing through the mist.
And then a fierce climb. I say fierce, not brutal, because from time to time there was a levelling off giving me time to catch my breath. The road went up and up and over the ridge while the nearby motor way tunnelled straight through the hill. And then down a steep gravel track, and along a river path where fallen trees blocking the path tried to snatch the pack off my back as I crawled underneath. Then up the valley to Cornellana, where we are staying at the monastery.
I have stayed at many institutions where the religieux ranged from a handful of very old nuns living out their last days to a score or so of monks with a couple of noviciates offering some future for the order. I was hoping tonight to enjoy the singing of the office. But the monks have all gone. And in the church, there was no priest; just a few old people reciting prayers. Sad!
It was another hard, long day, but there is something satisfying about doing something equivalent to the manual labour of old that was good for our bodies. We tumble into bed at an early hour and sleep like proverbials.