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    • Day 60

      Sillianer Hütte

      August 7, 2023 in Austria ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

      Day 59:
      Distance: 22.75 km (1,867.24 km)
      Steps: 33,240 (2,665,472)
      Move time: 5h55 (416h45)
      Spend: £98.50 (new shoes) + £28.73 (£1,071.42)

      🇮🇹 Brunico to Sillianer Hütte. 🇦🇹

      There are a million and one things I could say about today. First of all, a calamity from a walking point of view. This is going to take some explaining, so get comfy. Essentially, up until a few days ago I had been largely making this adventure up as I went, finding places to stay at very short notice. Now, obviously, this is great from a flexibility point of view, but it has often led to me failing to find a place and suffering as a consequence. Back before I crossed over the Italian border, I decided that to make my life easier in terms of not having to put so much time and energy into logistics and planning every single day, I decided to plot my route all the way into Slovenia at once, reserving spaces overnight along the way. Now, the past few days; in fact, ever since Innsbruck, I've been having to walk tarmac paths to be able to make the necessary distance; essentially very monotonous walking. In itself, that wouldn't have been a problem, as boring as it may be, but one thing I didn't anticipate was my hiking boots deteriorating so quickly, practically destroying my feet in such a small space of time. In order to get around this problem, I decided that I had no choice other than to use the only other footwear I had, some extremely thin decathlon 'aquashoes', which I would only typically otherwise use at the end of the day after taking off my boots. While these shoes curbed the deterioration of my feet, they resulted in another problem! Of course, having zero cushioning whatsoever, my shins quickly started to suffer too, especially on all the asphalt. I tried dulling the pain by adding cushioning into them: wearing two pairs of socks and taking the soles out from my boots and inserting them into these shoes. Luckily, that just about got me into Brunico yesterday, but today was a disaster waiting to happen. With a very long way onto my next reserved overnight stay (this mountain hut), not only did I have no viable footwear to continue with, but my shins and feet were also in an abysmal state, and on top of even that, I've managed to pick up a really rough illness, which has had my head pounding and nose running all day. Now clearly, my top priority was to buy new shoes, which I have managed to do, but as I alluded to before, the planned onward progression was a disaster waiting to happen. With the focus on sorting myself out, I simply could not physically make the distance here in one day in addition to that. So my options were this; ditch all the plans I'd made and have to stay wherever I ended up at the end of the day somehow, or to have to skip some walking in order to keep up with my plan. Firstly, ditching the plans isn't as easy as it might sound, I've booked a number of high demand mountain huts for which it's actually more expensive if I were to not turn up (25€) than the price for me to stay the night (12€). Coupled with the difficulties as of late, my mind was made up, so I took a train onto San Candido, missing a little over 20 km of walking. Don't get me wrong, I am devastated to have had to skip out a section of the walk, even if it's only a dull 20 km. Up until now, I've been extremely strict in maintaining the purity of my adventure, and so to have to give that up is a shame, and you can feel free to consider that I've failed this mission. On the other hand, I wanted to be open and honest about the difficulties encountered on a trip like this, and if you're here to see me suffer, then there's certainly been enough of that as of late. Of course, I will continue onwards and try to make up the distance, but the continuity of the line across Europe won't be representative, at least for the marker today. In spite of all those problems, I've still managed to make over 20 km of ground at least though, and including climbing up to 2418 metres here Sillianer Hütte, which I think I can be proud of all things considered. I think my point is that I only had to do this out of extreme necessity.

      Now that that's out the way, I can say just how beautiful the dolomites are. The most startlingly dramatic and beautiful mountains I think I've ever laid eyes upon. Oh, and that's not the only local delight I got to experience today, as Adam and his parents allowed me to each lunch with them after my mad dash to find new shoes; his mum serving up some delicious home-made and locally-grown peach potato fried balls? I have no idea how else to describe them, but all I'll say is I'd recommend! I am now technically 10 metres back into Austria, and although I've loaded up on food for the forthcoming trek over the Carnic Alps, phone signal could be a difficult commodity to come by, so I guess you see this when you see this (and I'm amazed if you've read this far!)
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    • Day 14

      Gipfelkreuz II

      October 3, 2023 in Austria ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

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