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Wonder
Wonder  }  Rivers and streams

Three men in a boat - 1 DI 6

Descent down the Po River - Day 1

Here we go!

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Where is

Emilia-Romagna

43010 Polesine Parmense PR, Italia (36m s.l.m.)

Directions
map

So here we are at the embarkation point: loaded weapons and luggage on the Manrichetta, we say goodbye to those remaining in Polesine and set sail. The outboard sings and in the live current we row that is a pleasure. The river advances in wide bends and we become familiar with the sensation of traveling at the water's edge. Poplars, tongues of sand, flights of seagulls, then a turn and here is the first bridge: "Keep away from the pylons." The embankment lowers: Isola Pescaroli, "small river town on the edge of which stands the shrine of Our Lady of Confidence," we read "Patroness of the Unconscious," someone is being sarcastic, but we decide to take it as an indulgent sign of Providence. We pass two natives speeding by in a boat with a scale net. Then a tricolor and other natives frolicking on a 'sabbion,' as they call the ephemeral beaches that come and go along the river depending on its flow.

sabbione-1-1Curious river situations...two native teams and a summer volleyball camp on a sandbar....

We pass the mouth of the Taro. A canoeist pulls into our wake and then paddles past us in Olympic paddles: he was going like a speedboat, no question. To lift the spirits we stop at the Torricella landing: gas station and bar with a veranda, some a beer and some a popsicle, a glance at the Gazette and on the river again. The river splits and the slower branch disappears among the vegetation, destined to become an oxbow, as they say when it swamps and nature becomes master again. Beautiful stretch, all the way to Maria Luigia Island, dedicated to the beloved Duchess of Parma: 500 hectares of willows and poplars; herons as if it were rush hour; a kingfisher darts across the water; a raptor sails by and we decide it's a hen harrier.

g1-airone-02An egret (Egretta garzetta), the most frequently sighted heron in the descent of the great river...

Past the bend, abrupt reminder of reality, the clanking of a train on the Casalmaggiore railroad bridge. And then the traffic on the one a hundred meters later, the state highway between Sabbioneta and Colorno: from the ideal city of the Gonzagas to the palace of the Farnese, it would be an excursion to make, but that will be for next time because the schedule wants us in Boretto for the night.

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Francesco Soletti

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