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Wonder  }  Rivers and streams

Three men in a boat - 3 DI 6

Descent down the Po River - Day 3

We're off again: not even fate can stop us

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Where is


46030 Borgoforte MN, Italia (21m s.l.m.)


The mechanic is a saint because he repairs the cylinder head of our 12-horsepower overnight by putting off work on a racing outboard that must have an inordinate amount of horsepower. Exquisite person, and at the end we take a souvenir photo against the backdrop of one of his bolides for the Pavia-Venice, 400 kilometers slaloming at full speed along the bends of the river. We decide to stop in San Benedetto Po to visit Polirone Abbey, a Renaissance masterpiece where you least expect it; planned stop, but after the miraculous event in Borgoforte it becomes a pilgrimage by grace received.

g3-meccanico-01Grateful ... souvenir photo with the Borgoforte mechanic who gave us the grace to repair the outboard from night to morning

Back on the road, we pass the mouth of the Mincio River; going up it would take us to the lakes of Mantua. Instead, we continue on to Ostiglia, a crucial crossing: railroad and Brenner state highway, plus power plant smokestacks and high-tension pylons. Impressive. The smile returns to Revere on seeing the swimming reconstruction of the Po mill of the novel of the same name. And then, in sequence, Boschina Island and Boscone Island, just like that, with the great lowland oaks - farnie, the exact name - reminding us of what the early plains looked like. Sighting of the day, a brown kite acrobatically descending over the water to surprise a fish.

g3-nibbio-02A black kite (Milvus migrans), a large migratory bird of prey that reaches northern Italy to nest in water environments

The river describes a deep bend and then stretches toward Sermide, our destination for the overnight stay at Corte Prova: we have a chat about working in the fields with the landlord, imbufalmed with the crows that gobble with impunity among the watermelons; then we come to an agreement with his wife, who for dinner prospects us a risotto with mushrooms; not exactly a summer classic, but it's a polite take-it-or-leave-it; then she admires us with an unusually large melon, delicious, because if they're not good around here ... In our glasses, sparkling Lambrusco from Oltrepò Mantovano.

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Francesco Soletti