Montriggione to Siena (missing post now out of order)

Our hosts last night,  Simona and Santi are lovely generous souls.  Our dinner was made solely from what they grow on their farm, even handmade spaghetti from hand milled flour.  We had a lovely dinner then headed to the little cabin they let pilgrims use, all that and breakfast for a donation.

After breakfast we headed out and soon bumped into Andrea, a lovely young woman from Germany, then Bernd another German man. I walked along with Andrea for most of the day and really enjoyed our conversations and we had a few laughs.

About seven K into the walk we found a man  Marcello who waits for pilgrims and offers food and coffee for a donation.  A lovely man, he’s set up a shelter and makes you toast and coffee.  He has yoghurt and fruit and all sorts of things and that’s all for a donation.  He realised that there is nowhere on this stage for a rest with food so he provided it…..another wonderful soul.  He suggested an alternative more picturesque route we could take for a short while that would eventually reconnect with the main route. It was only slightly longer so we took it.

We found a monument and according to our book it was a pirimide, called Leopoldina and commemorates the reclamation of the swamp on Pian del Lago on which we were walking.   There was a table and we all sat and had a little picnic with our supplies.  Then it was time to head on and shortly after that an Italian caught us up and walked the rest of the way to Siena with us.

Fuzz and I found our accommodation quite quickly and it was very handy to the main Piazza.  We had chores to take care of before any sightseeing as yesterday’s washing didn’t dry and so after finding the laundry it got popped in with today’s as well.  In the laundry we found a lovely young NZ lady  who lives in Australia.  So we sat in the laundry chatting in ‘Strayan’ while we waited for our things to be all clean and smelling fresh again.


La Storta to Rome

After breakfast with Andrea, Rose and Erica, Fuzz and I headed out on a cool, breezy, clear day with very mixed emotions.  We’ve been walking for 6 weeks now and today is the day we would reach Rome, our final destination on this adventure.

Part of me really wants this to be over… I’m trail weary, Fuzz is too.  We miss our family and we’re very much looking forward to being with them all again.  Another part of me wants this to be the beginning of this trip so we can do it all over again.  Such is the way…

It wasn’t a very pleasant walk with the first part being on pavement beside a very busy road, the Via Cassia.  The way markers were not great today but we managed.

After quite a while on the road we went into a park land which was a little muddy due to yesterday’s rain but not too bad.  Then some suburbs before entering another park.  We were looking forward to this bit because this is where we knew we’d see our prize….Saint Peters Basilica…. and there it was, in the distance.  We’ve been walking towards this place for six weeks now and covered about 800k on foot through 7 regions of this wonderful country, carrying our everyday needs in our backpacks.  Uphill and downhill and then we were there.  Wow!!! Incredible!

The girls were ahead of us and cheered us when we arrived at Mount Joy.  Andrea had even hiked up there with champagne and beer for us all to share and celebrate the view once we caught her up.  We loved our drinks stop and were really grateful but there was more work to do yet, before our final destination.

The girls headed off and Fuzz and I lingered for a bit before our descent into Rome.  This pilgrimage has been quite a solo journey for us for some reason.  We’ve mostly been in a bubble by ourselves on this trip, occasionally finding others just to lose them after a day or two.  It was very special for us today to walk, as we have nearly every day on this trip,  just the two of us…to the Vatican.  It was so wonderful to arrive and be greeted by our new, pilgrim friends.

We collected our testimoniums, a document that confirms our journey on foot  after our credentiales were verified.  That all went very smoothly and not even a queue!
What an amazing feeling it was to walk into this holy place, the Eternal City.  We both feel so very privileged to have had the ability and opportunity to be able to make this journey.  We’re truely blessed.

This has been a very emotional day…it marks the end of this Cammino but… is the beginning of the next.

No caption needed here.

Cammino friends.

View from Mt Joy.

We’re here at St Peter’s Square.

Campagna di Roma to La Storta

We knew the weather was going to be wet today so we were well prepared with our wet weather gear ready to go.  This is only the 4th wet day this whole trip so we’re not complaining.  None of the previous wet days have been a problem because on those days our walk was on pavements or quiet country roads, today was no exception.  The only time our boots got a little bit muddy was when we went to investigate an Etruscan tomb.  We couldn’t get in which was a shame as I’ve seen it on TV and I would have liked to see the hieroglyphics in there.

We got wind and rain then fine, our rain gear was on and off all throughout the day.  The weather cleared long enough for us to have a snack while we sat on someone’s front wall.  There wasn’t anywhere to rest so we made do with that and had some of the cheese and dried apricots we’ve been carrying.  That got us going for a bit longer.

We came to  the ruins of an Etruscan village.  We’ve taken photos of the history of the area and I won’t bore you with it all, there’s so much to tell.  Google it if you would like to know more.

We finally got to La Storta and right in front of us was a pastry shop.  We fell inside, had a sandwich then inhaled some really lovely little cakes.  It was hard to leave a nice warm, dry cake shop.

Tomorrow is our final day of walking.  It’s hard to believe.

Morning view.

Etruscan village ruins.

Torrente Valchette.

Weird but functional rain gear.

Sutri to Campagnaro di Roma

We had  a lovely dinner last night made by the nuns.  It was Friday, so of course fish was on the menu.  The nuns are very friendly and the old strict one is quite fun too, she delighted in showing us their church.  We wouldn’t have dared decline her invitation just as we obediently ate every morsel…she was watching!

There was a group of about 20 teenagers there last night too and they were going to be helping some younger children prepare for their confirmation over the weekend.  They practised a concert they would be doing so we had music and singing as we tried to go to sleep.  All very Christian and quite a contrast to the previous night’s shenanigans.  It was really lovely to see a group of young people so filled with faith.

After being fussed over by the nuns at breakfast, we were taken back to our previous day’s collection point so we could start the day.  It took a bit of working out which way to go to start with  once we were dropped off because we didn’t want to accidentally put ourselves on the alternative, longer route.  We got that sorted out and set off at a brisk pace being as it was so cold.  We knocked the first 10k off in record time, found a bar for a quick coffee and set off again.  Along the way we came to a field of sheep with baby lambs and some of them must have only just been born because they could barely stand up yet.  They were very cute.  There was also a black lamb…well, every family has one after all.  Not too much later, we came to a beautiful area for a picnic and we enjoyed the water view while we ate.

We finally arrived at our destination after an absolute lung busting climb, which is very often the case at the end of the day, found a bar and chatted to some very friendly Italians who had passed us on bikes earlier.
I wonder what tonight holds..

Roman amphitheatre possibly 1st Century BC

Beautiful spot for our picnic.

Heading towards the light.

Every family has one!

Vetrella to Sutri

Trying to get to sleep last night was quite an eye opener.  We were just dropping off when we were surprised, infact amazed by the noises coming from the room next door.   An itinerant worker who was staying at our hotel obviously still had plenty of energy after his long working day and found someone to bring home from his evening out.  When the noise finally stopped I couldn’t decide whether to applaud or roll over and have a cigarette. 😀(No I don’t smoke).

After a bit of a heart starter of a hill getting out of town this morning, we had a wonderful walk.  Through open forest, then into Hazelnut groves which were wonderfully soft under foot, constantly shady so we stayed comfortably cool and really lovely.
In the Hazelnut groves we found Torri d’Orlando,  a  couple of ruins which are Roman Tombs from the 1st Century BC.  This is to add to all the Etruscan sights that are around.  We don’t have the energy to totally explore all the sights there are to see, which is a shame.

We stopped for a sandwich about lunch time in a town then headed off again.  Another heart starter of a hill to get us going again then into another forest.  This was a denser forest this time with a babbling stream beside us most of the way.  That meant there were some little bridges to cross.  This afternoon required more concentration as it was a little more technical but it was lovely just the same.  It was so nice having most of today in the shade.

We finally arrived at Sutri where a lovely, little nun collected us in a car and we are now in the Convent of San Francesco.  We were welcomed with iced tea, shown our room and given all the information we needed.  Dinner 7.30pm, breakfast 6.30am.  They’ll take us back to where we were collected from at 7am.

One thing’s for sure…..we won’t be hearing the same noises tonight like last night.

Hmm… I’m wondering what’s for dinner.

Some lovely forest

Roman tomb from 1st Century BC

Things got a bit technical.

Beautiful hazelnut groves

Viterbo to Vetrella

It was nice and cool when we started walking this morning.  We found a pastry shop on our way out of town and bought some little pizza things and a couple of biscuits for our trip today as there weren’t any places to buy food along the way again today.

We walked for about 4k along an ancient road carved out by the Etruscans around 6 – 8th century BC.   Incredible!  It was very shady and a very nice temperature.  It was also a bit tight if traffic came along, although thankfully that didn’t happen often.

We came up to some fields of sheep and some very newly, born lambs.  They could barely walk they were so young.  They were also very cute.  Not far past the field was a picnic table.  They often pop up just as we need one.  We sat and had the pizza and biscuits we’d bought earlier and both commented on how truly blessed we were to be able to sit and enjoy such a wonderful view while we ate our snack.

There were some climbs up and down towards the end of our walk today, lots of olive groves as well.  Finally we arrived in Vetrella, found a very nice restaurant and had a lovely lateish lunch……avoiding the lamb and having chicken instead.

After getting directions to the local supermarket we got some bits and pieces for our dinner and our final lot of supplies to see us through to Rome.

Road carved out by the Etruscans

More of that road.

Our view for morning tea.

Montefiascone to Viterbo

We left our lovely B&B after a very nice breakfast and our lovely hostess packed some brioche and cake for us to take on our way today.

We were looking forward to a shorter and flat walk and it was really lovely.  We walked on 3 K of ancient Roman Rd and it was amazing thinking about all the people who would have also walked along this road over the last 2000 years.

We stopped at a little picnic bench for a snack and Andrea, our German pilgrim friend and Rose and Erica, our American pilgrim friends went past.  We were all going to meet up at the thermal springs about 7 K from our final destination.  They were going to enjoy the waters and we would all have a picnic.  Fuzz and I started out again and after a considerable time we realised we must have gone wrong somewhere as we should have caught the girls up by now.  I consulted the Sloways app ( Via Francigena maps) which I have downloaded the maps to use off line. We discovered we were well off the track.  With the use of the app we got back on track and realised we’d given ourselves an extra hour of walking about 4K.

We finally made it to the springs and enjoyed our picnic before heading off again.

The girls kindly left an arrow at a turn in case we missed another one.  We had quite a laugh about that.

We finally made it to Viterbo and even found a laundry so we got our washing done again.  A lovely, Italian couple showed us how to use the machine.  We had a nice conversation with them about driving a campervan all over Europe.  We’ve had some very interesting conversations in lavandorias on this trip.

Picnic at thermal springs

2000 year old Roman rd. 3 k long

Montefiascone in the distance. Where we’d come from

Nice tunnel

This way!