Friday, July 07, 2006

Day 22 Abbadia San Salvatore to Aquapendente 21kms

There were huge drops of rain when we left our hotel this morning at 6.15am. This is the first time we've had Italian rain. With our waistbags bulging from under our rain jackets we looked like a group of pregnany pilgrims as we wobbled up the road and into the still sleeping town. The bus arrived spot on at 7am and after a brief wait for another us at Piencastangnio we got a bus that dropped us off on the side of the Cassis near Val di Paglia. "Avante" said the drive pointing up the road, "Aquapendente dirrito". The rain started coming down harder than ever and we stopped to put on our little red flashing lights in order to more visible to oncoming traffic. When we reached the border bewteen Tuscany and Lazio (somewhere close to the Ponte Rigo) the thunder started crashing and Tuscany wept buckets as we left. The Lazio put on a stunning sound and light display with forked and sheet lightening and rolling, crashing thunder. Poor Marion shrieked with every strike of lightening and we all collapsed our telescopic walking poles and took Val's flag pole (metal) out of her backpack where it stuck up like an antenna. The rain came down in sheets and soon the road was awash with water that all collected on the small space between the white line and the verge forming running rivers down the road. We couldn't walk in the river but we also couldn't risk walking in the middle of the road so we ended up playing hop sctoch for a few kilometers, walking in the road until a car appeared and then hopping over the river to the verge until it had passed. One inconsiderate truck driver drove straight through a huge puddle sending a curtain of water over poor Rayna who shrieked and tried to jump out of the way. Our Regatta rain suits proved their worth by keeping us dry even in this deluge but our boots failed merably and we were squealching and swosshing water in our boots within minutes. Half an hour later the sun broke through, the thunder rolled over back towards Tuscany and we stopped to take off our rainpants and put away our flashing lights. Our hotel suddenly appeared on the road before us - about a km before town - and we were relieved to get into our rooms and out of our sweaty damp clothes. Then we walked into town to find a sprawling fleamarklet in progress. We had a good lunch took a walk to the Duomo and visited the famous 8th C crypt. The storm returned in the afternoon so we stayed in the hotel for dinner.

Marion: I found the rain quite refreshing to walk in BUT I did not like the thunder and lightening. I found it rather scary walking that especially when it was right overhead. Every time there was a clap of thunder and a bolt of lightening I screamed. When we bought our bioots the salesman told us that they were bullet proof - well, they might be bullet proof but they are not waterproof or even water restitant. I felt that my feet were swimming in water. Aquapendent is a delightful medieval village with lots of history and cobbled streets, arches and little alleyways intercrossing each other. I so enjoyed our walk around the town. It is wonderful to wander around and look at all the beautiful things but cannot buy as nothing else can fit into the backpack and even if it could, one does not want to carry anything extra.

KATHY: I thought I would tell you about our routine a little. The evening before, the next days leader tells us a little bout the place we are walking, route etc. We also all hand over our pages of the maps we are carrying (we shared these out equally). We then trek off to bed (still broad daylight!) and set Fifi (Val's phone alarm) and Rayna's alarm for our get up time - usually an hour before departure time. The alarm normally wakes us and Ratna and I start our day. We generally share a double room - read double bed - with Val, Syl anf Marion sharing a triple room. We then wash, brush teeth and get dressed. I'm normally 1/2 dressed anyway as sleep in my shorts and crop top (not carrying PJ's). I check my bioots for further disintergration and Rayna starts strapping her toes. This is quite a time consuming because we share her penknife's scissors and it is early morning. By now Marion delivers the immersion heater and I set about making our respective cups of tea. We are both carrying tea and I'm always on the scrounge for sugar. We generally buy yoghurt for breakfast and I eat this while we both repack the top half of our packs. I'm scared to explore the bottom half where non essentials like sleeping bag and long pants dwell as I'm not sure what else is hiding down there. We put on some sunblock, ensure that our money belts are rescued from the bottom of our beds and secured round our waists (very little money to keep safe as this is travel on the cheap.) We pack our daily fruit rations - apple, banana and zip the backpacks up. By now that hiour has passed - time sure does fly! We have one last check of the room before leaving. Also to say that apart from our beds generally have demarcate a little cor of the room for our 'stuff'. We work in this confined space doing all our morning chores.

Val: It rained today, sheet rain and thunder and lightening so we wore our rain suites - about time they earned their keep as we have carried them almost 500kms! The lightening was scary especially with my Homenet flag (which has a metal rod) poking out the back of my pack like an antenna. It was so dark it was like walking at night

As Kathy has told you about our morning routine, I thought I'd tell you about breakfast. We have given up with the B & B breakfast because they are too late (07.30pm) and too predictable (bread and jam). Lunch is always bread if we are eating on the run so try to make breakfast healthy. Take one metal mug which has been hanging on your backpack and is probably full of dust . Fill up with water from bath tap. Place immersion heater into water careful not to electocute yourself due to damaged plug socket. Add tea bag or coffee from jar (shared by Val and Marion). who take it in turns to carry) use spoon from yesterday's ice cream. Add sugar "pinched" the day before. Add milk from carton shared by val, Rayna and Kathy. Drinks as quickly as possible so you can begin with the next course.

Take packet of cereal (shared by Val, Rayna and Kathy) tip into mug (best to rinse first but a personal choice) add milk. Take one yoghurt brought day before add sachet of honey "pinched" day before from Cafe, stir and add to cereal. Eat banana. Now walk!

I lost my sandals that go with my little black number so I have to wear it with my hiking sandals - rather spoils the effect. Still, one thing about loosing things is that the back pack weighs less.

The most "useless" think I brought on my trip? Has to be the travel wash line. "No pegs required" it boasted. Not surprising since you can't hang anthing on it - it has suckers on the end and cannot even take the weight of one pair of socks, it is also only 1 m long! It made it to Sienna and then the bin. The most "useful"? Samples - you know those little sample giveaways. minature toothpaste, body lotion, soaps etc. We buy one shampoo and fill up all the empty sample bottles. I had a small sample of toothpaste but have now had to replace it - I only wanted a small tube so bought Kid's "SHREK 2" - it tastes wonderful - no wonder I go to bed hyped up with additives. The best samples-giveaways are from Virgin Active - they have a goodie bag usually every couple of months and the Toll road from JHB to DURBAN. Add to these the "Complimentary" toiletries from the best places, I highly recommend the likes of The Livingstone in Zambia and Zimbali Estate in KZN.

Lunch - we made the most wonderful discovery today. A little restaurant on a corner run by a young couple. Both the decor and the food had a fresh approach but still retained the authenticity of its origin. To start, we were given a Chef's complimentary tasting of crostini with the freshest tasting tomatoes, basil, marjoram and olive oil, black pepper. (The first peppermill we have seen). Followed by Kathy and Marion - Rigatoni con formaggio misto, pomodoro and basilico E6.50. Sylvia had Petti di tacchino all origano E7.00 (vegetarian dish of courgettes and potatoes with cheese.

Val: In the market today we saw "salt cod" "Bacaala" so I asked if they served it. It wsn't on the menu but the Chef had some prepared and made me a dish of salt cod, fresh tomatoes and herbs - delicious, light and served with a very light wine. We realised we had found a very special palce so we just had to try Dolci della cassa (deserts of the house) We shared:
Tortino Di coccolata cou Panna (chocolate mousse)
Mille Fogli con crema di Mascarpone (layers of the most amazing pastry, with a mascarpone cream with chocolate)
Mouse di Ricotta
Ricotta with chocolate sauce

Best ever deserts!
Speaking to the young check, he explained that he had not been professionally tained but had grown up in the kitchen. His style was to add a fresh twist to traditional dishes adn this he has most certainly achieved without copying the trends. The owner signed the handwritten menu and gave it to me to add to my collection. "Lacapracampa Trattoria" in Acquapendente, Lazio Province - worth a visit!


Anonymous said...

Just as well you weren't walking on steep muddy dirt roads when this rain came down!

I hope the estimated KMs aren't too wrong for these last few long walks.

Good luck ladies!

Mark and Cindy

Desire Fourie said...

Hi. What about posting some more pics. You all still sound very cheery, but I am sure you don't look so cheery anymore, especially after walking in an electric storm and being wet! Enjoy the last phase of your walk! We are proud of you all! Love Desire Fourie