Sunday, July 09, 2006

Day 24 Sunday Bolsena to Viterbo 24kms

Val: I was guide today and we had signs for the first time on my shift so it went without any major hiccups except that we were in the sticks all day so no where for coffee breaks or lunch - so when we reached Verterbo we managed to get an ice-cream and pastries before the one remaining shop closed at 1400hours. For E3.50 you can have a large cone (like the real Cornetto cones) with 3 big scoops of any flavours. The Italians are King of Icecream. I decided I only wanted 2 flavours - chocolate - pure and dark, probably 90% cocoa butter! Together with "Rochel" - can you possibly imagine a box of Ferrero Roche chocolates mixed with ice cream? Huge chunks mixed with decandent ice cream. A genius invented that one. Other flavours chosen were Pistaschio, Tiramisu and almond.
We find the drivers very tolerant of us when we are walking or crossing the road. Regardless of whether there is an official crossing they stop so we can all get across safely. On dirt roads they slow right down to avoid covering us in a blanket of dust. They always hoot and wave and because we carry the SA Flag we have had several people stop us if they have been to SA. We had a picture taken with two men who told us all about their trip to SA and were so excited for us walking to Rome, they shook our hands and kept saying Bravo!
Tonight we are 2 kms away from Town so we are eating in the Hotel Restaurant. Italy Play France in the finals tonight so we are not expecting to get too much sleep. They have put a TV in the Dining Room and we also have one in the room. The Waiter looks and acts as if he is very fed up about having drawn the "short straw" and has to work tonight -he makes little attempt to communicate with us, which is fine as we can pretty much work out the menu's ourselves these days. Water and red and white wine appear on the table, open without having requested it. Wines are Fattoria Madonna Delle Macchie, Red - Renaro and White Fonte Vionica. We only drink the white, crisp and dry - really have not had a bad white since we've been here. Rayna and I are going to have a good Merlot when we get to Rome, safe in the knowledge that we don't have to walk the next morning. Therefore the Red remains untouched.
The menu has prices by each item and we order. Strozzapreti con crema di Carcifi - pasta twirls with italian spicy sausage and artichoke - E9 - excellent. Mezze Lune Burro e Salvia E8 - pasta ravioli of ricotta with sage butter, again not a brown butter. Arle cchino di Verdure E3.50 - vegetable selection moulded in a ring - beautifully presented. Sylvia is a vegetarian and has been pleased with the selection of vegetables and pastas available. The salads are on most occasions just lettuce and tomato. We were then presented with bowls of grapes and cherries and madarin sorbets. We were charged a set fee of E15 each so we imagine we could have ordered the whole lot!

Marion: Last night Syl and Val and myself did not get much sleep as our room faced an alley and just below was a restaurant full of people talking loudly until 1.00am plus there wa a light shining into our room from the street - it seemed to shine right into my face everytime I turned over.
I so enjoyed our walk today on dirt paths and on ancient Roman roads. It was very different from the hills in Tuscany. Today was quite flat - unfortunately no coffee stops but did enjoy stopping at the hot water thermal pools. Lovely to take off our botts and socks and sit at the edge of the pool with our feet in the water for a while. Wherever we are people stare at us - not sure if it is because we all have SA flags or we look peculiar or what!!

Kathy: Now Kathy and Rayna's room also faced the restaurant below but we were clever! We closed our shutters, which meant we found oureselves in an unusually, unexpected dark room (remember the sun only sets at our 9.30pm). We were in heaven! Darkness = shut eye time and we both slept well until being rudely awakened, befor eour alarm went off, by our walker chums...they had forgotten to reset their alarm clocks unfortunately.

Rayna: Has nothing much to say. The country walking is lekker and....the hills are easier. The eating is good too!!! Looking forward to Rome!

Syl: This morning, when we were leaving Bolsena an elderley man coming down a side road saw us and crossed himself. I'd like to think that he was praying for our safe journey to come. It was a beautiful day and after we got off the early morning bus at Monefiascone, we climbed up the steep, winding stairs to the gardens high above us with panaramic views of the Dome on one side and of Lake Bolsena on the other. Exiting the town via the Via della Rocca, we found a new VF sign with a stencil of a pilgrim and the word ROMA in red. The sign led us straight down a steep hill into a lovely shady forest. Today's walk was almost 100% on dirt roads, through fields of sunflowers and wheat, vineyards, olives, maize and hay-bales. These are machined "hay stacks" and we saw bale upon bale stacked on top each other under open sided barns- We also passed small flocks of sheep and a herd of dairy cows. The longest remaining section of a basalt stone Roman road runs for over a km through this stage and in some sections one could still see the ruts from cart and carriage wheels. This is a beautiful flat and safe "off road" stage but there is nowhere between Montefiascone and Viterbo to replenish water bottles, no towns or villages at all and only one farm water trough which we didn't dare try drinking. At about the 15km mark we arrived at the hot water,thermal pools crowded with locals. We took our boots off an sat with our feet in the surprisingly refreshing hot water. By the time we reached the Fiorentiana Gate at itero it was 28 degrees and most places were closing shop. We headed for an open 'Gelateria' and ordered the most delicious triple scoop ice cream in cones. That was lunch! After a short rest we walked 2km through a shady suburb to our hotel, the Domus la Quercia which used to be a convent and is now a 90 bed hotel with restaurant, extensive grounds and conference rooms for 20 to 300 people. Tonight is the World Cup Final and excitement is mounting. We will be watching in the hotel conference room and will definitely be supporting Italy.

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