This is my pilgruimage,
and I'll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
You would cry too
if this happened to you!
(Walking 26km instead of 19km)
SYL: We got a bus to the centre of Sienna and found the Via Citta where we started walking. It was a 2km walk to the Porta Roman "Roman Gate". Then a very pleasant ± 6km walk on a quiet tarred road - Via Certosa - through the pretty suburbs of Sienna. We stopped for a drink and thereafter we were directed onto overgrown paths and through fields and a little settlement. We were very grateful for the yellow and white VF stickers that showed us which way to turn especially when confronted by an open field with no visible path. We trust every VF sign implicitly - even if it directs us straight into a corn field which it did today. The Associazione VF Guida warned us that a path over a rail line might not always be visible, depending on the season. So today we crossed the railway line and elbowed our way through head high corn plants, because the VF sign told us to! If anyone had been watching the cornfield, all they would have seen was a rustling and four SA flags bobbing across the top of the maize plants! After 4 hours of walking, we stopped at a busy roadside cafe and had something to eat and drink- then it was back to the dirt roads. A couple more fields and some tarred road led us into Monteroni D'Ariba. After walking 23kms we were still not in Lucignano. The Topo map told us that it was 19km to Lucignano D'ìArbia. The Assoociazione Guida said that it was 20.5 to Monteroni D'Aribia which is at least 3kms before Luicignano. We were so fed up at having to walk 7kms more than we had expected that we almost took a bus from Monteroni. It must have been 40C in the shade but we decided to shoulder on to Lucignano. We asked a group of men sitting outside a bar for directions to Lucignano and after some consultation, we were directed to the Provincial road. A short while later a man in a smart., blue convertible sports car with the top down cruised along side Val and Rayna and started talking to them. They called me over to the car and the guy said something about him going to Lucignano and indictaed his free back seat. I told him very firmly but politely "No - grazie Senore – siamo pellegrini - a piedie a Roma. No mechanica." He shrugged and drove off. Half an hour later he cruised alongside us again and said something about rooms in Lucignano. I tried to tell him that we already had rooms booked, thank you. He jabbered on about rooms and apartments but I said "No GRAZIE!! " When we trudged up the hill into Lucignana and turned a corner there he was again. By now I felt like really telling him where to get off but he walked with me down the road to where our apartment was, stopped outside the address on my reservation confirmation sheet, produced a key and then got his ID book out to show me that he was in fact Senore Gracio, the owner of the apartment where we were to stay. My so called friends were hiding behind the wall while I was being followed by our suave charmer and it took a lot of hand signals and beckoning to get them to come out and give me some back up. We all felt a bit guilty but also relieved that we hadn't told him to F-off. He got us settleed in and then arranged for his wife to collect Val and Kathy and take them back to Monteronni to do some shopping at 6pm. I’m sure he didn’t want to run in with us again. I asked his wife to please apologise to her husband on our behalf but she laughed and kept saying "No problemo." We think that he had told her about 5 very stubborn, but polite South African women who thought that he was tryng to pick them up along the road. Marrion said that he probably thought we had a bloody cheek to even think that he would hit upon 5 smelly, hot, sweaty old women! (His wife looked much younger than him.)
Marion: This afternoon while we were all walking it was so very hot with hardly any shade. We were quite short of water. We were walking up a tough hill and Kathy was ahead and I could see her waiting for us at the top. In her backpack she had an orange which she had peeled and divided into 2 segments for each of us. I cannot tell you just how welcome those segments of orange were, they tasted like nectar. I took tiny bites of mine and kept them in my mouth as long as I could. Never in my wildest dreams coukld I imagine enjoying orange as much as I did those two segments. Tonight we are staying in a lovely apartment so we can spread out, do our washing and hang it all out to dry. Some of us decided, that as it is so hot we would altar our shirts and we cut off sleeves and shortened them. Syl is quite good as she sewed hems on hers - Val and I left ragged edges.
Rayna: It was a tough day in office today! They told me 19kms and we did 26 kms. So by the time we got to Monteroni I had enough! Val had us running around the village looking for the Info centre. Enough is enough! So I had a tantrum and said I was catching a bus. Val said,m "Not on my shift you dont" So guess who dragged her feet for the last flipping 3kms? Reward - a lekker shower and dinner.
Val: We hadn't intended to eat last night but,,,, we found a restaurant with a real Pizza oven where they made the pizza bases in front of us- this was first! So, we decided "to support the locals" Boost the Italian economy. We walked into a restaurant full of men! Men in groups men in pairs - we were eyed with suspicion. I assured the girls that European men do this sort of thing. Eventually a male & female couple walked in and we all relaxed. We had fantastic pizzas - not paper thin, not double crust, just light as a feather dough, lovely friendly waiter - such a contrast to Sienna - even brought a plate of anchovies to Kathy and me. We had 1/2 a lt of wine for E3.50 We have been paying more for a glass in the tourist areas. We walked back to the hostel singing. "We feel good like fat pilgrims should - we feel fine after a bottle of wine" Marion and I krept into our room trying hard not to wake Syl.
I am group leader today! We rely on Cryptic Clues and 2 different organisations maps which do not agree! Every day our distance is +5kms more than our guides - we discovered today that they are sometimes based on the Road/highway distance and not always on the VF offroad distance. Reading our guides I learned that this is a day of few signs plus lots of getting lost! Did I choose the short straw or what!? Actually, given the guides, it was a case of "don't shoot the messenger" this is an example of the directions;
"Here we continue straight downhill towards the bottom of the Valley .- pass the pit of the mouth of dogs and salt on the opposite depositer"
I thought my song today should be:
"We're on the road to nowhere
But I'll get you there!"
We have lots of photo opportunites and lots of giggles today for some reason. Whenever you see a photo of all 5 of us it most likely due to our professional photographer who sets her camera on delay and then has to "leg it" to join the team before it "Takes". We started out saying "Formaggio" (Cheese in Italian) but we looked miserable so we now say "GRAzie"!
We arrived today and found that we had a fully equipped kitchen so decided to eat in. Kathy and I offered to shop for supper - we found a really good Minestrone . croutons, fresh shavings of grand Parmesan (so cheap) followed by huge Tuna, Feat salad with bread - the bread was once again weighed and not sold per loaf - wine of the vening was from Castelplanio - a crisp white Verdicchio.
Rayna and I are going to have a bottle of really good Merlot when we reach Roma. Safe in the knowledge we do not have to walk the next day!
By the way - Italy is playing Germany tonight so the IPOD is going to bed with me, sleep tight, we miss you all.