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    • Day 83

      Sutri 20 miles

      October 3, 2023 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      One of the benefits of being a tad dehydrated is that I didn’t feel the need to go into the other couple’s bedroom to relieve myself during the night. Don’t think it would have helped any of us sleep afterwards.

      Part of the fairly standard routine when arriving at each accommodation is being told how to leave. Where the keys should be put, essentially. Didn’t happen here. Suspect she wanted to leave before I passed out. Wasn’t at my liveliest yesterday. Anyway I didn’t think anything of it as I just left the keys hanging up and left. Or tried to. The apartment’s door just pulled shut behind me. The building’s door locked itself behind me. All very standard. Then I reached the locked gate. Could not see any way to release the lock from the inside. Felt sure there must be a way but I couldn’t for the life of me see how to do it. And of course I now couldn’t go back in to get the keys as the door was locked. It was only 7.15am and I didn’t feel like waking the whole building by banging on the door.

      Just had to break out by climbing over the security gate. Not that difficult as I could climb up on something and then swing a leg over, remembering to make sure my rucksack came with me. Would have been more comfortable with another couple of inches on my inside leg measurement. But no permanent damage done, I think.

      I had been really pleased to have got this far on the Via without resorting to paracetamol and ibuprofen, as they had been my best buddies last time. I probably haven’t taken any ibuprofen at all since then and only a couple of paracetamol each year. But by midnight I had decided that needs must if sleep was to be achieved and, more importantly, if I was going to be able to walk the next day. I know that the advice is to keep moving if you have a sore back but I’m not sure if walking 20 miles carrying a rucksack would be considered overdoing it. Worked a treat as far as sleep was concerned and seemed ok to begin with as I vaulted the gate and walked to the bar for breakfast. But then it seemed to regress. Popped some more pills and that seems to have done the trick. No more than the usual discomfort at the end of the day.

      Today’s walk very much in 2 halves. The morning was walking up a large hill, almost Munro height, mostly in woods. And then the afternoon was walking down the other side. Very straightforward except I got a bit lost in the morning. I wasn’t on the proper route as I was taking a shortcut to save a day. And the path just petered out. No sign anywhere and the ground cover included some quite unpleasant thorned branches. Shorts were not ideal. Or short-sleeved t-shirt. Then I heard voices. First thought was bloody hunters but it wasn’t the weekend and they sounded like the fair sex who surely don’t go round shooting things. Anyway I headed for them and found two ladies thrashing about in the undergrowth, seemingly as lost as I was. Except they were dressed sensibly and were carrying dinky little wicker baskets. Hunting for mushrooms. We had the usual sort of discussion where people have a conversation despite not having any common language. All I got from it was they were firmly convinced that I was nowhere near the Via Francigena. After a while I managed to locate a path of sorts and went on my merry way. Met more mushroom hunters including 2 guys in full camouflage outfits together with standard issue wicker baskets. I suppose they wear the same every day but during the week they have a basket and at weekends a shotgun. And it does mean the mushrooms can’t see them coming.

      Finished the day in a completely different state from yesterday. One of the main differences was simply the timing of lunch. Yesterday I had to eat just before 12 which meant that by 5pm I was empty, very hot and dehydrated. Today I reached somewhere just before 2. So I only had a couple of hours more to do afterwards. Made all the difference but these things aren’t in my control.

      Lunch included a mortadella, Philadelphia and pistachio sandwich. New combination for me but really good.

      In a great apartment tonight. Massive. 2 double bedrooms, large living room/dining room and a bathroom big enough to host a small party (although it would be an odd place to hold a party I’d have to say). Unlike last night there wouldn’t have been a problem if another couple joined me although I’m really pleased not to share.

      Dinner tonight included a starter of assorted things battered and deep-fried. Don’t know what they all were but enjoyed it nevertheless. Followed by the usual pizza.
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    • Day 84

      Formello 21 miles

      October 4, 2023 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      My body is a very strange thing to be sure. For most of my life I don’t open my eyes before 8am unless there is a very pressing reason. When I started this Via that still applied and if I wanted to be awake before 8am I needed to set an alarm. I was asleep usually before 10pm. It felt as if my body needed 10 hours to recover. Now I still try for 10pm bed but I’m awake regularly by 6am. Many will find that quite shocking. I am drafting this post at 5.30am for goodness sake. Admittedly it is now a much more comfortable temperature at night which does help with sleeping. I find it so much easier to cope with an extra 10C or even 20C during the day than when trying to sleep.

      Pottered about until nearly 7am because it was still dark and I had some road-walking to do. No sign of any bars open when I left. Tad disappointing. Still there was another village only 6 miles, or 2 hours, down the road which looked more promising. Had a nasty bit of road to cope with before that. Thought that well before 8am it might be quiet. Didn’t reckon on Italian white van man. Plenty of them up and about at that time.

      There are all sorts of corners. My pet hate are the ones that are not so tight that Stirling Moss has to slow down but tight enough that he can’t see very far round the corner so he (and I) get quite a fright when he discovers a cowering pilgrim standing on his preferred racing line. I used to stand my ground and force them to take evasive action while, I hoped, having enough time to take action myself if it didn’t look like happening. Game of chicken really. But that does rely on there being enough time for all that. No such finesse this morning. As soon as I was aware of an approaching vehicle I was into the undergrowth forthwith.

      Another nicely timed lunch stop when a litre and a half of fizzy water and a sandwich fare perked me up for the afternoon. And only cost 3€. Amazing.

      The early departure meant I arrived at tonight’s apartment before 4pm. It is about a third of the size of last night’s one and getting on for twice the price but I needed somewhere in this village as it is within striking distance of Rome. With any luck by this time tomorrow it will all be over. Relief for all of us.

      Took a wander about before dinner to try to find a bar which might be open early tomorrow. As you would expect they are in the opposite direction to my route. If I get up at 6am then I should be at the bar by 6.30am and on my way by 6.45am. Will be beginning to get light by then. The rush is because the place in Rome where I can get my Testimunium to say I completed the Via shuts at 5pm. And I would really like to have another look in St Peter’s. I was quite impressed last time. It shuts at 6.30pm and the queues are legendary. If I don’t make it tomorrow then I could get there for a 7am opening on Friday. Seems a bit serious especially as my hotel is some distance from St Peter's.

      Pasta for dinner. Lovely. On the whole the pasta dishes have been excellent and the pizzas a bit disappointing. Followed by a sort of deconstructed strawberry cheesecake. Served as 3 dollops of cheesecake mixture, lots of biscuit crumbs scattered over them and then strawberry sauce poured over. Tasted fine though.
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    • Day 20

      von Viterbo nach Sutri

      September 22, 2018 in Italy ⋅ 23 °C

      Heute habe ich mir wieder einen Ruhetag gegönnt. War gestern doch anstrengender für meine Füße als ich zuerst dachte. Ich habe mir heute Morgen wieder ein längeres Bad gegönnt und bin danach zunächst in das Zentrum von Viterbo gelaufen, um mir die Stadt auch mal bei Tag anzuschauen.

      Nach einer Stunde traf ich unerwartet Serena wieder und so machte es noch mehr Spaß. Leider war heute ihr letzter Tag und sie fuhr am späten Nachmittag in ihre Heimatstadt (Nähe Venedig). Haben uns aber versprochen den Kontakt zu halten und uns zu besuchen.

      Ich nahm dann den nächsten Bus in Richtung Sutri und ruhte mich dort weiter aus. Heute Abend bin ich wieder mit Arianna und Tobia zum Essen verabredet. Auch zwei sehr nette Menschen mit denen ich gerne Zeit verbringe.
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