Number of kilometres today: 31.8
Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 1,868.7
Total steps since Canterbury: 2,600,417
Number of kilometres to Rome: 161
We are one member down in our walking group this morning. Franco left earlier than us as he decided that he wanted to walk the 40 plus kilometres to Bolsena and we planned only to walk to Acquapendente. For the last two days he frequently said he wanted to arrive in Rome and Peter said he wanted to be there by the 22nd November so he could make it home in time for a party. I knew when I woke up at 6.30am that he was leaving alone as he took all his things out of our shared dorm room and started packing outside the door. Once we were all awake, he came and told us that he was leaving. He apologised to me for last night, said that he was tired. I nodded my head and said okay. I was relieved and a little sad that he was leaving.
Once we were packed we went to the bar for our morning coffee and pastry breakfast. Hungry after last night's light dinner, I ate two pastries, a miele with apple and custard and a cornetto al cioccolato. Indulgent but delicious. Jimberto, the Frenchman walking Santiago de Compostela walked into the bar just before we left. We wished him buon cammino and shook his hand. I told him he is brava. He took my hand and kissed it.
We left Radicofani under grey skies. Soon it started raining lightly. I didn't feel to put the kermit on so I put up my small travel umbrella and discovered that it tucked perfectly under the chest strap of my bag so I could keep walking with my walking poles without needing to hold it. Genius.
Halfway to Acquapendente, we saw a sign to an unexpected bar in the middle of the nowhere. Excited at the prospect of coffee and warmth, we walked the thirty metres in the opposite direction only to find it closed. Of course. It was Sunday. Instead, we took shelter in the bus stop with the rain blowing in through the gap between the roof and the side wall.
Another hour down the road, we took our 5 minute rest break sitting on the safety barrier on the side of the road. We are all a little surprised to see Franco walking up the road from behind us. He said ciao only and kept walking. We watched him disappear around the corner. He must have taken the main road that winds it way out of Radicofani down to Via Cassia thinking it was shorter than the Via Francigena official route. It wasn't.
Twenty minutes later we caught up to him again when we stopped for lunch at a small roadside pizzeria ristorante. In no rush to make it to Acquapendente, we went inside to order pizza. He sat outside eating his panino, not wanting to join us. Before he left, he stuck his head inside the ristorante and called out ciao ragazzi. I waved at him and called ciao back. That was the last time we saw him. He messaged Peter later to tell him that made it to Bolsena. He felt he should offer some explanation; he was tired, he wasn't good at walking in a group, he needed to be alone today.
We made it into Acquapendente just before 5pm. It was already getting dark. We found our way to the Casa dell Pellegrino to find beds for the night. It was closed so I rang them and explained to them in my improving Italian that we are three pilgrims and could we sleep there tonight. The woman responded to me in rapid Italian that I didn't properly understand except I thought she said that they will come now. We sat down to wait. Five minutes later, a 50 year old man wearing his army green hunters uniform arrived and let us in. No heating. No proper kitchen. But there were beds and blankets and hot water for a shower.
We took aperitivi at a local bar so we could use the wifi. The first access I have had in many days so I used the opportunity to upload as many photos as I could to make room on my iphone. We then found our way to one of the restaurants that offer a discount for pilgrims. I ate pici al cinghiale for primi. Pici is a tuscan pasta, thick like round noodles with wild boar ragu. Straccetti di manzo, sliced steak with rucola for secondo. And we tried a local dessert, a barbarossa which was like a milifoglie but with pineapple at the bottom. Our stomachs full, we walked back to our casa in the cold night air and into an equally cold bedroom to sleep another night. I turned my spare roll up water bottle into a hot water bottle. It was a warm nights sleep for me.
View to church and castle in Radicofani in the early morning
Leaving the distinctive Radicofani hill behind
Peter in action. Finally got a front shot of him as he is normally leading our walking party.
Irrigation machine in a field next to Via Cassia
Peter and Paulius discusing distances to Acquapendente
Farewell Tuscany. Hello Lazio.
Beautiful vine covered house
Amusing myself as we walk.
Crossing the river bridge just before the ascent to Acquapendente
Chiesa San Francesco