Very tough day! We walked 23 miles with some steep climbs and descents over very difficult terrain. We are definitely in the heart of Tuscany now and will be until we get past Florence the middle of next week.
We knew we were facing a longer day so we got started about a half hour earlier than usual. The wind was forecast to be 20-30 out of the north again today and the forecast was accurate. Lucky for us, part of the day we had some tree lines sheltering us from the wind. But when we were on hill tops or in clearings, the wind was howling in our face. Luckily it got up to the low 50s by afternoon so it wasn’t too bad.
Immediately after leaving our hotel in Bolsena, we started a steep climb, walking on gravel logging roads. Because these type roads are not traveled by normal vehicles, the climbs and descents are much steeper and they usually go over the hills instead of around them. After our 1000’ climb first thing, we were on a paved road going through rolling pasture land.
By lunch, we had reached the town of Monterubiaglio. It’s a typical Tuscan town, built on the side of steep hills. Our route actually had us going around the outside of the town center. Because we needed some lunch and a break, we went off course to walk into town. After walking about a mile off course, we had not found anyplace to eat. So we cut our losses and detoured back onto our intended route, hoping we’d find something on down the road. Otherwise, it was going to be a candy bar and water for lunch. Just as we reached the very far edge of town, there was a gas station with a small cafe. We scarfed down some sandwiches, chips and sodas and were thankful we found the place.
After lunch, we found ourselves on a gravel road that was following the Italian high speed railway line between Rome and Florence. This went on for a few miles until we turned away from the railway and found ourselves basically walking on rock trails through peoples very hilly pasture land. The footing was challenging due to the rutted out roads and the steepness of the hills. We also had another encounter with a creek, but this time were able to find some rocks sticking above the water to step on; only Dave got one foot wet.
We finally got to our hotel about 4:45. Once we got here, I started working a cell phone problem that I’d had all day. With some help from the nice lady at the hotel desk, and a young guy down the street at a bar, I got the problem fixed.
Tomorrow, we have a shorter day of only 13 miles. We’re sneaking up on Florence; we’ll be there by Sunday. The Tuscany region is beautiful. We wish you all could be here to see it with us.