Today’s walk was a long one. Luckily for us, it was mostly downhill with a strong wind at our back. Unfortunately, our day did not end at the end of our walk.
We knew we had a longer trek than usual today so we got on the road at 8:00. The wind was forecast to be 20-30 in the town where we started and 10-20 as we descended later in the day. Well, it was every bit of 30 MPH when we started walking. We had some tree cover most of the time, but when we were in the open, it was hard to walk a straight line. We almost immediately started a descent on switchbacks down the mountain with only an occasional climb. Traffic was fairly light on our two lane road. After about three hours of walking the switchbacks, we started a more gradual descent along a ridge line into a valley.
Today’s lunch break, which we try to take about halfway through the walk, came at about 12:00. Because we started walking earlier today, we were whipped and ready to stop after 4 hours without a break. Things were looking pretty questionable for finding a place to stop when we happened upon a gas station with a cafe attached. Unlike most cafes in gas stations, this place actually had a lunch menu. Dave and I both had pasta and bread.
So with lunch out of the way and 11 miles left to go, we were back on the two lane headed down hill into the valley. We knew before we left this morning our lodging options were going to be limited for tonight. Therefore, we had a backup plan in mind in case we couldn’t find a place to stay. The backup was to walk to a train station along our route in Vado and take the train 15 miles into Bologna, which is tomorrow’s destination. Before we got to the train station, there were two B&Bs we had our eye on. When we got to them, we could not get anyone to answer the doorbell or phone at the first, and we couldn’t even find the second. We asked a man that ran a bar next to the address listed on Google Maps about the location of the second B&B but between the language barrier between us and him, and the fact that we were running out of time to walk the rest of the way to the train station to catch our once-per-hour train to Bologna, we gave up on the B&B option and hurried to the train station.
While I was in the parking lot taking care of sending our end-of-day message, Dave went in the small, unattended train station and bought two tickets. The train was right on time so off we went to Bologna Centrali station. Once we got there, we switched to another train that took us to the west side of Bologna near our hotel. From there it was a 15 minute walk to the hotel. So with all that, we ended our walking day at 3:45 in Vado but didn’t get to the hotel until 5:30.
Tomorrow morning we’ll catch the train back out to the little train station in Vado where we stopped walking today and walk from there back to this same hotel west of Bologna. So tomorrow we can “slack pack” which means we can leave all nonessential stuff here in our hotel rooms and just take with us what we need for the 15 mile walk. That lightens the load some.
So that was our Thursday. One last thing. About an hour into our walk this morning, we passed a sign saying we were leaving the Tuscany Region. It was all we thought it would be; especially the food and scenery. We hope your day was a good one at home. Can’t wait to see everyone next Wednesday!