Day78 Pointe a Cappiano to Castelfiorentino – sunrise and hilltops

Our day began early and was cold as we left in the dark.

Morning Update

The sunrise, though, was spectacular!

And for family and friends that know me well, know I do not watch many sunrises because that means getting up early. But getting up and out early on a day that involves many kilometers is the ideal way to hike.

We walked along a canal on a grass road first thing as the sun rose. It was a beautiful and peaceful way to begin the day. The path then changed to cinder and dirt and finally to asphalt for most of the day.

As we continued on the way we crossed the Arno river. This was a major landmark as a north/south border within Tuscany. The Arno also flows through Fierenza (Florence).

Our first pit stop was in the village of San Miniato. But just before arriving we found our first pilgrim donativo stand. Thanks for the gracious gift friends of the pilgrim.

Donotivo Stand Italian style! Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

At the top of the village of San Miniato is a tower. Of course we had to climb to the top even if there was an entrance fee. Each floor provided a little history of the town or tower and then the views at the top were impressive.

On our way down the many steps we noticed two pigeons who had broken through the man made barrier to watch all the people below. It was a funny sight.

People watching. Are they breaking in or out?

Daily life continues as we walk through history of course. We stumbled across these beautiful flower girls waiting the the wedding to begin. I loved the shoes.

On our way out of town we stepped into a church which was an art museum dedicated to a local artist who actually painted religious scenes. But of course to be famous as an artist usually means you are dead so we just saw a picture of the painter. But a local lady chatted with us inside the church and told us all about Napoleon and some history of the area. This was all in italian and we understood some of what she said. And there was a pilgrim stamp there too.

We hit the trail or pavement again. Right around lunch time we crested a hill to find a rest area for pilgrims including a picnic table, trash can, water, and two people we know…JeanYves and Paulo. It is always nice to see familiar faces. They were going to make an extra long day of it so we bit them adieu and went off the VF toward our lodging.

Unfortunately it was a slog along pavement for the rest of the trip and until 30min before we arrived the heat and humidity seemed to increase with every step. The relief came with a crash of thunder ahead and a gust of wind. The sky darkened and our pace quickened. We were 30min away from our goal….would we make it?

We kept glancing at the hilltops where we knew JeanYves and Paulo were still hiking. It sure looked dark and menacing up there. Sure enough we were about 30 feet from our Ostello in Castelfiorentino when the first drops of rain fell.

There was shopping left to do so as Allison showered I grabbed my rain jacket and bolted to the supermarket. About 2min into the route the skies opened up and I took shelter.

The skies opened up.

My shelter turned out to be just outside an ice cream shop. You’ll be happy to know that with great fortitude I resisted having an ice cream without Allison. I opted to have a video chat with our daughter Sarah and granddaughter Evelyn.

Shopping complete, I returned and did the whole shower and laundry deal. So here I sit.

Typical generic hostel with clothes drying all around.

You know one of the great joys of traveling is trying new and exotic foods and lovely intricate wines….and then there is this: “Oh how low we have sunk.”

Not only box wine, but generic store brand box wine and prepackaged sandwiches. Ugh. Worst yet…there are no cups or…yea baby, straight out of the box.

We ended our night with a video call with Isabel our baby girl and her new puppy Sully. Life is good.

Sully back home in NC.

Published by

Mark Dowty

"An Intentional Life"

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