The streets of San Gimignano were empty when we got outside this morning. What a huge change from the throngs of tourists in the squares yesterday.
Today’s walk contains a choice of routes long-but-wooded or short-but-asphalt. We decided on the longer route because we’d done a lot of road walking the previous two days.
We walked past a Swedish hiker who’s name was Borg (we think). He was a retired Lutheran priest and was taking his time walking for as long as it suited him. How nice is that.
As we were speaking with him it began to sprinkle and Allison donned her rain gear. I decided to chance it with just my rain jacket acting like a poncho. It doesn’t really do the trick but if the rain stayed very light it would suffice. This time my guess (and of course it was just that) turned out to be correct and soon enough we were climbing a hill and the rain ceased. Allison quickly packed up her rain pants and jacket and we were off again.
In that period of time however we landed at the dividing point between the long and short variants of the Via. Because of the rain we changed plans and bore left opting for the short way.
This variant had one advantage in addition to its shorter length. It travelled through Colle di Val d’Elsa, the “city of glass”. Colle was renown in the Middle Ages for its fine crystal, and art form that is still prevalent today.
But before we reached Colle we stopped for a coffee in the small village of Le Grazie (the Thank You). They had really good pastries!
Colle’s medieval walls are mostly gone but the “new” gate still exists and makes an impressive entryway.
Inside Colle we visited the Basilica. Three particular paintings caught my attention. The first depicts an angel speaking to Joseph in a dream warning him to leave Bethlehem for Egypt with his wife and the child Jesus.
The second shows the moment soon after the resurrection when Jesus bids Mary not to touch him because he’d not yet ascended to the Father.
The third was the moment Jesus appeared to Thomas after his resurrection. Thomas, doubting his own eyes was invited to touch the nail holes in Jesus’ hands and feet and the spear wound in his side. I liked these because they are rarely the subject of paintings.
Leaving Colle was a difficult few hours along very busy roads with little curb or margin. That was mentally tiring. But we did manage to find a little shade against a concrete wall by one of the many industrial zones we passed. So of course, that is exactly where we ate lunch. We joked about how relaxing our spot was however we will actually miss the carefree lunches once we return home.
When we finally arrived at the tiny village of Abbadia Isola (outside of Monteriggioni) we had a small problem. Paulo had made our reservation for the night at the small donativo in town. When we arrived however we were somewhat briskly told that there was no such reservation for any of us. It seems the number he’d called was misprinted in two of our three guides and actually belonged to a different hostel in a different town. Fortunately for us there was another hostel practically next door and they had space foe us for a good price.
Showered and clothes washed we had only to have a quick dinner and crash for the night. Tomorrow our destination is Siena. Tomorrow we also bid arrivederci to Paulo. He will not stop there or will at a minimum not spend a rest day there.
So our dinner together was a bit of a farewell meal. Sorry to see him move on…but that’s the pilgrimage way.