We set out at 7:00 knowing it was going to be tough. We had a long day 33km and 900+m climb. The wind was cold and the warm weather gear came out for only the second time. But it was beautiful.
It is rare that we can see our destination at the beginning of the day especially when it is 32km away, but Radicofani sits atop a volcanic cone and it’s tower is so prominent that it is easy to pick out.
The problem of course is that it enhances the distance you have to go as well as how slow you progress. That tower just never seemed to get any closer. Well that was our impression anyway.
The Via in this area passes several thermal baths and if you had the time it offers some wonder relaxation. We, of course had a long slog ahead and couldn’t stop, but I was suspicious that they’d be closed anyway. They weren’t as it turns out.
At one point we came to an obstacle. The VF crosses and iconic foot bridge which was chained off with barricades. There were no detour signs in place and we had a choice to make. 1) Climb back up a steep hill, add 2km to our walk and follow a road around. 2) Scramble down the bank and rock up across the stream 3) hop the fence and risk the bridge.
Here’s a picture from the other side of the bridge. Yep we hopped over the barricade and walked across a perfectly good bridge. We are pretty light pilgrims ya know.
From this point the trail took a aggravating series of steep ups and downs never seeming to gain much net altitude. The weather was nice however and the company amazing.
As we approached noon, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. The sweat on our backs allowed the wind to chill us quickly and we faced the shoo ever of windbreakers (that make you sweat more) or chills.
We had another water crossing albeit small. Now this is an interesting solution.
We made good time during the day despite the climbs and had a chilly lunch break on some gravel on the side of the road. While we were eating you could feel the temperature drop so we made it a quick lunch.
We also met to s of new pilgrims from Italy, France and Germany. It’s actually feeling crowded. Many people seem to have joined in Siena.
As I mentioned Radicofani sits atop a dormant volcanic cone. In hiker terms this translates to “a steep pumice-strewn climb at the end of a very long day. We were beat.
But a reward awaited us. In addition to the nice views and quaint town we had visitors! Dana and her husband Ido live near Milan and had driven 3hrs to meet us. Dana is Heidi’s (former owners of Hutton Vineyards near our home) sister We’d met several years ago and have stayed in touch via Facebook. It was so nice to see them and spend the evening together. They treated us to dinner and even spent the night in the Ostello (their first Ostello experience).
My night however was fretful. The blog had not been done, the clothes still very wet from a late laundry and poor ventilation and my batteries running low. It was after midnight when I was able to burrow under the covers and fall to sleep.
So…what a day. It was hard and fun and joyous and difficult. But I wouldn’t change a thing.