Our morning started with a cold snap that made us dig the warm gear back out to start the day. Not to fear, we were shedding it within 30min.
The day was going to be marginally challenging since we had 500+m ascent in store and we really haven’t climbed much in recent days. “Would our climbing muscles scream at the effort?” We’d see soon enough.
The climb into Campagnano di Roma continued on the other side of town as we left the streets for a nicely forested walk.
We spent some of the morning asking each other questions about what the trip was like, what our favorite foods were etc. Here’s an example:
One of the only “tourist sites” on todays walk was a church known for a miraculous Madonna. However unlike so many churches this one was no mere museum but had an active congregation. We visited the place not to view an image, but for the more banal reason of getting one of our last pilgrim stamps before Rome. The church, of course, was on the top of a steep hill.
When we reached the top we ran into Victoria and Margarite (Maggie and Vicky to their friends) We’d last met them in Montefiascone. These two Italian ladies are loads of fun and are having a great time together. Unlike our first meeting we spent a long time today talking and walking together.
Along the way we also met for the first time Annie. She is a French lady and spoke little English. Switching back again to French was sooo difficult but after a few minutes we could have a conversation together (except I kept saying “Si” instead of “Oui” all day).
As those that know me well will attest, I talk a lot. I love to converse. Allison is more reserved. But I was proud to see her chatting in French with Annie.
Here is they REALLY scary part. Somehow we ended up acting as interpreter at times between the French and Italian. Whaaaaat? Let’s hope no important international relations have been destroyed as a result.
One more companion joined us walking today. Herman is from the German-speaking part of Switzerland also walked with us for a couple hours.
I have been surprised how many people walk the Francigena in stages. Herman has walked sections for a few years.
The end of the day we walked through a national reserve. It was pleasant but the path was also shared with mountain bikes, and there were tons of them out today (Sunday). Enough were around that we walked in kicked-up dust at times.
After a quick pilgrim lunch (our last for this pilgrimage actually) we continued to the end of the park where it was interesting to see a hoard of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of different ages playing in the park. They were in full “dress” uniforms but playing games and exploring and having a blast.
Our day ended with a bit of a stumble. We’d booked a room in a house a bit on the outskirts. We arrived to the designated address and no one was home. The gate was locked and no one answered the buzzer nor the telephone number.
I tried emailing and messaging multiple times and became somewhat frustrated. Your options are really limited when you are on foot.
Finally I contacted Booking.com via chat. They also had no luck. However they requested we stay put for 30min and if we didn’t hear from the owner they’d be “back with a resolution”. I’m not sure what they’d have actually done but it never came to that.
At about the 28min mark our host was in touch via WhatsApp. She apologized and told us to go two houses down and look in the mailbox for the key. Sure enough we were able to get in and get washed up.
Allison was excited to think that we didn’t HAVE to do laundry tonight but I think she was off by a day. Sorry dear. One more night.
One chore was left and after a shower I headed back out for a shopping adventure. The round trip added another 3km but I was smart and brought my backpack this time so that I would be able to more easily tote the groceries home. Dinner tonight = an Italian sausage stir fry with cauliflower, carrot, onion and celery…and of course rice.
We’ve declared this the last of the stuff meals. Tomorrow we will begin weaning ourselves off of 3000cal/day menus and retrain our appetites to match no longer walking 26km or more per day.
I really HATE this part. But it’s oh, so necessary.