Day93 Campagnano to La Storta – Locked out.

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.

The morning crew – Allison, Maggie, Vicky, and Annie

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 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.

<20km by the end of the day

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.

Day92 Sutri to Campagnano di Roma – Feeling cooped up.

Looking forward at the weather it seems each day from yesterday until we arrive in Rome will get 1degC warmer each day. You could tell the change already as we left this morning.

Morning Update

The walk today was pleasant but rather uneventful. There was only one village between start and end and there wasn’t anything of note to see there either.

We did enjoy the quiet walk mainly along farm track and country roads.

About 3/4 of the way to Campagnano di Roma we walked past a recreational park near Monte Gelato (Mount Ice Cream – what an excellent name). There we found a small waterfall and cascades alongside an old mill in use since the 1970’s. It was a pleasant shady place so we stopped and enjoyed a gourmet luncheon.

Mouthful of food smile.

For this trip I’d downloaded Oliver Twist Audio book and when the trail got monotonous we’d listen to a chapter. We have three days of walking left (two now) and we still had 14 chapters left. So we hit 10 chapters today. Great book.

I sure hope the Beauty Mix snacks we purchased worn as advertised.

We also spent quite a bit of time talking about what items in our packs and on our persons that would not make the trip home. I have to admit that I have spending way too much time day dreaming about what items I can throw away. My odiferous shoes are first on my list. All the people on my flight home can thank me later. In a shocking development, Mark had fewer items on his throw away list.

Campagnano di Roma is another fortress town that sits atop a tall steep hill. Translated from Latin, “Campagnano di Roma” roughly means “pilgrim must climb steeply at the end of the day”.


It was indeed a steep climb into town. But we were soon to the top and set about finding our lodging. This would be different in two aspects. Firstly I had neither address nor location. What I did have was an email with instructions. Secondly was the lodging itself.

Tonight we are actually sleeping in a chicken coop – on purpose. Well, a converted one anyway, but there are chickens outside. I hope they aren’t too upset that they got kicked out on our behalf.

We got set up in the coop and set of to walk the town. That was actually disappointing. We found nothing interesting. But we sat outside in a park with a good phone signal and got to video chat with Allison’s brother and sister-in-law. That was nice. It hit me during the call, when they were talking about next weekend’s plans, that we’d be home next weekend too. That will be odd having been gone so long.

Goodnight all!

Day91 Vetralla to Sutri – Woods and Amphitheaters

With a short day ahead we were really slow in leaving the apartment this morning. The high wind of yesterday had pretty much abated and despite the cool 8degC temperature it felt much warmer.

Right off the bat we ran into Stephanie, an Italian lady walking her dog. She’d lived in Wales for a few years and spoke excellent English. She was one of the few people to come up to us and initiate a conversation.

Morning Updates

After a short climb we walked along a beautiful stretch of hazelnut orchards for a couple hours.

And then out of nowhere two ancient towers appeared. These were the ruins of an abbey and a Roman cemetery. It was interesting to try and identify portions of these unrestored structures.

By about 10:30 we’d already reached Capranica where, after visiting the church of Madonna del Piano we walked through the ancient gate to the city. The was yet another typical hilltop fortress towns with windy streets and fun narrow throughout.

The weather was cool but when the wind stilled and the sun hit you, you could get hot quickly. We must have donned and doffed our layers 4-5 times during the day.

Adding a layer

After the visit to Capranica the trail entered a beautiful wooded trail that was soft underfoot and crisscrossed a small running stream. This section ran for about 8km and reminded me of home.

At the end of this section we were already very near our final destination of Sutri. But being near didn’t mean that we’d be propping our toes up just yet.

Sutri is home to several historic monuments including a “recently” re-discovered Amphitheater that is unique in the Roman world. When I say “recently” I mean in the nineteenth century. Before that it was pastureland.

Sutri Amphitheater

It is unique as it is excavated entirely from the surrounding rock. Because it was lunch time we decided to park our bodies inside the amphitheater and have a bite to eat.

Roman Graves

The amphitheater is part of an archeological park that also includes Etruscan cemeteries, a Roman graveyard and a former cave used in the cult of Mithras – turned Christian church (Madonna del Parto). A church within a cave is a pretty cool thing. The frescos were interesting.

Finally we made our way to our lodging for the night. Once again we ended up with an entire apartment to ourselves. We showered and washed and then headed out to get dinner supplies and food for tomorrow as well.

Allison whipped a quick dinner.

Chef Allison

After that we just decided to veg and enjoy some rest.

Day89 Montefiascone to Viterbo – Spas and Popes

The short climb back up to the Torre di Papi was almost the only climb we made today.

Morning Update

The rest of the day was a slow steady downhill run across ancient Roman pavement and modern cinder farm tracks.

We ran into Victoria and Margarite who were on day 1 of their renewed March to Rome. These two friends have done pieces of the walk for several years.

Dark rich soil

We also crossed paths again with Tobin (Canada) and Raphael (Baltimore) but spent little time with either as one was speeding on and the other taking a slower approach.

Porcupine Quill

The weather warmed a little and we were soon in shorts again.

Other than the beautiful scenery, the highlight of the day was passing another hot springs resort.

It was nice to take advantage of the free entry for pilgrims. The hot springs were relaxing even if the method of changing into our bathing gear I.e. our underwear was less than private. Me holding up a towel for Allison was the best we could do. As usual…no one cared.

Sneak pic

As we were leaving Elana was arriving and we gave her the lay of the land so-to-speak. There were 4 pools (puddles number B1-B4). B1 was cold but the other three warm and only varied in size and shape. Sorry. No pictures were allowed.

After our luxury experience, we continued our journey into town. As we entered Viterbo we were hungry for lunch and there w as a Burger King right across the street. The temptation was too great and the enjoyed some fast food for the first time in about 3 months. It was less than inspiring I’m happy to say.

Snow on the horizon

Viterbo was founded by the Etruscans but is know as the city of Popes. Remembering that in one period of history the Pope was more than a spiritual leader but also reigned over a country of his own “The Papal States”, it is not surprising that he would have a palace and a fortified one at that. In fact, it was here that in 1145 the first conclave was held to elect the new Pope. A fun fact is that they took so long (3 years) that the citizens revolted and literally locked the cardinals up, giving them only bread and water in order to “nudge them along”. It was in 1266 that the Pallazo (Palace) was built.

Now I tell you all this cool history and I have to admit that we had a chance to visit the palace and chose not to. We got there and there was some cool architectural outside and the open church. After that we just both yawned and decided to head back for supper. Honestly we’re a bit tour-ed out.

Instead we strolled through the medieval streets instead and found some cool things. We popped into an open church just to look. It was the Church of Gonfalone – never heard of it – us either. But inside we found an amazing ceiling. It’s the kind of place that, as an engineer, bends the mind. I studied the ceiling for about 15min and I honestly can’t tell you if it is flat, domed, or vaulted. The painted scene is a master work of illusion.

We also found a cool medieval street with a crazy suspended arch.

Our night ended with a stop at the grocery store for tonight’s dinner supplements and lunch supplies. On the way out we were stopped by a Nigerian man. He asked if we were English and he seemed relieved to have someone to talk to. He was from Nigeria and worked until recently. He isn’t too happy about the Italians (he doesn’t feel accepted). He hopes to get to the USA some day because “there, anyone who wants to work can make a living”. The American dream is alive friends. Honestly, I hope he finds his way there. If we had our packs with us he’d have received a key.

We decided to eat in at the convent. They have a small kitchen and we have a package of risotto that we’ve carried for about 10 days. There we met two engineering students from Myanmar an d a high school student from the area. We were also served by our host. She was one of the kindest loving souls we’ve met on this trip. For her gentle heart and attention she got a key. I told her the story of the key and although she was already familiar with it I think she loved that she heard it from me. Hugs followed.

Tomorrow is yet another short day. A pilgrim could get used to this.

Day88 Bolsena to Montefiascone- 1/2 Days worth of a walk

Today was sweet. We had less than 18km between Bolsena and Montefiascone. Although it was uphill the climbs were never that bad. To take advantage of the short day we took a 1km detour right off the bat to get down to the shore of Lake Bolsena.

Leaving Bolsena

Morning Update

We did our update and then went to check out these famous volcanic black sands.

And then it was time to get moving…

The walk today was also nice. A large portion of the day was either on farm paths or woodland.

Along the way we met Rafael – American from Baltimore. He is on a multi day package Pilgrimage. That may sound unintentionally disparaging but it is not meant to. Everyone has different time constraints and abilities. Later in the evening we met again and since he’s lived in Rome he has the inside scoop. He has volunteered to show us around Rome when we arrive. So nice.

But the major “event” was the passing of the 100km mark. This marker is placed just inside greater Montificione.

Despite our reaction….

One Hundred kms is significant not only because it is a cool number but because the “rules” of pilgrimage require you walk at least 100km to receive a testimonial. Getting one of these is of no real importance to us other than the souvenir it represents. But in the Middle Ages, this was the document required to prove your pilgrimage was completed. In some cases this was in concert with the receipt of indulgences.

Even with our detour we arrived hours too early to gain entry to the monastery of San Pietro. That’s ok, we were hungry for lunch anyway and we’d spotted a trattoria on our way into the old city.

So we arrived at the restaurant. It was wafting wonderful aromas out of the door. The place looked a little too fancy for pilgrims, but the menu actually offered some good prices. Plus the food was excellent. We splurged on deserts knowing that our dinner was to be at the Monastery and that typically means basic fare.

After a long lunch and finally getting into our room we did the shower and laundry thing. Here I’m going to interject a bit of pilgrim inside info.

Bathrooms have to be the most varied of all rooms in the world. I’ve travelled to over 49 countries and the variety of ways to wash, pee/poop, and shower seem to be infinite. Bidets for example still baffle me as do holes with a garden hose attached.

But in this monastery, and in many others on this pilgrimage, we have the unique set up of a toilet-shower. Now remember, this room is set up for four strangers on four cots to occupy. But in the bathroom (that has neither latch nor key) you will find a seat-less, lid-less toilet lined up with a curtain less shower fixture. “Space-efficient”- indeed….”practical” however, not so much. So there ya go.

After this adventure we took a quick stroll up to the fortress, Rocca dei Papi from where we had beautiful views of Lake Bolsena and unbelievably Radicofani. That hilltop has been visible for 3 days. Crazy.

Well, that’s it folks. Dinner was indeed basic, but filling (pasta, hamburger, spinach, and cauliflower with grapes as dessert). As an interesting note, all the food other than the meat was grown within the monastery- including the wine we drank.

Lastly I should note that we only have 6 days of walking left to go, and they are also slowing down in distance and elevation. Wow.

Day82 Siena to Siena – Rest Day

What? Another rest day so soon. Yep.

We’d always planned this one and although we don’t need it physically we will certainly be happy to act as a tourist once again.

JeanYves and Paulo have moved on, so we made them breakfast and said our goodbyes. They both got a key for their companionship and help over the weeks.

Morning Update

The wifi in this place didn’t work well so I struggled posting last night – apologies for the lack of content. Today will be packed with touristy stuff since we plan to visit the Duomo and some other fun places. From tomorrow on however it will be non-stop to Roma (only 12 days more walking….and some of those days are quite short).

First a bit of background. In the Middle Ages, Siena was the place to be … well, sort of. It was a hugely prosperous town and as such was seemingly always at war with its neighbor Florence.

Il campo -Siena

At its height, it had about 50,000 people. Then in 1348 the Black Death slammed into the city, and it lost as many as 60% of its residents. Florence and Milan recovered, but Siena never did (until recently however).

We’re disgusting…I know. Don’t care. 🙂

Back in the day, Siena was all about banking and actually houses the oldest continuously run bank in the world. Being wealthy it also subsidized the arts and was home to dozens of famous Renaissance artists. The Sienese school was arguably the top in the renaissance world.

Siena is also a pilgrimage town being located on the Via Francigena. Hence our visit to this beautiful city.

We started our tour with the pilgrim hospital of Santa Maria della Scala. It was a hospital to serve pilgrims, the sick, and the abandoned until 1970. I can only imagine being sick and cared for with frescoes surrounding me. We are in Italy and the art was already there. The art work was breath taking!

Our next tourist stop was the tour of the stairs to the sky which meant that we were able to climb up into the roof of the cathedral and see it’s construction and some really cool views of the cathedral floor below and the statuary and stained glass up close.

During the climb up, I appreciated how good shape we are in. We felt the climb of course, but it was really nothing to us. Several others however really struggled and had to stop multiple times to catch their breath. Several emerged from the steps panting and sweating with the effort. We hardly noticed. I’m not writing this to brag. This would have been me years ago.

We then took a break in playing tourist and headed back to our lodging for lunch. We had fun shopping for lunch in a local shop. We settled on meatballs mixed with vegetables and a spinach and cheese patty. And because this is a day of rest a nap followed lunch.

After doing some laundry and making reservations for a couple of days ahead. This is a. necessity for every pilgrim but a frustration too as many places are closed or recently large tourist groups book and places are full. I did not realize that large groups would be allowed to stay in pilgrim facilities. Lodging on the VF in Italy has been challenging. We have had to be creative and have used airbnb several times which means paying more than pilgrim lodging.But we were able to split the cost with others and that eased the pain.

After our rest we went to finish a day of touring by climbing the remains of yet another structure (The Museo) for some glorious views on a structure that seemed to defy “sound” structural design.

This 2.5m wide structure we are on towers over the town …somehow. Hard to describe the of feeling fro on top, but the views were excellent.

As we headed back to our apartment we stopped at a wine bar to play tourist one last time. This place was actually very professional and well informed. I recommend Treflari located at Via Banchi di Sotto near Il Campo.

Well, that’s the day folks. I have 1000 photos but you’ll have to do with these unless you ask for more. It was a beautiful day.

Il Campo at night

Day79 Castelfiorentino to San Gimignano – just awesome

Woke at 5 after a fitful nights “sleep” due to the heat and a persistent mosquito in the room. In fact I was so uncomfortable being completely inside my sheet to protect from the mosquitoes that I moved my pillow to the marble floor and slept there for a hour just to cool down. Allison says “she slept like a baby”. Not really fair is it? Haha.

1hr in = An early start

Walking under the street lights leaving the sleeping town was nice. No cars and no people; just Allison and I. Not even the birds were awake yet.

We soon began the climb to rejoin the VF which we’d left yesterday to get to our hostel. It was a pleasant climb through vineyards and rolling hills.

Like in the US, several of the vineyards also serve as wedding venues. We saw this unfortunate result of a wedding reception.

The sunrise was pretty but didn’t compare to yesterday’s sunrise. There was a magical fog in the valleys however that made for some dramatic views.


The climb to Gambasi Termi where Sigeric stayed on his 20th day from Rome was significant. We kept up a serious pace for no reason whatsoever except that we could.

Once in Gambasi Termi we stopped for refreshments which included a pastry each and a coffee. A second breakfast is good for long distance hikers. But as we were eating we chatted about the shock our bodies will have once we return home with our normal diet of little sugar and low carbs.

Stopping for coffee and a pastry.

The rest of the morning is classified as “easy” but we’re not sure how they could come up with that rating because we found it tough. Perhaps it was the 1000’ climb beforehand. Either way it was a lot of ups and downs before we saw our first glimpse of San Gimignano.

San Gimignano is a top tourist destination and by all accounts it is a top spot for pilgrims as well. The town grew because of its location at the intersection of two trade routes and its crop of saffron. In most cities the church or castle is the most prominent structure. In San Gimignano it is the private towers built by its wealthy inhabitants.

At one time there were 70 of them. Today only 13 survive but the town retains its medieval roots. Once the tour busses leave it takes on an ancient feel.

This might make you a bit dizzy. Sorry.

We ended our night with a home cooked dinner in our “tower”. Joining with JeanYves and Paulo helps save some money.

My pasta creation. Not bad using frozen veggies.

Day72 Aulla to Dogana – Shocking!!!

First a bit a note about our maps. I found out today that I has ant been updating. (Someone should have told me!! :). But it is fixed now. Check out the Maps page.

Morning Update:

Despite our attempt to have a short day, there were no lodging opportunities at Sarzana. We grouped together with Paulo (Portugal) and JeanYves (France) and booked an AirB&B at a nearby suburb of Dogana and headed out for the day. Our path took us sharply up.

But the views are nice.

Now, you’d think that after tackling the Juras, the Alps, and the Appenines, we be used to it but today was hard. The weather had turned sour and it was both warm and very humid AND rainy.

Having rain gear on really traps in the heat and because the humidity was so high we both struggled. The reward was some picturesque hilltop fortified villages. Their names all blurred together but they all felt old – ancient really.

Our plan was to get to Sarzana and then take an ugly, but direct road route to our B&B. But those plans changed.

As we entered Sarzana the skies opened up. It was a soaking rain – this alone was OK, but since it was lunch we sought out a cafe to get a coffee.

Twice we had to seek shelter from the rain, but we found a coffee shop and sat down. The timing was excellent. Almost as soon as we did, a flash and an instantaneous loud crash of thunder rattled the shop. Over the next hour a lightning storm of epic proportions shook us and we started talking about alternatives to a walk along a busy road in an electrical storm – smart, eh?

Wine? Oil?

We still needed to get some groceries and made a dash to a local supermarket and then promptly called a cab. Yes, I know – a cab for a pikgrim isn’t really kosher but we had bought supper and breakfast meals for four and the lightening and torrential rain made it an easy decision.

It turned out to be a very smart move. Because the lightning and rain only got harder after we arrived. Jean Yves struggled in after 7pm with these words. “ you have room for a pilgrim coming from Hell?” Haha. He’d had a rough evening.

Dinner with Paulo and eventually JeanYves (who decided to walk) was prepared by chef Allison. Man was it good. But somehow it ended like this. Long story…

Phillipe on the left with Jean Yves

Trying to find his way to the B&B JeanYves had stumbled on a Belgian family living here. They came by for a visit and we had a funny and fun evening goofing off. JeanYves always lands on his feet.

Oh, a Portuguese saying “a good story never starts with ‘one day I was eating a salad’”.

What a wild day!

Day70 Berceta to Pontremoli – A steep decent into Tuscany

Morning Update

First we promised not to have a long day today…and failed. Today was 29.6km (more than 31 after you add in the grocery shopping excursion). Tomorrow is 31….but then we are done with it….I promise.

The day started with a nice leisurely morning. We slept in until 7:30. Luxury. After a quick grocery store stop we were off to finish up the Appenine crossing at the Cisa Pass (which I kept calling Cibo pass for some reason in the videos).

It was steep but for some reason, despite yesterday’s efforts I was flying up the hills. Allison normally leaves me in the dust on uphill climbs but today I led the way.

Can anyone identify this track. It’s about 3”dia

Soon we were at the Cisa pass and peered back to see from whence we’d come. Goodbye Parmigiano-Reggiano, hello Tuscany.

The view from where we’d come
Fun on a bridge
Roxanne and Juliet

At the top we met two Belgian ladies who were on and appenine backpacking/camping adventure. They were on Day1 and were surprised to see us coming all the way from London by foot.

A cool entrance to Tuscany

The rest of the day was beautiful but technically challenging. It didn’t help that we’d been told that the day was only 26km. That’s not a small distance by any means, especially on difficult terrain, but when it turned out to be 30 we were hurting. Those last 4 are killers.

Along the way there were several stone bridges. This region held out a long time against the Romans. The entire population was deported to another region as a result. Having a high strategic value guarding the pass to Po Valley, the Middle Ages the region was “owned” by Genoa, Pisa, and others


We made it to the Convento Frati Cappuccini and we’re kindly explained the rules of entry and shown to our room. Normally we’d immediately shower and do our laundry but due to the late hour we thought it wise to stock up with food for tomorrow first.

We ended our night with an overly long walk to the nearest grocery and then finally we were able to sit down for a nice dinner at Trattoria Da Nori. Two pastas and a shared meat dish (pork in a sauce with peas) was just perfect.

By the way, meet JeanYves with whom we e walked on and off for weeks.

Good night all.

Day65 Miraldo Terme to Corte Sant’Andrea – Wind and Good Friends

I slept a long time – a very long time. I woke at 6:30am feeling 1000% better. Sleep is good medicine and so is water. Today being an extra short day made it all the better.

Morning Update Day65

There was no rush to leave the pilgrim house but sometimes routines are hard to break. There were four of us in the parochial donativo and we were all up and about by seven. Breakfast was meager but we all shared what we had and there was enough.

Allison and I left first and within a few minutes the rain sprinkles began to arrive and we stopped under a tree to don our rain gear.


This was the first of what was forecasted to be a wet day. However, after this first light rain the clouds broke up and we had a beautiful, dryer, and cooler day. The wind was very strong however and we both had to hold onto our hats at times.

When walking, you never know where the path will take you or what you will see; take motocross practice for example:

Crossing the Lambro

The route took us across the Lambro river and through small towns until we reached Orio Litta. Here Allison and I stopped for a coffee and Allison also treated herself to a gelato. For once I didn’t indulge – I’d had a bigger breakfast.

As we were exiting the town, we passed the large mansion/castle of Litta Carnini. Here we met three family members whose family used to own the place. Some misfortune had taken it from them but the family gathers yearly at the “home place”. Covid had stopped it until this year.

They were very interested in the idea of pilgrimage and we spoke to them for quite a few minutes. One of the sisters wanted to encourage the idea to her children. Pictures were taken.

The last few kms were easy and beautiful. But I was eager to get to this historic stopping point. I’d received a few emails over the past week from a friend from our Camino2014. We’d met our Italian friends, Alessandro and his daughter Lara, about 3/4 of the way through Spain but we had so much in common and we’d tried to keep in touch. Time, however, has a way of ripping people apart.

Knowing we’d be walking through Italy we’d contacted Lara and she’d put us back in touch with Alessandro. He drove 2hrs each way to meet us at this spot and have lunch together. He and his wife Barbara drove us to a nearby town (no open restaurant here) and the kindly invited JeanYves to join along.

What a wonderful treat to meet again and how much it meant to reconnect with Alessandro. I truly hope to make an intentional visit to Italy to get to know them even better. Just good people.

Barbara, Alessandro, Me and Allison = Joy

We parted ways and started the whole Pilgrim routine again (shower, laundry, etc). This particular donativo is plush. Amenities include a full kitchen WITH food, a washing machine, dining room, lounge etc. It is decked out. There are only four of us here so far, but it is set up for many more. In fact, as I was typing, a bike pilgrim just showed up. His name is Carlos and he’s walked all the way from Lisbon. Today he walked 50km. That’s nuts.

This place having a washing machine meant EVERYTHING went in – leaving me only my rain pants. Perhaps only pilgrims can appreciate that.

We ended the evening with Allison and I cooking for everyone – pasta of course. It seemed to be appreciated. Carlos had extra pasta – he’d earned it.

One last entry…I’d swear I’d have gained all weight last in France back with all the pasta we’ve eaten. But this place had a scale and if it is accurate I’ve now lost a total of 17lbs (about 10%). That’s a good number to stick with. Allison wouldn’t want it published so let’s just say the percentage is a few percentage points more. Walking is a great diet plan folks. Stop walking however, and you can’t keep eating like we do undoubtedly. Wouldn’t life be wonderful if you could though.