S. Quirico d'Orca - Jan 24







Mud? Yes, mud it the word of the day. Tuscany is a land of clay. And when you mix clay with water as it was mixed yesterday, the result is a substance designed to stop everything in its tracks. South of Buonconvento the highway gets narrow and is very busy. The VF map suggests a side path. Our Kompass walking map confirms it as a very plausible alternative to the marked route along the highway. We take it.

It is indeed a pleasant walk along a beautiful gravel hillcrest road. But after a few kilometers a woman leans out her window and tells us the road beyond is impassable. It is all mud. We acknowledge her warning and continue. We haven't seen a place yet that we couldn't figure some way to pass through. Soon the clay is packing around our feet. Our shoes are weighing first twice their normal weight, then three times as much. The gravel is gone and only clay remains.




Before the mud.
Before the mud.

We look down the road--only clay for at least the next kilometer and no grass on the side to walk on, only mud. We have only walked 50 yards (50 meters) and now we are bogged down to a stop. What to do? We cannot see how far the clay goes even if we want to risk going forward. And it is too far back to walk back. To the right is a tiny side trail that looks on the map like it becomes even less after a farm a kilometer away. Petra's intuition tells her to try the side trail. I go along not only because it is the only remotely reasonable option (though I am not excited about it) but also because Petra's intuition has an uncanny way of being right a lot more than being wrong. We are taking what appears to be the best of three impossible situations.

Mud packed shoes.
Mud packed shoes.

The way is not so muddy. There is grass to walk in. In time we arrive at the farm. And that disappearing trail beyond proves to be a fine gravel driveway. Soon, though we walk backwards a kilometer or so, we are back on the highway. Right on again, Petra.

Except for this episode in the mud, it is a good day of walking though a lot is up hill and by the time we get into S. Quirico a bit after five we are quite tired.

The Parrocchia dei Ss. Quirico e Guiletta is a fine place built into the side of the church. The priest is absent and a woman comes and lets us in, takes the nine Euro each fee, gives us a key, and goes on her way. It has several beds, a kitchen, and warm water for showers. We sleep well.

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