To Viterbo - Jan 31
Lake Bolsena and frosty farms from Montefiascone's high park.
The VF plays a trick on us this morning--or does the city want us to see everything there. The signs lead us back to the top of the mountain where the sun is just raising and bathing the hills around Lake Bolsena in red. Valley fields are covered with frost. The VF signs lead us down the other side of the top, around the city walls, back past the monastery's outer door, and finally to the original doorway where we came into the old town last night. A nice walk that adds a couple extra kilometers on the day's total. But now the VF fails to point us the right way out. Not to worry, with the same synchronicity that happens so often on this walk, someone is there at just the right time to tell us the correct road to take. Thanks, Universe.
Petra stops on the Via Cassia to watch a woman hard at work plucking feathers from her chickens.
We are soon back on the surface of the old Via Cassia, a much better preserved surface than yesterday. We follow it up and over some hills and back down into a valley where it becomes the surface of a country road. Cars are still driving on it though after a while it becomes just a footpath again.
The Via Cassia in the morning sun.
Cars use the Via Cassia here.
As the day goes on we cross more hills and in early afternoon sleep an hour in a field behind a small building for a windbreak. The land is now flat. As we walk through an area that seems a bit more disorganized than the fields we have been walking, we see cars in a parking lot. At first I think it is a camping area. But then we see steam. It's a hot spring complete with bathtubs in the middle of the fields. We sit our packs down, pull out and put on our bathing suits, and enjoy the hot water with an assortment of Italians, a Danish woman, and an Irishman. Petra comments that there are advantages to having everything on our back. For one, we don't have to go home to get your bathing suit when we pass a hot spring along the road. In an hour or so we are walking again.
A shepherd moves his sheep down the road near our bath.
The traffic seems particularly heavy as we entered Viterbo. We make our way to the old town and enter the gate. The usual religious places have no openings for us. One B&B has a room but it will not be free till seven and it's only four. We aren't too excited about waiting. As we cross a square, a woman takes up a conversation with us and gets around to asking whether we have a place to stay. "No? let me take you to a good inexpensive place." She leads us down a couple streets into a particularly narrow one to a wrinkled looking three-star hotel. A smoke-reeking patron asks us why we are there before we enter. The clerk says he has a place for 65 Euros. We say that is more than we want to spend. Magically the manager appears at the door, asks us what we are willing to pay and then says he can give us the room for the 50 we suggest. He shows us a rag of a room. We leave.
Back in the streets, we walk around a while and find nothing interesting including the Caritas place one priest suggested when Petra called for a room in the Parrocchia. It is now after five. Petra calls the B&B again. It is still available. It is in an obscure corner of town down a tangle of streets. I study the map at the town gate and decide following the walls is the most dependable way to get there. Towering walls lead us a quarter of the way around town past a couple gates to ours. Inside narrower and narrower streets funnel us to the B&B. We have to step into doorways to get out of the way of the many passing cars as we get close. It is still early so we wander some more and stop in a bar to warm up. We enter the B&B just before seven as the woman is finishing making up the room. A quiet room off the living room of their home is our home for tonight.
The woman running the B&B marks five or six restaurants and pizza places on the map in the area. We check them all out but end up in another we pass along the way and have a wonderful pizza. Another evening in a busy restaurant down a narrow Medieval street of an old Italian town.
I cannot decide which sunrise picture I like more so here's the second one for your enjoyment too.
Montefiascone 30 Jan Contents Ronciglione 1 Feb
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