Pig's Ear Park and Other Adventures

Tag: Via Francigena (page 1 of 5)

Tis done…

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983ks , 6ks less than the via de la Plata but a damn sight harder.

Even today coming into Rome there was a steep bit out of Isola Farnesse then down and up thru one of the city parks. Ha! But it is over.

I woke up at 6am and started packing my bag and strangely by 7am thought maybe I would walk in after all. Heard Polly outside, nice place to sit at the B&B which is unusual…

Going are we? Yeah!

So off we set, 25ks later we were at the Vatican. Golly I am glad I saw it in the days of wandering in.. Barricades everywhere.

We punctuated the trip with gelati , water and frequent stops. It was 33c but cities actually offer more shade than the countryside.

Got our certificates , much easier process than Santiago… But no tubes… I did not feel the emotion I do at Santiago but St Peters Square is pretty jolly dramatic.

Felt really pleased I had done it. Apparently I am the oldest woman to have walked so much of the Via Francigena!  Who knows!?

Luckily I arrived on a Sunday, roads are quiet.  Hotel is nice but only here a night then off to Greece.

What has the walk done for me, who knows, no amazing revelations, at 70 they are hard to come by.  So that is it, maybe the Swedish walk with Polly next year!!! You are not allowed to walk it alone.

So, walk for life, still 500 dollars short of my goal and only three if my friends and one family member has contributed, like Nike, just do it!!!

Arohanui until next time/walk/whatever

Isole Farnesse

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Is a 15 century town, but is residential only nowadays. No bars, shops, etc but a whopping great church.

Hotel is someones folly and lucky for us there are 20 Italian cyclists coming in later or it would be a 500m haul up the road for dinner. Imagine the noise there is going to be.

Walk, well pretty good really , on the way by 6.30 after a scary bus ride. Driver was not a morning person.  Apart from feeling stuffed I am OK but kept the water up.

Into above town by 11.30 after food stops, piddle stops and a long sit with some mad drone and model plane enthusiasts. They had chairs!!!

Nice walk, very gently rolling and towards the end nasty scoria paths that rolls under your feet on hills.  Well there were a few hills but I did not drum my feet on the ground as I had threatened.

The oleanders are out, very flush with blooms.

I am keen to get as close to St Peters Square as possible by public transport but Polly would like to walk some of it. May be two routes in….
Photos to come for last few days.

Compagna di Roma

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But first a bit more about Sutri…

There are Etruscan tombs here and what is thought to be a mithraeum, primitive place of worship. This one was probably Mithra the bull god. Forgive some of the spelling.

This primitive place of worship, dug into the tufa, became a church in the 13th century, quite strange inside.

There is also an ampitheatre dug out of tufa and the usual grand nobles house and church.  Savarola family, not a patch on the Farnesse.

So day spent mooching, finished off by a vile meal of pressure cooked chicken with a vile sauce. Kept thinking need the protein as I scraped all the gunk off.  Met up with Polly again so food should improve for the final few days…

Nasty little event today which spoilt a good walk, nice countryside, rolling mainly thank heavens.  So, the Nasty Event: bowling along quite happily, it was v hot today, got up to 35c but I had started early, had over a litre of water when wham! Thought I was going to pass out.

Remembered the feeling from it happening a few times while slogging in the heat at Pahoia.  Heart races, hot, stomach cramps, cure is to lay down in the shade.

Luckily I was in a shady patch with lovely leaf mulch. Lay down, head on pack and after about twenty minutes and sips of water felt OK again so set off.

All fine until the dratted hill into the above town, had to keep stopping going up, eventually made it to a seat, sat with my head hanging down wondering how on earth I was going to make the 200m to the hotel!  Carabineri stopped, remembered they were kind in Portugal, asked for a lift to hotel, like blazes, he kept telling me it was only 200m.

I kept telling him I could not walk that far. Finally I grabbed the man who had been chatting to the fuzz and asked him to walk me to the hotel. He lectured me all the way about walking alone in the heat!!!  Made me promise not to do it again, yeah yeah.

I am OK now but if I see another hill anytime soon I will lay on the ground and drum my heels whilst screaming No No No!

So bus in the morning at 6 am for 8ks. Then 12ks hopefully before it is red hot. Walking with Polly who did today as well but left at 5 am.


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Had a reasonably good meal last night, finally cracked it, ask for half servings then you can have pasta and a main.

This morning my landlady marched me thru Caparola, some lovely little back streets and a fantastic church, St Anthonys… Golly there was some dosh around this area in the 15C due to its proximity to Rome I guess. I have never seen such a lavishly decorated church. No ceiling frescoes but sculptured frescoes.

More mundane stuff, had a haircut, OK but not anywhere near as good as Kelly.  MH took me and my bag to another interesting town, called Ronciglione.  Looked rich as well but had a hellishly lot of steps. Hot day and 11 am by this time.

About 2 ks on a busy road , getting more and more on roads and they drive faster down here. Then several ks on a dirt road thru hectares of hazelnut orchards.

Back on the road and at a turn off to Sutri a woman stopped and waved madly at me then came over to me…wanna ride, course I did!  It was 31c when I left Caparola and was a damn sight hotter then.

She drove like a demon, I only leapt once!

Arrived in Sutri having only done 10 ks but that was enough, I am whacked!!! Had pasta, half size for lunch , dozed the afternoon away. Went out and bought fruit and have finished off my NZ cashews and almonds and am ready to zzzzz again.

Day off tomorrow, may go and explore the amphitheatre but will need to go early to beat the heat.

More cats around since Porceno and most in good condition.

Talked to a few fellow walkers about this, and we all agree, each day is faced with a degree of anxiety, will this be the day a dog gets out and gets me, will I fall and break or damage something, will I get lost, will I make it, etc, etc.

I have not listened to music once while walking this time an indication of the terrain and the need for concentration and the traffic!!!

Still listen to the National programme on a regular basis, odd though listening to Brian Crump during the day!!!

Zzzzz day tomorrow then only three days to go…


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Capararola is an old hill town but not walled. The Farnesse dynasty built a stunning palace here in 15/16 c. They were mates with the Pope of the time and even impregnated a Medici lady in waiting. Not sure why that was noteworthy.

Photos at the end… Of the palace not the impregnated Medici lady.

Walk today was very strenuous and that would be an understatement.  Up to 810 m then down a bit, back up and down to 500m in above town of 2000 people.  Not as hard underfoot as coming out of Aulla as centuries of leaf mulch has covered the Roman stones.

Not a soul about, again had my lunch on a stump but this time in very albeit steep but pretty woods.  Lunch was nice, purloined ham rolls from the hotel and one of David’s food parcel health bars,the peanut one was yum..

Lake Vigo is out there somewhere, a volcanic lake hence the dratted hills. Temperature went up today to 30…

Dog story: usual dogs barking and snarling at me from behind fences on the way out of Viterbo when I noticed a little brown bitser walking down the road toward me, oh dear.  I was expecting biting and snarling but no, came up to me sniffed and started to follow me. Damn how long would he happily follow me, to Rome?
Suddenly an Alsatian stuck his head thru a hole in a fence at ground level, snarling like blazes, little dog goes over, they sniff noses then little dog cocks his leg and pees right by big dogs face!!!!! No noise from big dog and little dog disappeared down a side road soon after.

Geckos are back, user friendly verges. Some even high up maybe because it was warmer. Another thing that happens is flying cobwebs, always wiping them off my face and today an insect got caught in the rim if my hat.

O.K less than a week to go and I obviously only have one friend as only one of you apart from David has made a donation to the cancer society. Only needs to be a few dollars and can be anonymous..

The three walks I have done are the only time in the year that I am cancer free, not really but I am free of scans, pokings and probings. BUT luckily I have the backstop that when I get home I can tap back into the system and the cancer society is an important part of that. Come on cough up !!!!!!


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Is a rather scruffy town masquerading as chic….2 town gates do not make one stunning.  It is basically an agricultural service town, think Ashburton with a few historical bits.

Best thing today, well 2 good things but the first one was a helicopter shifting those large round hay bales. Took a few passes before I realised what the busy helicopter was doing.
Second good thing, six much more subdued boys, now in two groups and no rosary chanting.

Also, no geckos today but the road edges are pretty awful here, sprayed and chopped. Saw three BIG frogs.

A few kilometres of the via Cassia, best condition of any of the bits of Roman Road I have seen. Guess because it was part of the Firenze to Roma route meant it was the M1 of its time. Damn hard to walk on though.

Still getting barked at by slathering beasts behind fences.  A little dog walked past me today totally oblivious to my presence, I reminded him I was there and honestly he stopped gave a snarling bark then walked on, all of 30 cm high….

Went down from 600 plus in Montefiascone, got lost getting out, to about 200, where apart from a little climb round the base of Mt Jugo was about it apart from a stagger uphill in town hunting my hotel. 25ks again and I swear five of it is hotel hunting.  Hotel called Hotel Mini Palace, a 1970’s architectural delight. But I have a bath and got it for free!!!!!

Probably all in my head as the end approaches but each day seems harder…

Nobody got the tree naming prize, it is a Tiglio.


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Is very spread out and built around a walled city. Which if course is perched on the top of a hill where if course my hotel is situated 600 m up!!!
The last few days have all had ascents and descents of at least 500 m at least twice usually three times a day. I think I am getting slower and slower….

Left at 6.50am as it had been supposed to rain but promised a lovely day instead. Up and down initially thru forest which was very pretty, even thru part of a rural park with bike trails. The bikes scare the wits out of me when hey roar up behind.

Then into open countryside. A lot of huge tractors roaring around the countryside, baling is in full swing.

Only other walkers was a group of six young men with big packs who were reciting the rosary when they passed me at speed. Next time I saw them they were sitting on the pavement in the shade just out of Montefiascone eating a huge lunch. Suspect the packs contained a lot of food.

Usual kerfuffle at the hotel when I refused to sleep next to the lift. Dinner was supposed to be at the hotel but the restaurant was not functioning so was given a restaurant voucher. Sort of OK used it for a late lunch.

The geckos are back, never saw any when I was up above 600m, golly they are fast, they almost fly when disturbed by thundering boots.  Nice to hear them rustling away in the undergrowth.
Picked up the Italian equivalent of a porcupine quill recently then another one a few days later.

Just over twenty today and about 22 tomorrow.  Still no weight loss!!!!!!!

Dinner tonight will be the remains of a huge ham sandwich which the hotel receptionist made for me when I asked how to get out of the hotel early in the am, thought that was very kind.

Day off in Bolsena

ZZZZZZZZ…….8 days to go….


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Is pretty jolly nice and there is a flower show on here tomorrow and Sunday. All being set up, it seems to be a market across the town, medium size around a castle and along the lake.

Lots of plants for sale…Shrubs,bonsai, annuals, perennials , trees, fab cacti plus garden tat…

The civic plantings here are hydrangeas . They are huge and not just pink and white but oak leaf ones, sigh, my favourite.  You should see the types of hydrangeas for sale, kinds I have never seen…

Oh yes, walking….only did 21 of the 30 k stamp today went with my bag for ten, MH said he often drops people off where I went to.

Met Polly, the American and we happily trotted along. Caught up fleetingly with my German.

Lovely countryside. Rolling as opposed to precipitous hills, a lovely bush section and it never rained!!!

Hotel is OK and out for dinner with my two yanks.

Have tomorrow off so back snooping at flowers.
Bolsena is on a lake so it is great being near some water, not as big as Taupo but close.

I enjoyed my little apartment in Proceno and have booked it and its adjoining big brother, both up nasty stairs for a week with The English Parkers before I come home.

Will be avoiding the restaurant but using the pool.
Amazing have only one week left, sad the weather was not better but at least it is pleasant now.

Slowly to Proceno

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Well not as slow as I thought, as it was 31k! not the 24k I expected.

Reasonably rapid descent down from Radifaconi. Left early but delayed by a little thunderstorm, they just do not stop…rest of the day was fine and damn hot but has misted up a bit…

Met three poms who have cycled from Canterbury, like me, old enough to know better.

Middle part of the walk was much like the back route behind Waihi but golly some of the farms are big.  I walked and walked, had lunch on a stump….and drank more water than I ever have…demolished my two half litres whereas usually I only drink 500ml.  Finally staggered up the 400 m to Proceno and discover I am in a much nicer apartment than last night…

Dying of thirst, MH asks what would I like, a beer says me, later found it cost me 10e!!!!.

Dinner was pleasant but everything cost, 2e for water, 2e for wine, 10e for the beer and 5e for four biscotti….that was my dessert. Main and only dish included in the accommodation: meat loaf, two tomato halves and a lettuce leaf….wow.

Trying to co-ordinate with my Americans to walk together tomorrow.

Mr 10e beer is going to take me and my bag to the next town and hopefully we only walk 22 k….yeah….

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