Day 69: San Miniato

Number of kilometres today: 26.6

Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 1,664.3

Total steps since Canterbury:  2,310,782

Number of kilometres to Rome: 371

So here's how my day started...I selected an espresso mug for my cappuccino from the automatic machine at breakfast.  Naturally, it was too small and it overflowed. I had an audience.

Then as I saddled on The Devil and left my room to check out of the Hotel, my butt felt suddenly very damp.  My camelbak drinking water hydration bladder had leaked inside The Devil again.

The first four kilometres of today's walk was alongside the very busy SP3.  Its not so much fun to have trucks speeding past a metre away from you.  I put on some music and dance walked at a fast pace to get off the road as soon as possible.

When I finally turned off the road, I found myself on ancient Roman road walking past an equestrian centre and through woodlands.  I stopped in Galeno for a rest break and another great cappuccino.  Then I found myself walking through muddy and puddle-ridden woodland and pine plantation trails.  The Red Beasts covered in unavoidable mud.

At Ponte Cappiano I walked through the covered bridge and then beside the canal and on wet grassy embankments to Fucecchio.  Wet grass is like a car wash for muddy boots.  They were soon clean and my feet wet.  The Red Beasts still don't cope so well with kilometres of wet grass.

In Fucecchio I stopped at a little cafe for lunch.  Gnocchi with a creamy pumpkin and saffron sauce and a glass of white wine.  Buonissimi.  If I could, I would go back and order it again it was that delicious.

Then there were only 8 kilometres to San Miniato through 

more calf-high wet grass that drenched the Red Beasts again. As San Miniato is perched on top of a hill, 

I could see it get bigger as I got nearer.  There was no need to count down kilometres. The climb to the top was 800 metres.  The Two Rodneys helped me power up.  I felt strong. I felt like I could keep going.

I am in Tuscany and the land off hilltop villages now.  Every day for the next week will end with a hill climb. Lucky I am good at them now.

 After the Alps and the Appenines these are just little mounds.

I am back to where this journey started for me two years ago.  I feel like a circle has completed and that this next week is the perfect time to look at who I am today and how far I have come compared to the Kym who walked this way two years ago.

I still clearly remember that day in May 2011 when I left San Miniato to walk to Gambassi Terme so unsure of what I was doing and getting lost a lot and by a long way but I will save more of that for tomorrow night after I have walked the trail to Gambassi Terme for the second time.

Grey skies chasing as I left Altopascio

The lovely SP3.  So much fun to walk along.

Ancient Roman Road on the way to Galeno.

Ancient Roman Road and amazing sky

Ancient Roman road covered in Autumn leaves

Unavoidable mud.

Ponte Cappiano

The covered bridge at Ponte Cappiano

I love these.  This one was particularly big and bright and smelld beautiful.  They are hung on the door of a home where a baby has been born.

Fucecchio

The hill in the distance with a tower is San Minato Alto.

Dilapidated old farmhouse

Amazing clouds above San Minato Basso

Cloud and light part way up the hill to San Miniato

I think this is Chiesa di San Martino

NIght lights from the terrace where I enjoyed my spritz

More photos of San Miniato to follow tomorrow.  I arrived a little later than expected and by the time I rested and showered  the sun had already set.