Day 72: Monteriggioni

Number of kilometres today: 31.4

Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 1,732.4

Total steps since Canterbury:  2,407,280

Number of kilometres to Rome: 304

There was a noticeable change in the landscape today as those luscious grassy rolling hills were replaced by woodlands and a lot of mud and flooded streams.  I was amused by the first stream.  The second one made me curse.  I burst into tears and sobbed when I saw the third one.  My reaction caught me by surprise too but I had just had to fend off a snarling dog which put me on edge.  This was the third stream I had to cross in an hour which is not a quick process as I had to take off the Red Beasts then my two pairs of socks and put them back on again standing up because there was nowhere to sit down that wasn't wet or muddy. Just before the second stream crossing, I missed a sign telling me to turn left and I kept walking straight ahead for another 700 metres before I realised my mistake.  I was walking parallel to San Gimignano in the distance which felt odd so I checked my map and GPS. I had to walk 700 metres back to correct my mistake adding 1.4 unnecessary kilometres to my day.

I checked the guidebook and worked out I had walked only 7 kilometres in 2.5 hours.  At that rate, I would make it to Monteriggioni well after sunset. Not my ideal. 

 The mud and fording the streams made for slow progress. I have skated my way through muddy vineyards.  Slipped into muddy puddles. Climbed up embankments and tiptoed through the icky clunky clay mud to bypass sodden and gooey slippery muddy paths. It wasn't fun. I cried five times today. Five times. I cried and kept going because I had to and because I don't let mud and cold and streams snd pain stop me. 

It was hard going when I didn't expect it to be.  The wind was gale force at times. It was really cold all day.  The sun made its way out from behind the clouds only twice for ten minutes.  I wore my beanie and gloves all day. It wasn't as pretty as the last two days. And I have had constant and sometimes searing pain in my hip/glute. I have just returned from dinner and I could barely walk up the stairs which has me a little worried about tomorrow.  I'll give it some TLC before I go to bed and hope for the best.

Although it was tough, the day had its blessings too.  I stopped at a bar in Quartaia to take a coffee after I had eaten my panino in the wind and the cold.  One of the old timers was curious and asked me a lot of questions, none of which I understood because he had a really thick accent.  The bar lady spoke some English and translated.  However, he misunderstood what had been said and thought I had walked all the way from Australia.  Everyone in the bar laughed.

It didn't rain today.  Not a drop while I was walking and light showers had been forecast too.

I paid only 10 euro for my room tonight. It was discounted by 5 euro for no reason other than maybe he understood I was struggling to find enough coins to make up the 5 euro.  It is a kind of dorm room with a double bed and two bunk beds although there are more rooms here I haven't seen.  There's a fully equpped kichen and I can make my own coffee in the morning which is lucky because the bar doesn't open until 9am and I plan to have left well before then. And I have this whole place to myself.

Lastly, I feel like I have the smlall but pretty Monteriggioni all to myself. No tourists.

I have only 20 kilometres to walk to Siena tomorrow.  I can reduce it to 15 kilometres if I dare walk the Via Cassia for 1.7 kilometres.  And then I have two nights in Siena; a day of rest on Wednesday and only 11 more days to walk.

View of San Gimignano from my breakfast table

and from the window just a little further up from my table

Leaving San Gimignano through Porta San Giovanni

Looking back at San Gimignano as I walk away

Vines and hills close to San Gimignano

Stream number one to cross.  Looks like a big puddle but it was actually a body of moving waer and almost knee deep in the middle.

I was amused.

Cold, red, number toes and feet.

Pretty dying grapevines

then there was the mud

Stream number 2.  Red Beats came off again.

Some prettiness

An uphill mudslide. I cried.  Then I realised the flat column to the very right was hard mud not boggy mud.

Snarling unfriendly dog that kept coming at me.  The Two Rodneys came in handy.  I still managed to take this photo :)

Stream number 3.  I cried when I saw it.

I shouldn't have seen this door but I did because I walked the wrong way again! It might be my favourite one so far.

Old Roman Road

Deserted,dilapidated farmhouses spotlighted in the ten minutes of sun I had today.

It was this windy!

I will remember this trail forever. It was long and...

lead to this and there was more of this before this bit. I ended up climbing up the embankment to the right to try and skirt around it praying I would find a safe way down. I did. I also walked through  icky sticky clay mud to avoid this "puddle".

I slipped into one of the puddles.  Lucky it was the left boot.  It is more waterproof than the right one.

Me in a happier moment

The long white gravel path to Monteriggioni


Sunset from halfway up Monteriggioni

Porta Fiorentina, the entrance to Monteriggioni

The ghost town. No tourists here this time.  It was 5pm on a Monday and low season.

Piazza Roma