Day 79: Montefiascone via Bolsena

Number of kilometres today: 36.9

Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 1,905.6

Total steps since Canterbury:  2,652,704

Number of kilometres to Rome: 122

I decided weeks ago that while I am in Italy, I will eat like the Italians do.  One of the best things about this is that it means I am totally justified in eating sweet things for breakfast.  My current favourite is a bomboloni crema, a custard filled donut, and a cappuccino. This morning's bomboloni was the best I have eaten in Italy to date. Just from a small bar in Acquapendente filled with locals stopping in for breakfast on their way to work or dropping the kids off at school.

After another cold night in our pilgrim ostello with no heating, we left Acquapendente in thick fog.  It was warmer outside than it was in our accommodation so we were happy to be walking again.  As we walked towards San Lorenzo Nuovo on a quiet country road the fog eventually lifted and we had a clear view of Radicofani, its castle perched high upon its camel humped hill, way off in the distance.  The hills and clouds looked like they had been painted on the horizon by the most divine artist.

Before I met Peter and Paulius, my plan had been to stay two nights in Bolsena so that I could go and visit the cathedral in Orvieto some 20 kilometres away.  I had also planned to stay in Viterbo for two nights.  Over the last two weeks, I had returned to planning accommodation ahead and I had been staying in more hotels than pilgrim accommodation. I have been tired and lonely and it has been a way I offer comfort to myself. They have taught me to let go of this.  We walk and we see where we feel like stopping and staying and we find a roof over our head when we arrive.  It is that simple.  

So today I let go of my plan and waited to see how I felt when I arrived in Bolsena.  Bolsena is right on the lake of the same name and is very much a summer tourist destination.  When we arrived, the majority of restaurants, shops and hotels were closed for ferie, holidays.  I didn't feel to stay there.  Nor did I feel to play tourist and visit Orvieto tomorrow.  I am enjoying their company and not feeling the need to go off on my own.  Even when we walk together I can have my own solitude walking at the back of our trio when I need it.

We arrived in Bolsena at 1.30pm and none of us felt inclined to stay so we decided to have lunch at one of the only places open, a bar/pizzeria and keep on walking a further 15 kilometres to Montefiascone. We walked through pretty woodlands in full Autumn dress of lime green and lemon.  Our path was littered with leaves of tan and tangerine. A stream bubbled alongside us.  Eventually we found our way back on to roads again with speeding traffic.  At one time when I was at the front of our group, one truck passed within inches of me before swerving to his left.  I jumped on to the grassy verge and reactively used my Italian swear words and gestures to tell him what I thought of his inconsiderate driving.

Since daylight savings ended, it has started getting dark from as early as 4pm, especially when there are thick clouds on the horizon that swallow the sun like today.  The guys are both impressed and humoured by how well equipped I am.  I am not sure what my backpack weighs but think it is 11 kilos without water.  Peter's weighs only 5 kilos.  Paulius' weighs 8 kilos.  They keep telling me I am a strong woman and have been surprised that I have been able to carry the bag so far and been able to keep up with them.  They do walk a lot quicker than I had been walking solo but my conditioned feet and legs can handle it now.  Anyway, tonight my over-packed backpack paid off as I pulled out my small head torch that I wore in flashing mode to warn approaching cars of our presence in the dark.  Some slowed down to look at us.  Others put their high beams on to see what was flashing ahead of them then slowed down and veered away from us.  It kept us safe and has been only the second time I have used it.  The first was to find my way out of the Cappuccini convent in Pontremoli.

We arrived into Montefiascone in the dark and found our way to the nearest pilgrim accommodation, the  Monastero San Pietro.  I expected monks but we were greeted by nuns who nicely scolded us for not ringing ahead to say we were coming but then took us in and showed us our room and offered us dinner and breakfast anyway.  We have eaten pasta, crumbed chicken and vegetables and salad from the garden, drunk homemade wine and eaten fruit for dessert.  

The grand silenzio started at 8.30pm.  We are locked inside the monastery until morning.  And so we will sleep early; Peter and Paulius are already asleep as I write this.  Tomorrow, we will set off towards Viterbo, the only plan we have other than finding second breakfast before we leave.  I shall dream of finding  another sweet bomboloni crema and see what else tomorrow brings.

Foggy Acquapendente early morning

The cattedrale in Acquapendente

Wet and muddy but we didn't have to walk through it

Golden autumn woodlands.  So beautiful especially in the sun.

Deserted farmhouse

Still icy mid morning

Peter is the dog whisperer.  This little guy went foe to friend and couldn't get enough pats.

First glimpse of Lake Bolsena

A little bit of walking along the Via Cassia.  It's not so fun.

Entering Bolsena.

Bolsena was quiet and deserted even at lunch time.

After leaving Bolsena we walked through some beautiful woodlands.

And we arrived in Montefiascone in the dark so there are not pictures.  I will share some tomorrow.