Day 77: Radicofani

Day 77: Radicofani

The priest in San Quirico d`Orcia briefed us on today's journey before we left.  He showed us where to walk on the road rather than follow the official Via Francigena trail so we could pass a bar where we could eat lunch.  Otherwise there would be nowhere to buy food or drink until a bar at a service station 20 kilometres into the journey.  He warned us about two Maremma dogs guarding sheep without any human supervision and that if the sheep were there not to go near them.  

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Day 76: San Quirico d'Orcia

Day 76: San Quirico d'Orcia

Today was my first full day walking with other pilgrims.  I was a little skeptical about how I would find it after more than two months walking by myself but it worked really well.  We walked in a group but as individuals with the freedom to walk our own way.  There was conversation and laughter.  There was silence and solitude.  Our walking rhythms seemed to match without too much compromise.  We stopped every hour for a five minute break and we arrived together into San Quirico d'Orcia.  

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Day 75: Ponte d'Arbia

Day 75: Ponte d'Arbia

I was called out of bed to watch a beautiful sunrise; cotton wool clouds of deep lavender grey, their bellies brushed electric pink.  It was an omen for a beautiful day ahead.

After one last meander through Siena's streets and back onto the trail, I soon left her behind. Once passing through Porta Romana, I walked through the quiet streets of the surrounding villages.  A local man walked with me for five minutes and we chatted a little about my Via Francigena journey in my limited Italian. A few farmers were harvesting and trimming their olive trees. I passed a couple in their late 80's, strolling hand in hand pointing out things in their landscape.

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Day 73: Siena

Day 73: Siena

Today, the body really started falling apart.  My eyes bulged, face throbbed, throat was scratchy and sore as I fight off another cold.  I was light-headed and thought I was going to faint. I stopped to eat some crackers which solved the problem. My hip and glute hurt all day and the pain really started flaring up about 5 kilometres from Siena.  I wasn't sure I would make it. 

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Day 72: Monteriggioni

Day 72: Monteriggioni

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

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Day 71: San Gimignano

Day 71: San Gimignano

When I woke up this morning, I knew it was raining before I even heard it.  The cars driving past were splashing it beneath their tyres as they drove past.

I left my albergo at 8.15am and walked to a bar fifty metres away for breakfast, a cappuccino and a cornetto crema.  The bar seemed unusually busy for a Sunday morning and I had to wait ten minutes for my cappuccino.

It was spitting rain when I arrived at the bar.  It was drizzling when I went to leave. I stopped outside and put the Kermit on with the help of the locals sitting out the front. 

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Day 70: Gambassi Terme

Day 70: Gambassi Terme

Today, I walked the rolling hills of Tuscany, away from the roads busy with traffic.  The loudest sound was the wind rushing the fir trees and roaring past my ears. An eagle cried.  Hidden birds chirped.  Free-range roosters crowed. A cow bellowed from within a barn.  The dogs, locked awaya in their pens, barked as I passed. Summer jasmine. Rose. Moist earth. The breeze warmly whispered summer. 

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Day 69: San Miniato

Day 69: San Miniato

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.

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