Saturday, 15 October 2016

A short stroll and a 12th century convent

Tuesday 11th October 2016 – 11k

Well the previous night I was alone in the restaurant save for the chef who hovered around which made me a bit nervous. I’d apologised profusely that I was a vegetariano which was met with indifference. I was offered spaghetti with pomedere (tomatoes) which is always a safe meal and one I quite enjoy. Before my meal was served the receptionist arrived and queried me over my meal choice and I readily accepted formaggio and insulate (cheese and salad) as my second plate. My meal turned out to be ok but for €20 euros I felt it was a bit expensive, especially as a) it cost me €1.50 to sit there? b) €2 for bottled water that clearly came from the tap grrr. €2 For the very nice local vino rosso, I was ok with that and the rest of the cost for the food. Once again I am reminded how some Italians like to charge for everything and for as much as possible.

I slept like a baby and woke early refreshed and ready to start the day. Breakfast was a plate of dead animals which I ignored, juice with a straw, yogurt, stale bread and cake which I had to helpings off. Once breakfast was over I was on my way by 8.45am. The weather was dry and not too cold for my useful business attire – shorts and t-shirt. Halfway down the track the breakfast chef arrived and gave me a lift back to reception, well that was allowed as I had not started my walk yet. 

Back at reception the dog appeared once more and again we played scratch my ear, you gently  paw me and I scratch you again. With my GPS set I walked to the outskirts of Corbara and then over the river hoping the dam would not burst and I get washed away – yes I do have a vivid     imagination which often amuses me, personally I blame too much fresh air to the brain!   

I had seen a path to the Convent but seeing as it past by a farmhouse with smoke rising above the roof, I chose to take the main road for fear of meeting dogs or told it was a private path. I played dodge the traffic, crisscrossing the road at corners for fear of being mown down and after 3k safely reached the track to the Convent. It transpired it was a silent order and all the doors were closed. I spied three monks in the garden doing their chores and hovered around in sight making myself known. They ignored me.

After a while of hanging around one of them came close enough for me to bid him Bounjorno and to then utter Pellegrini (pilgrim). After what seemed an age the church for bolts were drawn and the doors were open for me to enter. Saint Francis took part in its building in 1216; not far from the Convent there is a cave where the Saint used to live for some time, and the reef on the Tevere river from which Saint Francis talked to fishes. The church is adorned with frescos, sadly some not complete now but it still a breath taking building.

My path continued out of the valley and once again encountered dogs, this time an old jack russell deciding that my ankles looked tasty and lunged for them. I raised my foot and it gnawed at the sold of my shoe, it retreated, it attacked, and attacked. I bravely walked off, repeatedly turning back and standing my ground so it retreated. 
At the top of the hillside and by now very warm my path turned left and I skirted the hillside with a view of the dammed water below me, glistening blue in the sun. Today my journey descended alongside one corner of the water before climbing again again through the trees and then the grapevines that dotted the open hillsides. I passed a winery and ambled by slowly savouring the sweet aroma of the fermenting grapes and then into the olive groves with their green jewels growing in the sun.

By midday I was getting close to my accommodation and slowed my pace as I could not check in until 1pm. Ten minutes later I was at the gates and stopped briefly before a car pulled up and Mario introduced himself as my host. I apologised for being early and was swept into the restaurant and promptly given a free glass of their own red wine. With my registration completed, a stamp for my Pilgrim passport, I was given a bottle of wine and a glass and taken to one of three accommodations. Mario suggested a three bedded apartment as it had better wifi reception. Now it would have been rude to refuse.

Once again I settled into the usual routine, shower, shower again, wash clothes, wash them again and then write up my blog. Tomorrow is another day….

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