Monday, 17 October 2016

A short walk but nowhere to stay....hrmpf!

Acquloreto to Todi – 13th Oct 2016. 12.6k

Well it was another uncomfortable night, I'd asked for the heating to be turned on but instead was offered a glass of red wine and a bottle of water. The owners made sure the air conditioning was on to heat the room but it would have been better to just huddle round a lit matchstick all night. Needless to stay for the second night running I slept in my clothes to keep warm and surprisingly I woke with a start when the alarm went off. I'm sure I could have slept most of the morning for some reason.

I though it quite amusing that not long after I got out of bed the radiators came on, now why could that not have happened last night I mused? I'd requested an early breakfast and was pleased to find that it was a big improvement on the previous mornings meagre affair. Once again I made the most of what was on offer and even relieved some bits and pieces just in case I got peckish to Todi.

Once again I was going off piste and following a black path on the map that met up with an unpaved road. I scanned the route on a satellite map on my iPad before I left and knew my route disappeared into the woods and what happened then I would find out later.

I have been well trained by my parents and I left putting my dirty shoes on until I got outside much to the amusement I'm sure of my host. With my laces tied tightly to avoid getting blisters I  set off to the Strada? The route was easy going as is the usual case when I am following a decent trail that actually exists. Part way down the track I came across a Priva notice attached to a tree and I was unsure whether it was stating the woods were private or the path ahead was. I soon found out…my route continued all time downhill but generally going in the right direction until it took a sharp right turn and I stopped at a chain across the path. Bum, it's that path that's private I told myself. I about turned no retraced my journey up to where I'd seen a track disappear into the woods.

Finally at the junction and extremely warm by now, I dispensed with my jumper and set off on this new track. It was very narrow, steep and very slippery underfoot with all the loose rocks and stones. This was definitely one of the black tracks on my map. I checked my GPS and my map to ensure that it was the correct way and it appeared correct although there was a watercourse to cross on the map. Thankfully when I arrived at that point it turned out to be a natural rock bridge with a fast flowing stream running through it. I pressed on and once again started ascending the hillside.

By the time I got to the top I was bathed in sweat and very out of breath, I paused and took advantage of having a decent drink to ease the 1.5 kilos I was carrying in water.Thirst quenched I set off once again, this time in the relative comfort of a road to follow all the way to the outskirts of my destination. The last few kilometres along the main road into the town after I had ascended the hillside as Todi like many places is perched at the top of a hill.

From the valley floor below Todi is dominated by the beautiful round church of Saint Marie d’Consalazione and the Duomo. My route took me past the Saint Marie and it is Tully spectacular inside, almost a mini St Pauls Cathedral in London. After a brief time inside I ventured off to the Duomo to finish the days walk. Passing the tourist information office I grabbed a street map and set of to the main square via the Roman gates into the city, once again all the time ascending to the highest point. The main piazza is dominated by the Romanesque style of the Town Hall, the side of the theatre with its tower and the Duomo. I'd arrived relatively early due to it being just a short walk and after some time in the cathedral I set off to find free wifi and a coffee. With both in hand I made a one of my B&B address and how to ask in Italian, “I have arrived, pleas may I check in?”

I wandered up and down Via Cavour looking for my abode, but I could not find it despite close scrutiny of all the narrow passages it could have been on. Eventually I did a very unman thing, I went back to the café I had just left as there was an American women in there who ,lived locally. I introduced myself and explained that even though I was a man please could I ask if one of them knew my accommodation address. My request was met with squirrels of
excitement and lots of questions about what I was doing. After a brief but interesting interrogation and the handing over of two Abbeywalks business cards, I was offered a high 5 and respect which I accepted. With directions in hand I went off to my abode only to find no one was home. It was after 2pm so possibly siesta time, I text a message to the mobile number and after no response plucked u courage to ring. Pronto cam the obligatory response, I repeated my Italian phrase about arriving and could I check in……..blah blah blah came the response in Italian. I plaintively utter..non comprenda, only to have the reply of blah blah blah in Italian but I thought I head him utter in 15 minutes. In hindsight I think I was hearing things.

It was getting cold by now and a storm was brewing. I was very obvious as I loitered in the doorway in my shorts and t-shirt with a house on my back. After 15 minutes the storm let rip and the heavens opened, I dashed under a restaurant canopy to take shelter from the torrential rain, but all the time watching the doorway for anyone arriving. After a further 20 minutes and no arrival I as getting really cold and so donned my waterproof trousers and jacket to try to keep warm. At 3pm I was not a very happy bunny, having been in the city for nearly three hours. I trusted to my gut feeling and head off to the tourist information that was open my now and asked if they knew of some where cheap to stay in town. The lady behind the counter, in her late 50’s or early 60’s, dressed all in black, very very slim, and heavily pierced all over and that was just what I could see, was very helpful. In very slow and deliberate English she mentioned the Hotel Flora behind the building.

I set off to see if I could find a deal. Initially the door was locked but after ringing the door bell the landlady arrived and in my fine Italian asked in they had a Camera Singola for a notte and quanta costa? She held u six finger and said €60, this exceeded my budget for the day but I was desperate. 

I handed over my passport and was shown to a very comfortable and warm room…..I was as happy as pig in ?!£&.

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