Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The only way is.........up!

Todi to Masa Martana – 14th Oct 2016 19.2k

Well there was a huge storm the night before but I had a fantastic, cosy and warm nights sleep. I woke late because I assumed it was a short walk today. Breakfast time turned out to be an interesting and humorous affair. I sat down to a fine cold buffet spread including cereals. I am always cautious over any milk offerings as I detest UHT milk. If I am not sure it's fresh I avoid at all cost. I chose the cereal but added yogurt and it worked very well. I'd asked for a double espresso and thrown my landlady into a tis, she had no idea how to provide my request from the coffee machine she was using. Aldo, she cried. He appeared and she told him off my request and in no time I had what I had asked for. Then the fun started. I was the only guest having breakfast and I think the landlady thought I looked  either very dodgy or she has had some bad guests because she just hovered around looking busy. In my peripheral vision I saw her tidy the counter although it was tidy. Then she opened the draws of the fridge and rearranged the contents, she wiped the sink, she wiped the counter top, she never stopped tidying until I left!

I was a bit sad to leave the hotel despite being aware that if I'd booked online I could have got a cheaper deal. I walked out of the city through more Roman gateways and called into the coop for some supplies. I'm always aware of the looks I receive I when I enter places like this, it's almost like I've just landed my spaceship in the car park. I'm reaffirmed that I am lucky to be doing this and some people will plainly not leave the place they are born in.

With plenty of water and some extra goodies to keep me going I set off in the direction of the motorway the E45 hoping I could either get under it or over it. Thankfully it was the latter rather than the former. Once I'd passed under my path started to climb up the valley to Chiona along a relatively quiet country road. After passing the village I turned left onto yet anger of my black routes / paths that I am having such adventures on. This time I was on the right path, it head down the hillside past a building on the left, around it and then descended the small valley. I turned round the house and was met with the occupants, Priva…I uttered? Blah, blah, blah came the response. I pointed to my map of where their house was and my intended route, but the lady of the house pointed at my feet and then the field and I realised my intended root was across a plugged field. There was a route and I could have gone that way but given I am writing the walk for others to follow it is preferable that the route is easy to manage and follow. I chose to turn back and return the way I had come and find an alternate route

I passed through Chiona once more with my new route showing that in about 2k the road naturally turned left and if I went straight on I could follow a route almost direct to Masa Martana. Now I have never been surprised when my intended route has a house on it or it's a dead end but  time a totally new road appeared. I say new, it clearly was an road that had been there along time but according to my map which was printed in 2013, it did not exist and nor did it on my GPS. Was I in another dimension, was I dreaming? I decided to test it out and turned right and yes it was an actual solid road.

I was now following signs to Monticello and I steadily descended to valley knowing full well that was go down must come up. True to form I then turned right following new signs to the hilltop village of Torrececcona and that was when the road started to climb and climb and climb. As I looked right down the valley I could clearly see the path I was intending to take but I guess passing through somebody's garden is not always the right thing to do.

The tarmac road ended and became a white gravel unpaved road and I continued to climb. I was begging to wonder if I would come across some pearly gates or some angels playing harps by the road side but before any off that could happen the road levelled out and I came to a t-junction and turned left away from the village of Torrececcona. 

Either side of me now were olive trees and after stopping discretely by the roadside to make myself comfortable (have a wee) I picked one of the black olives off a tree to try. First I cleaned it as best I could from any possible insecticides that may have been used and then I popped into my mouth. Now I really like olives but to say this was bitter was an understatement, I spat it out almost immediately and tried to alleviate the taste with plenty of water.

In the distant now I could see Masa Martana, another village at the top of a hill. I'd dome my research using google maps and satellite imagery and knew there was a route into town from the base of the rock it was sat on. Ha, how wrong I was! I followed my intended course down a very evident track that appeared to turn into someone's garden. On closure inspection and with two dogs barking and snarling at me I saw that the track skirted the boundary of the property, so I set off in that direction. At the bottom it came to a stream and a deserted house with an 1872 plaque on it. I about faced and eventually found the actual track and carefully crossed the stream into a quarry. There was evidence of an old very broken wooden bridge which confirmed that I was going the right way. Not only was I now travelling into a quarry but a building site as there was serious maintenance work and rebuilding of the very high stone wall around this part of the village. Rather than reface the dogs I crept through the building site cabins and returned to the road. 

In relative safety now and knowing that I was going to get to Masa Martana without any further problems I pressed on up the hill. The final leg of the stage taking me through the old gates to Piazza Garabaldi and where Elizabeth my accommodation host for the night was waiting for me.

I was greeted warmly and shown to my very own apartment for the night complete with heating I could control, a kitchen where I could cook my own meal and a bowl full of fresh fruit to indulge on. I set about making myself at home as soon as Elizabeth had left.

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