Hello Tuscany

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~ Henry David Thoreau

What a wonderful day, entering Tuscany! We skipped breakfast, left at dawn and climbed hills. It was hypnotic, through beautiful forests. We passed through tiny villages looking for any sign of food and drink. At 11am I decided to ask a lady in her garden if we could pay her for a cup of coffee. She was drying funghi in her garden. She refused money and returned with a tray of espresso. Ecstasy! We thanked her profusely. We also discovered that there was a Trattoria 1km down the road. We never realised the “down” was way, way down but had already started walking. This is hilly Tuscany, after all. We ordered huge paninis with fromaggio, prosciutto and tomato then sat in the sun in a blissful stupor, putting off the walk back up the hill to get back on track. Then Sylvie hatched the idea to join the VF cycle path along the road, confirming that it was quite flat. What genius. We saved our knackered knees and marched along the relatively quiet road, lined with arching trees. As we passed locals at a roadside cafe we each shouted a “Bonjourno!” and that we were walking to Rome. Yes, that’s us. They smiled and shook their heads, sipping their drinks.

Our accommodation was kindly booked by Christian in a Pontremoli B&B. It is a town full of history, character and wedged between two rivers. We decided a change from Ostellos would be nice. It is an utterly charming stone building for £30 each including breakfast. A persimmon, walnut and fig tree fill the garden. A young man came to settle us in and showed us a large common room set up for breakfast, where we will help ourselves before setting off for Aulla. A challenging 32km walk is in our sights, and we hear we will catch glorious sight of the distant sea.

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