Saturday, May 31, 2014

Altopacia to,San Miniato May 31

                                                             Current Day                             Trip to date

Distance walked- miles.                             18.1                                        227.6

Gross climb- feet                                       1108.                                      16,861

Net Climb- feet                                            493.                                        2077

Song of the Day: Country Air by the Beach Boys:

Breathe the beauty of it everywhere 
Mother Nature she fills my eyes  
Get a breath of that country air
Breathe the beauty of it everywhere 
Rise up early

Today was almost a perfect hiking day.  When we left the hotel at 6:45 this morning, it was overcast and relatively cool.  It was clear that it had rained during the night.  During the walk,we could see that it was raining in some of the surrounding mountains.  But, other than a few sprinkles, it never rained on us the whole day.   About every 90 minutes, we would pass through a small village, where we would stop for a rest and snack.  All in all, a great day for hiking.

One of the little towns along the way:

Probably 80% of the walk today was on paths or very small country roads.   This was a striking contrast to the past several days.  Not having to constantly dodge trucks and cars was a real relief.  Plus, the quiet of the woods was a real treat.  Although it had rained extensively last night, the trail today was very walkable:

We also came upon several horse farms along the walk.  Once when we visited here in the late 90's, we took our kids for a horse back ride across the Tuscan countryside.  Very beautiful, peaceful ride until sudden out of the sky's we hear the roar of several F15 fighter jets scream righ over our heads!  This was when the Bosnian conflict was going on, and NATO was bombing Bosnia on a daily basis.  

Finally, around 2:30, we arrived at the handsome medieval hill town of San Miniato.   We are staying in a very nice hotel (Hotel Miraval Palace), another welcome change from last night's Motel 6 like accommodations! We even turned on the TV in the room today, the first time since we have been here.  They had several channels in English. This is the first hotel that has a TV screen larger than 13 inches!  Here is a view from our hotel room:

A view of San Miniato as we were approaching it via foot.  One of the bad things about staying in these hill towns is that you have to climb to them, later in the afternoon when you are already tired:

Last night, we went to a live show in Altopacio about the Via.  Apparently the government of Tuscany is sponsoring a series of shows about the via to promote its use.  Each show has a different topic, and the one that we saw was about Pane (bread).  It was all in Italian, so we really couldn't follow it.  To be honest, it seemed like a bad Saturday Night Live skit with Will Ferrell and we were glad when it finally ended:

Ww will have another 15 mile hike today to Gambassi Terme.  It is supposed to be a clear, sunny and warm day.  Unfortunately, no stops along the way, so we have stocked up in food for our backpacks.  

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