Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cassio to Montelungo May 23

                                                              Current Day                    Trip to date

Distance traveled- miles.                           17.5                                125.8

Gross climb- feet.                                     2650                                9385

Net climb- feet.                                           290                                2568

Song of the Day:   Across the Great Divide, by the Band:

Across the Great Divide

Just grab your hat, and take that ride

Today was a mixture of all weather conditions and geography.  When we awoke at 6 am, it was raining very hard.  After a short breakfast at the hotel (well, actually coffee and a candy bar, as the food had not yet arrived to the hotel restaurant), we left around 7 am with a light rain coming down.  Our new friend Christian from Germany joined us in the walk.  He is the guy I mentioned yesterday, who started his hike from his home near Munich 3 weeks ago and is walking by himself.

The weather temporarily turned worse, with a cold, windy rain.  After a short while, the rain stopped, and the wind died down.  For the most part, we were climbing, but at a relatively manageable pace.  After 2 1/2 hours, we reached the town of Berceto, where we stopped for coffee and pastry.  

Christian smoked several cigarettes during the break.  Interestingly, Christian, who is about our age, told us he quit smoking 7 years ago.  He decided to take up smoking again for the walk.  His plan was to just smoke a few cigarettes each day as a sort of treat during stops.  However, he said that within 3 days of starting up, he was back at his old level of 1 pack per day!  He said he will quit before the trip ends.  

Linda and I then continued on by ourselves.  As we were going further than Christian today, we needed to get moving.  After about 2 hours of uphill walking, at times very steep, we reached the peak of  the Appenine mountains at 4000 feet ( and hence today's song- across the great divide). It was extremely cold and windy at the peak.  It seemed like the wind was blowing 30 or 40 miles per hour at times.  This mountain peak of 4000 feet will be the highest on the trip, except when we go over the Alps in late June.  

After continuing down the mountain for another hour or so, we reached a very nice restaurant where we had an outstanding lunch which included Tuscan bean soup, pasta, sausages, etc.  Truly another great Italian meal for us.  As we thought our hotel was only a couple of miles away, we decided to have a little wine with lunch.  Only, there had been a sligh miscalculation by the planner for this trip (er, that would be me!) and the hotel was more like 5 miles, down in a valley.  

Finally we arrived in the cute village of Monte Lungo.  Only, we couldn't find our hotel.  Hell, this is a town of probably 200 people, how hard could it be?  In her very best Italian (which is getting better all the time by the way), Linda asked an old man on the street where the hotel was.  He actually walked most of the way with us.  Turns out, the hotel is about a half mile outside of town.  It is a very nice B&B.  I asked about Internet, but they don't have any.  So, this posting will have to wait for another day or so!  We asked if there was Internet in any of the bars in town, and he said no Internet anywhere in town.  It's amazing to me to think there are still places like this without Internet access!  

These past three days have probably been the most difficult 3 continuous days of hiking we have ever done.  We have walked about 50 miles, climbed almost 9000 feet, all under very challenging climate and geography conditions.  Tomorrow should be a little easier, with a total walk of about 12 or 13 miles.  

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