Wednesday, June 4, 2014

San Gimignano to Stove June 3

                                                                         Current Day.                            Trip to date

Distance walked- miles.                                     17.3.                                          271.8

Gross climb- feet.                                              1720.                                        21,593

Song of the Day:  "Should I stay or should I go?" by the Clash

Should I stay or should I go now? 

If I go there will be trouble

And if I stay it will be double 

So you gotta let me know 

Should I cool it or should I blow? 

Should I stay or should I go now? 

Quote of the Day:  "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face."  

                                Mike Tyson

We left the hotel at 7:30 this morning, hoping to get a head start on the day.  It was interesting to see how quiet and beautiful San Gimignano is in the early morning.  Compare these two photos from the main street from this morning and yesterday:

As we left the hotel, I told Linda I was amazed at how well we were doing physically.  It had been almost a week since either one of us had gotten any new blisters.  As we began our walk, we talked about how it had been several days since we had gotten lost.  Perhaps it was time to retire the "Amazing Grace" song (I was lost, but now I'm found....) from hall of fame status.   No question about it, this was going to be a good day.  What could go wrong on such a beautiful, sunny Tuscan day?

For us old guys, we call this "premature celebration disorder" (aka PCD).  My mom would call it "don't count your chickens before they hatch..."  

After walking for about an hour through beautiful countryside, we came upon our friend Masa from Japan, in front of a medieval  church. He asked if we had passed Christian from Germany?  No, we didn't see him.  "He must be lost because I was in front of him and I have been waiting here for almost 30 minutes" said Masa.  After waiting around for about 15 minutes, we tell Masa that we are going to take off and hit the trail. It was already going to be a long day, and we didn't need any further delays.

So, we take off and walk another mile or so, down a very steep hill. We keep looking around and can't see any trail markings.  And beautiful San Gimgnano is coming closer:

This doesn't make sense to us, because we are supposed to be walking away from San Gimgnano.  What do we do? Should we continue walking forward, toward San Gimgnano? Or should we go back and see if we made a wrong turn somewhere? ("Should we stay or should we go...."). It seems we have no choice but to walk back toward the church that we left 30 minutes earlier.  When we get there, we determine that indeed, it was us who was lost not Christian!  We then proceed backwards until we figure out where we had missed a turn on the trail.  Ironically, we passed 4 other people on the trail today who made the same mistake.  Misery loves company......The net of all this is that we lost several miles, a steep climb and an hour due to getting lost today.  Once again, we survived to talk about it, but it did make an already challenging day even harder.

We then proceeded on to Stove, walking with Masa.  Masa told us a story about how he is not a typical Japanese because he has Latin blood.  In the early 90's, Masa was living in Chile, and he had a near death experience that required a transfusion of 4 pints of blood.  He said before the transfusion, he had been a straight laced Japanese businessman, but afterwards, he was much looser, a true Latin!  Who knows the truth, but this is a very entertaining guy, and we have both greatly enjoyed the time with him these past few days.

As the day goes on, I notice that my right foot is hurting and later discover that I have developed a large blister on one of my toes.  Fortunately, Nurse Ratchett took good care of me and pierced the blister with a needle and thread.  Hopefully, all will be well in a few days.

Not withstanding getting hopelessly lost and developing blisters, the actual walk today was challenging but quite pleasant.  Much of the walk was in shaded forest like paths, often over streams:

Finally, we reached our hotel around 3:30 this afternoon, after a total walk of almost 8 hours.  We lovingly referred to the hotel reception clerk as "Broom Hilda".  She does not seem to be Italian, likely from Eastern Europe.  Just not the same warmth and friendliness of the Italians.  We have found this quite often on this trip, with many people from Romania or Bulgaria working at hotel reception.

After getting cleaned up, we headed down to the local bar, and run into five women from Ireland who are walking a portion of the Via.  Last year, these women walked the Camino in Spain, same as us.  They were quite funny and entertaining.  Perhaps we will see them again on the trail:

Tomorrow, we have about a 15 mile walk to Sienna, one of our favorite Italian towns. We are spending an extra day there to tour and recuperate a bit.  If all goes well, we will also find a laundry mat and wash our clothes again!

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