Day 51 – Sunday, 22 September – Cisa Pass to Pontremoli – 21.5 km
I didn’t sleep great. I had some strange dreams, and it was cold. But I was ready to wake up at 6:30 and get going.
I had opted out of breakfast and apparently it’s a good thing I did. There wasn’t much available and the early crew ate it all. I ate my banana and was out the door by 7:20.
I had to walk up the road to the pass. Yesterday was Saturday and sunny, and in the 2k walking down from the pass I must have been passed by 100 motorcycles. Today was rainy and no motorcycles were out. There were barely even any cars. I counted 12 in the first two hours, and then I stopped.
Today was a descent of 1200 m and it was raining. Last night the hosts suggested that using the road would be better in the rain. I don’t regret not going down the path. I have been down a lot of mountain paths and I’m not sure my knees need that right now. Last night going up the stairs, I got a sharp pain in my right knee cap. This is different from my usual knee pain, so I don’t know what it is. I do know I don’t need any more injuries or pain.
I have been struggling. Sometimes I feel like I’m this close to just being done and going home, but then other times I think it’s really not that bad. And it’s not that bad, I’m just tired. But I really don’t want to give up because I know I would regret it. Back when I was sick and when my ankle was really bothering me, I thought that worst case, I could go home and come back and finish another time. But really, when would I come back? I need to try to stay and finish. I’m just tired. It’s been a long walk, and it’s still over 500k to go.
The walk downhill was gentle and really much better on my knees. The thing I find slightly amusing is that I don’t walk faster going downhill than I do uphill. The slope was gradual enough that I think if I had started at the bottom and gone up, it wouldn’t have taken me any longer.
It was raining, but not horribly, but steadily enough to get my skirt pretty wet. But it only rained for a few hours, and then it started lightening up. My skirt actually dried. That always improves my mood, when it doesn’t rain all day and you have time to dry out and don’t arrive soaking wet.
It was cold enough that I wore my coat and gloves as well.
The sun even came out for a bit, but then it got cloudy again and started drizzling again. Tomorrow is also supposed to rain, but if it’s like today again, then I’m ok with that. But it does say thunderstorms in the afternoon.
I arrived between 12:30 and 1. There’s a tunnel right by the entrance to town. It said it was part of the castle, so I walked down it and found an elevator. How nice! I didn’t know if the ostello was in a different place or what, but I walked into the ticket office and the guy pulled out his reservation book, so apparently I was in the right place. He gave me a set of keys and pointed to where I was supposed to go. I still wandered around a bit and tried my keys in a few doors before I figured it out.
So far I’m in a room by myself. That would be nice if it continued! Marita stayed at the castle but she hated it. She didn’t think it was very clean. I mean, it’s an old castle! I think the dorm is clean enough, but the bathrooms are a little sketch.
I think a lot of my mood lately has to do with food. I need to make sure I eat enough. I went into town to look for some proper lunch.
It really is a charming little down. I looked in 2 churches and the cathedral before I found a place to eat.
I went into a restaurant but they were full, so I ended up at a bar that served hamburgers.
Then I went to find some gelato.
While I was wandering around I found the tourism office, which I assumed would be completely closed today, but they are open from 4:30 to 6:30. I am totally going back to get help with reservations for the next few days. I know that will help my mood.
I am officially in Tuscany and will be for the next two weeks. This is supposed to be the most beautiful part of the Via Francigena. Hopefully it doesn’t rain too much.
I got a message from Gavin and Jill. They came down the mountain and went straight onto a train to La Spezia. They are going to spend a few days walking Cinque Terre and then rejoin at Sarzana. I have heard wonderful things about Cinque Terre, but I don’t have time for it this trip. I mean, maybe I could, but I would literally have no more time. Well, I don’t know. I haven’t looked into it. But the last thing I need right now is something else. I’m sure I will come back to Italy at some point. It will be on my someday list.
Marlise and Bert are going to Cinque Terre, too, but in two days, when we are closer.
I did go to the Tourism office and got reservations for the next two days. She couldn’t reserve Wednesday because they had stopped for the night, but they said I could call back tomorrow and they speak English. Yay.
I went ahead and booked two nights in Lucca, too. I was able to find something in the city center for 40 E a night, but with a shared bathroom. Lots of the cheap ones had shared bathrooms. I decided on two nights instead of three. I don’t want to stay in one place too long because I might not start again. I will take a real rest day somewhere soon after Lucca.
I am feeling more positive about the next few days and week. I was going to try to make my own start and stopping places, but I’m going to just follow the book, It’s easier mentally, especially with no wifi.
I met Paul and Marco for dinner, and Marlise and Bert showed up right after. Then we met two new pilgrims, Sergio and Fausto.
I had something like ravioli but it wasn’t stuffed. Something like Tortoli. With pesto. It was like a spongey, thick pasta. Delicious. Then I had pork and salad. Everyone else got caprese salad, which I was jealous of, but I wanted some meat. I did have a burger for lunch so I probably would have been fine with the caprese. Then a chestnut torts for dessert. It was a very good meal with good people.
I will try to start early tomorrow for my long day. In the rain.