Walking, Day One: Beginnings


Aug. 27, leaving Podere Caprili

Breakfast turned out to be just as delightful an experience as dinner minus the wine.  Although each of us would have been happy to spend the day at Podere Caprili, we decided that we really ought to spend some time walking; so, we headed out into the sun drenched landscape at about 9:30 a.m. for a walk to the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore.  It was described as a 10.5 kilometer walk that should take about 4 hours.  Our walking notes also told us that we should arrange to take a taxi back after we finished exploring the Abbey, which sounded unbelievably civilized to us.

The walk was great; the walking notes kept us right on track and the varied scenery kept us engaged.  We passed through the delightful village of Chiusure, where we were able to replenish our water supply, shortly before arriving at the Abbey well within the 4 hour time line.  Since the Abbey was closed between noon and 3:15, we had a very liesurely lunch at a restaurant just outside the Abbey entrance.  It’s amazing how easy it is to spend a couple of hours over a simple lunch!

While Paul took a nap on a shaded stone bench, the rest of us visited the Abbey and had the good fortune to be there when the library, pharmacy and refectory were also open.  A wedding was also in the works and it was fun to watch the guests arrive in all their finery . . . almost all of the guys were wearing dark suits, which on a day of 90 degrees seemed horrific, and almost all of the women were wearing very high, spike heels, which given that they had to walk a long, long, long way down, down, down an extremely irregular surface seemed equally horrific.

The only hitch in our day’s excursion was that when we called the telephone number for Niccolo (the taxi guy), there was no answer.  But the hitch quickly turned into one of those precious moments when I asked at the restaurant if they could call a taxi for us, which they did, which meant that Giorgio soon arrived to return us to our lodgings.  Giorgio is an older gentleman and quite the character.  We learned a bit about his walking habits (only in the early morning when it is fresh . . . in other words, not like we addled Americans) and a few things about some of the drivers that we passed along the way (“I know this fellow very well and he is very calm, always very calm,”) this said as Giorgio was careening past him on a very short stretch of highway.

Back in plenty of time for a shower, swim and apperitivi on the terrace.



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