Walking, Day Four: To San Quirico d’Orcia


New beginnings for Virginia, Paul and Cindy (and for Michael the photographer).

Having taken one day off, we couldn’t in good conscience not walk on Tuesday.  But, the day’s walk began about 10 kilometers away from Montalcino in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, which required a taxi ride to Osteria Bassomondo where the walk began.

We were immediately on the strada bianca (white roads) that are becoming so familiar to us.  The walk today took us through 14.5 kilometers of gorgeous Val d’Orcia countryside.  Rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves, fig trees draped over the road quite literally ripe for the picking, lovely, long, toe-jamming descents, rather horrible, long, sweat-producing ascents, through several farmyards, over a little stream, past snarling, barking curs, past friendly, petable pooches; but all of it beautiful.

We missed only one turning.  We found a “Free Wifi” sign by a bench on the side of a road near an agriturismo. At the top of one particularly nasty ascent, as we were passing a farmhouse, a woman was coming in from the fields having collected a huge armful of wild fennel fronds:  To season sausage and roasts she told us.  Shortly after setting out after lunch, a very nice lady in a little car stopped to see if we would like a ride; I’m not certain how the four of us plus our knapsacks would have fit in her car but it was so kind of her to ask.

We arrived at the Hotel Dei Capitano pretty much right on schedule, meaning within the time estimate given by Inntravel.  We were pooped but happy with the day.  After the obligatory showers to wash away the grime of the day, we met for tea in the hotel’s breakfast room.  Tea didn’t seem like quite the thing to have, so, we opted for beer and apperitivi in the garden instead.  About an hour later, however, after an truly deafening thunder storm with rain and hail arrived, tea, biscuits and a secure cover seemed just the thing.

The storm continued virtually unabated for hours.  We began discussing what the rain was doing to the strade bianche and “earthen paths” we were scheduled to cover on Wednesday.  Can you guess where this is going?  Before we began to drink wine at dinner, we had already decided to accompany our luggage from San Quirico d’Orcia to Pienza on Wednesday.  We are such wusses.

Dinner at Il Forno Vecchio, which was included, was absolutely delectable.  We have been very impressed with the quality of our lodging and with the included meals (all breakfasts, three picnic lunches, and three dinners).

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