To Ponte d'Arbia - Jan 23
Hazy Siena skyline as we leave.
We walk out of Siena through the huge Porta Romana and down and up side streets to a peaceful country road along a ridge with several views back through the hazy morning to the skyline of Siena. After a while rain first threatens then pours on us. We take refuge from the wind-blown rain first behind a fence of bushes and then in a hay storage shed. In a short time the rain is mostly over and we walk in its lingering drizzle. But its strength passes us to the south as a huge thunderstorm.
Tuscan winter wheat in wind that almost blows us off the path.
The wind tries to blow us off the hillcrest we walk the next few hours. We walk tilted into the wind. Rolling, almost treeless hills flow out below us on each side as we try to remain upright in the relentless wind. Everything is so green.
In Isola d'Arbia we have a short rest from the hilltop buffeting but we are soon on the windy crests again. Around one we find a bit of shelter in the wind shadow of the small hilltop castle town, Grancia di Cune, really only a huge grain storage place with a wall to protect those living there. We take advantage of the calm and sleep half an hour on a couple large logs laying conveniently along the road.
Grancia di Cune where we sleep on logs out of the wind.
I walk with strength today. I am really feeling good. But at the same time I wonder why I am walking at all. It is only when I wake up in the middle of the night that I can remind myself that I am doing this to experience the wind, the rain, the sun, the countryside, my feelings, our interactions, to be open to all that happens as we walk--to live. That is why I am walking--to live this part of my life.
At 3:30 we lie down in an opening to sleep a bit. The sun is still out but I see clouds coming from the southwest and suspect more rain. We wake up in fifteen minutes and the clouds are overhead. We roll up our mats and head down the path along the railroad. In half an hour the sky lets loose. The wind drives the rain horizontally. The trees and our umbrellas offer little relief. We run for the cover of a railroad bridge where we stand for fifteen minutes while the storm rages. At one point a train forces us into the rain a short time while it passes. Finally the storm lets up enough so we can walk. But it never really stops raining the rest of the walking day. Our umbrellas keep us dry to the to below the waist but my lower pant legs are getting soaked. When we arrive in Ponte d'Arbia, a bar is the first stop. Tea warms us a bit.
We stay in the large meeting room of the Centro Culturale L. Christi. Two beds stand at the end. But before we get there, we don't see the entrance and walk half a mile into the country looking for the place--dead end in a farmyard. Back at the edge of town the entrance is hidden behind another small building. While the room is warm, it stands on the edge of a busy highway and car lights come in incessantly. Blankets on the window take care of that annoyance and we sleep well. Thanks for the hospitality, Massimo.
The Il Ponte Restaurant across the street offers a fine supper. For a small village, it does a good business, maybe because its food is so good. Empty when we arrive at our usually early seven, it is hopping by 8:30 when we leave.
Siena 22 Jan Contents S. Quirico d'Orca 24 Jan
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