The short 22km walk and the cool weather lulled us into a false sense of security. We didn’t bother to set the alarm and when we did finally wake up, most of the other hostel people had departed. We picked around at breakfast and finally pulled on our backpacks about 8am.
Tuscany starts at the top of the Cisa Pass and you notice the difference at once. Hills everywhere. One pass leads to another and if you’re not going up you’re going down, like the Grand Old Duke of York. We walked most of the way on painful loose rocky mule paths. Today’s stage is the only one classified in my guidebook as very demanding. It was. Also the weather was hot and we were quite tired by the end of it.
However it’s stunning. Walking in Tuscany is something special. Sadly there was no bar along the way so when we finally arrived in Pontremoli we held up the first bar and screamed “Frizzante!” at the barmaid. After 1.5 litres plus juice we were ready to look for accommodation.
Our lazy start to the day meant we were quite late looking for accommodation. We went to the Convent housing the pilgrim hostel and saw several familiar faces from last night including A&M. But the hostel was full. That turned out to be good news because we were directed to the overflow facility which is none other than the 10th century Piagnaro castle which dominates the town. For 11 Euro we have become royalty for the night. It’s like arriving at Windsor to discover the B&B is full and then staying with the Queen in Windsor Castle.
We also have the key to the castle so we can get back in tonight. Just one little Yale key. It wasn’t always this easy to take the castle.
Our castle home