Day 93 – Nuts! Oh hazelnuts!

I’m fast approaching the end of my Via Francigena guidebook. Flicking through the pages I see that Rome is just 3 days away. That means Paul and I will arrive in St Peter’s Square on Friday morning. Just 76km (47 miles) to go.

Today’s walk was 32km. About 30km of it seemed to be through hazelnut orchards. I’ve never seen so many hazelnuts. It was fun walking along the path crunching on them. I don’t think anyone picks them: they drive between the trees with giant vacuum machines sucking them up from the ground. It must be a problem having hungry pilgrims walking through the orchards but there were lots of horrid notices warning us that they had just been sprayed and that we should not touch any nuts. I tend to believe any official notice but in this instance I was cautious because all morning I did not see a single squirrel. Isn’t that spooky?

Half way through the walk we passed through Vetralla, another small town lying in the shadows of Rome. I think the barman must be reading my blog because he was not only ready with the Frizzante but he had our favourite brand, not the naturally sparkling water which is almost flat. He had my favourite croissants too which are plain. In Italy everything is sweet: sugar, sugar, sugar. The croissants are laced with mamalado or a thick chocolate flavoured sugary syrup. It’s a relief to find what is known locally as an empty croissant, as if it had been neglected. But even then it has been sprayed with a sugary mist.

“Breakfast in Italy”. You can google that all day long without getting a single search result. It doesn’t exist. Everyone is recovering from their midnight pizza. But if you do eat something before midday it will be a piece of sweet cake or a doughnut. Breakfast is espresso and that’s it. Oh what I’d give to be back in France in the morning to tackle a length of fresh crusty baguette with unsalted French butter and French apricot jam. What culinary joys we have experienced on this pilgrimage. Even the breakfast in that awful Paon hotel with its American Airlines economy chicken dinner and the shower head which falls on your head when you turn the water off, served us a fine breakfast.

The weather today was pleasant but not hot. The gnats were shivering in the woods. It’s not what I was expecting at all.

The ancient Romans kindly cut this gorge for us to walk through

This is as close as I dared go. He had a fierce growl

Today’s Frizzante stop

Every town has its fountain

The endless hazelnut orchards

17 comments on “Day 93 – Nuts! Oh hazelnuts!

  1. Peter Mastenko

    3 days walk left (after 93), wow! Hope you have a long stay in Rome planned to visit all the sights, or are you hurrying home? The noise and bustle of Rome will be a contrast after the peace of the countryside.

    • I have a week in Rome and will fly home on 6 September. I was lucky to get on BA for £28 plus a few air miles. Might just catch a Prom!

  2. I think that you and Paul should walk back home. I hate for this blog to end. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading it!

    • Thanks. However nothing would persuade me to walk home. I don’t know how those medieval pilgrims did it

  3. In Italy you have to be careful who handles your nuts.

  4. As I see, you and Paul can already feel the air coming from the St Peter’s Square! For me it will last another ten days. Have today a break in Siena and will probably arrive in Rome at September 10. By the way: did you ever count the rainy days during your walk? I did. Until now I walked for two hours(!) in the rain, it was in Langres 🇫🇷 .
    Say hello to Paul. I wish both of you a good and healthy arrival at the St Peter’s Square!

    • Hi Ruedi, glad to hear from you. I was really hoping to celebrate with you in Rome but I leave on 6th. We’ve been so lucky to avoid the rain and some violent thunderstorms. Paul says hello and thanks for your wishes

  5. Calum McLean

    Wow. I’ve never seen a hazel nut orchard before. Please walk home Tim, we’re all addicted to you blog and won’t know what to do of a morning 😦

    • Ha you could try reading it backwards if you like. I’ve booked my flight! All the best and say hi to Vikki. Tim

  6. Superb idea for you to walk back as I too will also miss your daily blog. Lovely dog photos

    • Hi Lucy the dogs were vicious things especially that white one. Walking back went out of fashion in the Middle Ages

  7. Tim, I hope I can come and visit you when you return for a pre-Camino pep talk 🙂

    • Hi Torin, yes with the greatest pleasure. Perhaps a Wednesday? I’m looking forward to catching up

  8. Mantel marie

    Hello Tim and Paul
    How are you ?
    We saw that you arrive in Rome in 2 days
    We think you are very happy.
    We are on the camino since 3 days, in Estella.
    We miss a lot of friends like Paul, Tim, Coco….
    We are alone for the moment because everybody speak spanish , not English, not French
    This night we sleep in a covent at the top of the town and no bier 2kms around it is not good for our muscles
    We try to phone at Paul he don’t answer
    Have nice Time in Roma
    Best regards
    Marie and Claude

    • Hi Claude and Marie, the rock is tender and the crow is cooked. We are nearly in Rome. Paul says hello. He is using an Italian SIM but will be in touch shortly. Buen Camino, Tim

  9. Annette

    I have truly enjoyed the blog also. Try to get some much needed rest and enjoy the sights.

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