Today was overcast, but we had no rain . In the afternoon it became quite cool, around 8 degrees , with a cold wind giving a significant extra chill. I was told later that this was the Tramontana wind from the north.
Today I walked with Jean-Michel and Robert from Belgium for about 9 hours to San Miniato. Quite early in the day we walked along a few kilometers of restored original medieval Via Francigena pathway . Made of rocks set into the ground, walking on it was like having a half hour foot massage.
We had a long uphill stretch across a very sandy ground with tough low vegetation before coming to Ponte a Cappiano with an interesting bridge across the Usciana canal .
Not long after we came to the Arno River from where we could see our final destination for the day, San Miniato.
As we got close to San Miniato I was chatting to a lady who was also walking up the hill. I realized we we’re getting deep into Tuscany by her accent – all her ‘C’s sounded like she was clearing her throat ! She not only kindly offered to show us the way, but also popped into an office along the way and gave us our town credenziale stamp.
The B&B is a bit strange. My bed was decorated with fake rose petals and had vintage ladies underwater strewn across it as decoration. Anna is a big collector of bits and pieces which fill the house . There’s lots of interesting reading material in my room, for example The Power of Positive Thinking and The Confessions of Saint Augustine.
The town is very attractive and was the original home of the Buonaparte family before they moved to Corsica. On the way to dinner we passed by an old church and were beckoned in by two ladies . I then got a half hour description of the place from one of the ladies whose passion it is to organise restoration and promotion of the oratory, once it seems the private Buonaparte chapel . We even got a go at ringing the 16th century bell. The other lady gave me a wristband with little cockle shells, a symbol of pilgrimage .