May 19 to Poggio Bustone
May 20 to Rieti
Thursday, May 19, was a harder day with a lot of climbing and some heavy rain. The route climbed up through the lovely hilltop town of Labro to Faggio San Francisco, a place where legend has it that St. Francis, while walking in the mountains, was caught in a violent storm and was protected by a beech tree that gathered its branches together and protected him. Yes, a long climb to see a tree, one of the oldest living trees in the world, and a little chapel. A pleasant walk.
The irony of the day is that as I walked a huge thunderstorm was brewing behind me. Black skies and crackling thunder overhead for the last two hours of the climb. The storm hit just as I arrived where St. Francis took shelter. Although I did take refuge from the pounding rain under a beech tree, it didn’t turn itself into an umbrella. A day when I was happy to have my GoreTex.
Friday was wet in the morning, but cleared by the afternoon. The highlight was the hill town of Cantalice. When I arrived at the church it was locked but the caretaker noticed me and asked if I wanted to go in. He unlocked the door with a huge key and gave me a little tour. Two German hikers I’d talked to earlier came in a few minutes later. Shortly after leaving the church I had a brief chat with an Italian guy who told me he had a relative in Toronto. I said I live in Vancouver. He asked how many km from Toronto to Vancouver. Quattro mille I said. He frowned and shook his head. Quattro cento he said, thinking I confused mille and cento. No, quattro mille. He was astonished.
Friday’s walk ended in Rieti, a town of 50,000. The largest town for a few days.
I’m now five days and 110 km from Rome.
A few photos, not many due to rain: