When we checked out, Monique asked me for 1,50 euros to pay her hotel city tax; she had only a 50 euro bill. I put down 3,00 euros for the two of us but the clerk said that I did not have to pay. Perche? Because I was male? No, because in Montefiascone, guests over 70 do not have to pay the tax. Another fringe benefit for those in the 70+ club.
We re-traced our steps up to the Rocca and then down the opposite side to resume the VF. We gazed out at the nebbia that blanketed Lake Bolsena. At that spot was a cut out sculpture portraying VF pilgrims. The following quote was at its base, “Forget the steps that you have taken, remember the marks that you have left.” As much as the VF have given us, I hope that we have left goodwill in return.
We sauntered down the hill from Montefiascone. We said our goodbyes. We walked on gravel roads and paved ones for a few miles until we reached the Roman road, Antica Cassia Romana. According to the VF guide, we will encounter this road off and on as we continue to Rome. The road is impressive. Still over 3 meters wide in places. We walked st least a mile on the stones. The road was built in the 4th century BCE. Almost 2,500 years ago.
Unfortunately, our run of idyllic moments came to a close. We were approaching Viterbo, once the residence of popes, now a densely populated city with an interesting centro comprising of medieval structures juxtaposed with Art Deco buildings. You will see Monique walking down with either nebbia (fog) or smog in the distance. The transition from the rural countryside to the city was abrupt. Here is the VF approaching a Burger King next to a roundabout and traffic on a major street. I guess that’s progress.
This traffic was the worst since I started the VF. However, Viterbo offered its own version of rewarding experiences. As we approached our hotel, Palazzo Riario, using Google Maps, a man popped out of nowhere and asked us our names. We were startled. Quite frankly, I can’t remember what was saying but we were taken before a wooden door, handed a thin plastic piece smaller than a credit card and told to insert it into a slot. The wooden opened. We repeated the operation again inside on the door with our hotel name and again at our room doors.
It was Renato, the owner of the hotel. After getting our luggage inside, he took my passport and Monique’s Swiss ID card. He told us to come to his restaurant where he is the chef and then left. I never had an experience like this.
The hotel was a former home to a wealthy family. It has six rooms. Here is Monique’s room. Mine had a simple king bed, no four posters.
We were soon walking the twisted streets to find the VF office where we could our credentials stamped. We found Via Cavour and walked to the Piazza del Plebiscito. No office there but a women told us to go down the road to our right and we might find something. Alora, the VF office was within 200 meters. We had our credentials stamped. Mauro, a volunteer from the VF organization, posed with Monique inside the office and with me outside.
We had little time to tour any site. We decided to wander around the centro storico to get a feel for the city. Here are some photos of our walk that ended at the Magic Bar in Piazza Verdi with our Aperol and Campari spritz. Note how the peanuts are served. You will see the current opera house in the background in the second photo.
La Chimera was just around the corner in a stone building constructed around 1200. The place had three rooms with curved ceilings. A really cool setting.
No pasta tonight for a change. We both had the veal served in small chunks in a light sage sauce with Carciofi followed by an insalata mista for Monique and fagioli in olive oil for me. We opted for a plate of the local cheese. Our wine was Viterbo local — no date — imagine a nouveau Beaujolais like wine with a syrah flavor palette. Never before had I such a wine. We were more than satisfied. We can attest that the other tables were filled with smiling diners. A go to place when in Viterbo.
Mauro suggested that we take an alternative route tomorrow — hills but more scenic than the route in the guide. It is a few kilometers longer. He gave us a map and assured us that the path was well marked. We will start from the Porta Roma near our hotel. We shall see.
3 thoughts on “Day 14 (26 October) Living History —13 Miles”
Good luck on your alternate walk tomorrow! Your walks take you to the most scenic places which you wouldn’t ordinarily see. I love the restaurants you find, and tonight’s takes the prize for most unique. Hope your night in the untraditional hotel was restful! Enjoy your trek today.
Peanuts and Burger King all in one day! What a life.