Our breakfast this morning was more typical of what Italians eat — pastry and coffee. Add in Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, yogurt, and fruit and there you have it. Although I did not eat a cookie, one can appreciate the variety of offerings and how meticulously they were displayed. If you look hard enough, you will see an empty space in the covered try. That was where my chocolate croissant once was.
As we left, I took a photo of our hotel. You will see a wooden door in the lower middle background. That’s the entrance. The hotel was next to a covered fountain where back in the day neighborhood women washed clothes.
We were excited about taking the Monumentale route. The route was well marked as Mauro said. We went through the Porta Romana, up a very steep hill on a paved road until we reached a forest. Monique was in the lead; you can see her on the right side of the photo and the VF trail marker on the left. In the middle of this part of the walk, we came up workers thinning out the forest. No clear cutting but selective harvesting of wood. It seemed brutal to see and hear the machines working. The sounds were like whining animals out for kill.
We exited the forest and reached the town of San Martino Al Cimino that contains an abbey complex that a pope built for his lover, Doria Pamphilj. Mauro had pointed this place out for us on the map we were carrying. We were studying the tourist map of the town next to the archway leading to the church when Mauro appeared on his bicycle. To say the least, we were more than surprised. Was is merely coincidence that put him there at this time? Or, was it the invisible hand giving us a sign that we were being guided and protected along the route? Maybe Kobo Daishi from the ohenro. Mauro looked the part of an Italian cyclist. I told Monique that my sunglass frames though made in Italy were not as cool as Mauro’s. Perhaps I need to look into finding another frame to take on the Italian persona. Ya sure.
The church was the prominent feature of the town. Its interior was as large as many of the Gothic churches of the 12-15th Centuries. But this one was austere befitting an abbey.
The VF yields new treasures everyday. This stage had its share. We passed the entrance to a villa with several small signs. We liked two of them. The one above loosely translated says, Don’t miss joy even for an hour. You will never experienced it again. How true. The other was shalom. We ignored the cani signs.
We went by Miss Italy 1960 — she seemed well preserved for her age. We were amused by a most welcoming warning on the entrance to a property. That warning was hollow to me. I could not test the hypothesis because I could never get over the gate!
At this point, we peaked after 10 miles of uphill climbing. We took time for a brief lunch and then plunged into another forest. We literally raced down this hill because the mosquitos and flies swirled around us buzzing and biting. We reached the village of Tre Croci before walking the final two miles to our hotel. We were bedraggled. Although not long in the grand scheme of the multi-day walks, we were very tired because of the lengthy climb and quick descent. We also agreed that we had not slept well the night before. Getting good rest is critical on these walks.
Dinner lifted our spirits. Our risotto of asparagus and porcini mushrooms was superb — the rice was firm and the sauce blended perfectly with the rice. The other outstanding dish was the pork chops in an olive sauce. The chops were sliced into smaller pieces and had been seared to make a nice crust. The backbone of the sauce were anchovies. I could not see them but they were clearly there. We asked to see the chef to thank him and to take his photo. Onesto, a Filipino had migrated to Italy years ago. The woman was the hostess/owner of the locanda, Nonna. This pair reminded me of Cino’s, our go to neighborhood when Sharon and I lived in Brooklyn. The place was packed every night. The owner was Italian and the chef, Puerto Rican.
We retired early because tomorrow will be the longest walk of our/my VF. The Diamonds warned me about this stage, the guide as well. We decided to start early. So, early to bed, early to rise. Onward to Sutri.
2 thoughts on “Day 15 (27 October) The Invisible Hand — 13 Miles”
Good luck! My great pleasure these days is reading your latest blog in the morning with my coffee. BTW I don’t recall walking through San Martino Al Camino.
A. Eautiful day for a beautiful but vigorous walk. Even in Italy they cut down trees to thin the forest- too bad! It seems out of place doesn’t it? Not the serene quiet forest walk you had planned on! Your dinner as usual, looked divine. You get to taste so many new recipes along the way. That alone would keep bringing me back!! Hope your long day today is serene.