Today we are walking from the top of the hill outside Spoleto (they gave us a ride there 😉 to a place call the Abbazia di San Pietro in Valle. (Our luggage gets a ride all the way there). We are armed with a picnic, compass, small Italian phrase book and lots of water. We walk mostly through woods and the trail is not difficult. We see Castle ruins, village ruins
wildflowers, waterfalls and beautiful views.
Finally we walk into the tiny hillside town of Le Cese where we saw 4 people, all over 50 all speaking only Italian but they were very friendly. The nun invited us to sit down at the tables in front of the church where we enjoyed our picnic lunch. This is also where I heard for the first of many times the word “qua” which I am surmising means “this way ” or “here” but it was a word we heard a lot of on our trip.
Out of Le Cese we began a steep and seemingly never ending ascent on hot dry pavement. 3 dogs decided to follow us out of town probably because we smelled like salami. Our directions indicated we should be on a dirt path but all we found was the paved road heading up the hill.
It was almost 2pm and I did not even think we were halfway yet. I was not sure we were on the right route, I began to wonder if they had phones in Le Cese, I thought about how difficult it would be to find our way in the dark even though we did both have flashlights in our pack, I wondered how cold it would be if we had to sleep outside over night… basically I began thinking that we were nuts for the two of us to be wandering the pretty much deserted countryside of a foreign country.
We lost 2 of our dog friends but couldn’t shake the 3rd so we named him Enzo.
Finally our directions were matching our route and it became more shaded, we were more than halfway – yay! and I began to think we could actually do it.
We came across some lumberjacks on the trail and we would have loved to get a ride with them down the hill but I could not think quickly enough how to ask that plus we didn’t know if we were on the same route – we were! We did manage to converse about the fact that we were tired and we were American and that they were harvesting firewood but that’s as far as we got. This is also where Enzo finally deserted us.
Our next encounter was with a goat herder. He was very friendly and began speaking to us in Italian – I told him I only speak a little then he asked if we were on our way to Abbazia di San Pietro (I guess they are used to these crazy walkers coming through) and then he told us we were about 1.5 hours away- HA – but at least it was encouraging. Then he took a shortcut up the hill and we ran into him a little further up the road (yes he was kicking our butts and by the way he was about 60) but he had 2 walking sticks he was using and he gave us one of them – he was so sweet! I guess he could see that we were going to need it!
Finally we walked into the tiny town of Loreno where we saw 2 other herders lots of goats and cows I am assuming this is where all those fabulous cheese come from – maybe that incredible pecorino. They also harvest truffles in the area.
So we continue climbing and every time I take a picture we climb a little higher and get an even better view.
Finally we are back in the woods, run into some more lumberjacks who open a gate for us and say “qua, qua” and then we are headed down another steeper path than yesterday and with more loose gravel – this is where those walking sticks really come in handy! Finally our destination comes into view – The Abbazia – see that tiny castle looking building in the center – that’s where we are headed!
After 10 hours of walking, we finally made it!
so when you check into a hotel in Italy at least you have to give them your passport – so we pull out our 2 very sweaty very rumpled passports and hand them to the poor lady at the desk. gross!