PC614 back north on the Via Francigena part 2

stopping off at Gambassi Festival

Previous - had walked as far as Siena
- Sun July 2nd - entered Siena the day after the big Palio Festival - passed 6 pilgrims
Met - American students who confirmed my idea of avoiding Palio ... In the overcrowded square They waited hours and hours while nothing happened .. There was fighting as the crowd pushed .. Then when the races came they were quick and arnarchic and mostly horses through their riders as it's the quickest horse that wins.
Today's Disaster - tried to get a bus out of city - I had a ticket, but the schedule was almost nothing cos of festival .. Then as I waited the bus countdown system was fucked.. It said the bus would come in 10 minutes . After 15 minutes the bus hadn't come so the system removed it from the display ..I waited 5 minutes more.. 2 minutes after I walked on the bus appeared, but I couldn't stop it due to people double parking. .. Camped 3Km north
Mon - 4th to Monteriggione and Collle
Tue - 5th bus Poggibonsi - back and walk to Grazie
Wed 6th - arrived in Gambassi
Thu - then as I walked down the street I met the organiser of the Music festival ..Irena the glasspainter and she kindly offered me a room in her house to stay for a few days ..wow kind people in Gambassi. I took the bus to visit Castelfiorentino a small medieval town on the Via Cassia version of the Francigena (The Francigena can be thought of a variation of 2 routes ..the official tourist red route away from traffic ..and the old Roman Road the Via cassia)
- theatre book reading at festival..well done
Fri - Everyone said "you must visit Volterra, but cos we are on the border of 3 counties - Irena said Volterra is too difficult to get to now bus services have been cutback and recommended Certaldo a high up medieval town home to the most famous medieval writer Bocacio (who I have never heard of ... A kind of Italian Chaucer).. similar to Castelfirontino, but you take the funicular to the high medieveal part consists of a 1Km sq area restored for tourism, so nice but artificial
Then walked back 8km in hot sun.
- Decided to try to visit San Vivaldo recommended by Valentina. walked 8Km back in hot sun then at 6pm over mountains 8Km to San Vivaldo ..which turned out to be a park of chapels (so boring to me) and back ..some kind hitching .. 6 guitarists at festival
Sat - Decided I should really visit Volterra everyone recommended .. Difficult hitching : walking bus, hitch, walk 20 min. Met the vet researching pets at Pisa University and then Massimo Sostegni. there in 90 mins, another medieval hilltop town, but less touristed due to location. bus shopperro ended and got a 9Km ride with bus.. Then some kind guy with a Cuban wife turned around to give me a ride..
Sun - It was the last day of the festival - and I had to stay and see Irena and Valentina perform as part of the choir .. A communication mix-up, I was waiting to go to the canyon with some of the festival volunteers, but they'd already left at 7am. They didn't work yesterday so I didn't know the plan.
- So I hitched to Montaione with an Albanian family. Arrived just after 1pm so of course the museum had closed ... Not much to see ... So I walked down down the valley and up up back to Gambassi.
Mon 4th - It's always a bit complicated when you stay with someone ... you don't want to outstay your welcome and annoy people ..so I cleaned the room and packed to start walking again, but then Irena and her mother said "no you have to stay today cos it's the workers party"
so I left my bag and took the bus past Castelfirentino and started to walk to san Miniato on the via Cassia ..then I'll bus back for the party ..god it's hot
- The first thing I heard I arrived was .."the bell chiming 1pm and signifyinhg everything is closed".. It was bigger and more spread out that i expected..of course the museum was closed for renovation ..I waited in shade for 2 hours ..then went up to Frederics tower (also closed for renovation) .. I walked down the road route to low town so missed the refugio.. of course when i found a bus stop I found there was no more buses back to Ponte De'Elsa so I waited for another bus ..but it came 15 minutes late .. and then I had to walk the 4Km back to Ponte De'Elsa anyway ..the same way as I had walked in the morning. No one would give me a ride hitching, but my luck changed as soon as I arrived at 7.45pm there was a bus direct to Gambassi
Mon - party -- I don't have to eat for 1 week now
- Tues 12ty - todays disaster - from Ponte d'Elsa no bus and even though many cars passed couldn't get a hitch so walked the 5Km to San Miniato Bassano for the 3rd time. Arriving 12pm ... met German slow walker, walked to Fucecchio medieval town, but all closed. O
- n to Ponte Cappiano (hostel is over the bridge). 5pm was too early to finish so pushed on through forest. 2 prostitutes were working (a tradition of the pilgrim road ?). Camped after Gallena.
Wed 13th- arrived in Altopascio - short day 4Km, but free hostel and free internet, so checked in.. bloody internet stopped working ... small calm town not much to see just 2 old squares .. Met other pelligrini - Juan from Sevilla and Genevieve from south France, some deaf guy from Palma, the Moroccan immigrants. Next Lucca Valpromaro yesterday whilst on internet : "ah nothing went wrong today, and I have my new 500g packet of biscuits" ..then my molar broke ...I think it's an old filling
Today - where - who I met - today's disaster
via-francigena Wikipedia
correct lazio directory
italian guys stages
e.g to Acquapendente
Official European Union Info page
via-francigena Association Info page difficult to follow
Some info via-francigena Info page dififcult to follow

Italian site someone recommends www.camminandosullaviafrancigena.com
Stopping off to give Special classes :
British man's lecture on 108 countries of travel
- This is Stewart Green from the UK I have been travelling for 21 years through more than 108 countries, working as I travel in many diferent jobs ...from being paid to watch football, to being an English teacher in 7 countries to being in a movie with Jackie Chan. I will be coming to your town soon as I walk sections of the old Roman pilgrim road the Via Francigena north from Rome - One thing I do is stop off in smaller towns like yours and visit an English School to give a guest lecture. This is interesting for the students and they always have lots of questions so it gives them to practice their English by interacting with a native speaker.

- If you think this would be interesting for your students please contact me to arrange a time.

- I charge €30 for a 1 hour presentation or €50 for 2 presentations .. With a discount of €15 if you can provide a room for me to sleep.

- More information about me is available on my website.

is walking a good way of travelling or good way of filling a lot of time

- .. I have a mountain of internet work to do, but never get it done ..as in the morning I have to pack up and set off before it gets too hot. Walking needs so much attention ..I hardly listen to mp3then I have to rush around before things cl0se at 1pm, then I have to rest cos it's too hot, time disappears as I check email, supermarket, wash, was clothes, repair.
BTW .... this is what I originally wrote Tuscany ; Gambassi Termi Community festival until Sunday - If anyone is passing Gambassi Terme this week they can stop off and see a nontouristy festival at nights - yesterday as I came out of the valley bottom I could hear rock music, maybe a festival I thought. Pity I would miss it as the old refugio has closed and the new place is 2Km further at San Maria Chiani, but when I arrived at the refugio in the church building their minimum pelligrini price is a ridiculous 24€.

- So I turned back and headed to the music..wow what a change from the "beautiful Italy" now made ugly by over touristy expensive restaurants and souvenir shops. Locals have pizza park up nearby selling pizzas for 4.50€ and below there is a stage I saw two local bands and bought 3 cokes, french fries and a raffle ticket for 7€... and the locals are very friendly

- First was a young local heavy metal band - good to see that local young people are supported. Just a pity that people prefer to stay at home and watch artificial TV talent shows instead of supporting local youth who are doing something positive which keeps them out of trouble.

- Next was older local guys doing rock rapping .. Often in local dialect, and about things in their local area and even attacking their local church in their song Papa Boys, Papa Boys.

- This inspired this song ... Where I rap about people who do something bad .. And the crowd shout "Basta ....You Bastard !"

- "Oh yes I am the big man, who preaches : family, family, oh love the family then I steal all the countries resources for ME and my family.. Gadafi, Ben Ali, Asad from Syria we are all the same"
"Basta ....You Bastard !"

- "It's my pleasure to work in the government office
... cos pleasure ...the leisure... it's all mine, I don't want to serve you I serve myself.. You know what you hear when you arrive
...E ..Chuiso"

"Basta ....You Bastard !"

- "I control the TV to fuck you mind
... Hype and hype to keep you in a state of fear
.. And while you are watching that crap you don't see me steal ...and steal

"Basta ....You Bastard !"

- I lead that syndicate for my own game
... need to go somewhere, well that's tough ! shoppero, shoppero I won't let anyone drive that bus, shoppero won't help the members .. But I don't give a fuck !
"Basta ....You Bastard !"

Commerce and business it's my game... You're tourist not from around here and that's a shame, you forgot to as the price first so here's your 4� coffee... you wanna impress your girl so I know you won't complain. Howdy special man.... I've got special prices for you"

- "What you say 'sexual abuse is wrong', well shut your mouth and say a word ... More important to protect the organisA shun - You're no authority so shush ..we'll cover it up and shun, shun, shun ..you !
"Basta ....You Bastard !"

Fear of young people
- "Community music projects for the youth ?
... When I see I'm gonna cross the street and lock my door.. Cos you young people, punks and hippies ..you're all in gangs
.. Talk to you .. No you'll steal my things

"Basta ....You Bastard !"

Blame the foreigner
- "High political office means big salary and big thinking... Being a man and admitting when you were wrong ... No too difficult .. Better blame the foreigner ...look it was the foreigners"
"Basta ....You Bastard !"

Saying "but what if instead" "yes we can"
- "In America "Yes We Can" is what they preach, but here "what if", "what if" we mothers say", but what if .. the priest sees ? but what if .. my son is gay ?
.. what if ... but what if people think we poor ?

"Basta ....You Bastards !"

- I could fill more verses which things that need to criticized like crappy TV reality shows and consumerism,

-it ends ... "This song has million verses .. Shall I go on ..and on ..and on ..and on "No, Basta ....You Bastard !".. And I get carried off stage

- This festival is every evening until Sunday. I see there are 2 hostels in the region 7Km up the road at Montaione Il Vagabondo, Via Marconi, 25/27 - 50050 Telephone: +39 0571 69129 and 7Km East at Castelfiorentino on the main train line Il Grande Prato Renai Via Renai, 11 - 50051 - Telephone: +39 0571 61744 +39 0571 61744 Fax: +39 0571 635875

check schools, email Javi, links for Adriano



Mo Tu Wed Thu Fri 5 Sat Sun 7
Thu - internet, but can�t stay extra day
- todays disaster - my friend who used my toothbrush has tested positive for hepatitis C
- walked 8Km on.
Fr- 8am took blood test - have to phone on Mon - for results
- todays disaster
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