PC632 Time to thank all those people who helped me in 2011 Lazio Via Francigena
Walking the Via Francigena walk to Rome

- Rome wasn't that great .. It was an anticlimax.. no one was interested in my big walk story.. But then I started to meet some good CS people
- Danilo offered me a ride to the CS weekend camping party which Mattias was organising. I did meet a few people there, but only at the end. City Italians are nowhere near as open as Albanians rather they are quiCe cliquey. Thanks to Nina & the others for organising the events although most of them never happened due to the weather not being perfect & people being too drunk.

- I formed a plan some of the places Marco recommended were nearby : Bomarzo a kind of 500 year old stone sculpture theme park could be seen from Mattias's house & Viterbo with natural hotsprings & a red river was a bit further. So whilst everyone else from the party went back to work in Rome I camped 1 more night & set off walking. North Lazio was the same as South Lazio I saw a lot of fortified rock villages. That day while I walked 2 people offered me rides one Emanuele D'Orazi turned out to be a CSer & he said I should really visit his home town Vitorchianco cos it has a Moai from when the Easter Island visited.

- The next day in Virterbo Marco's friend Andreas Spicciani treated me to a meal in his restaurant & then pinpointed those special sites the natural hotsprings only 1Km away from the town centre , the red river & abandon Roman amphitheatre. I also met a couple of other people Viviana who let me use the internet at her shop. - I met Elena another tourist from the north of Italy. It maybe just another medieval town, but Viterbo is a lot better than the popular touristy places.

- So I decided to start the Via Francigena walk to Rome

- Wow Calcata it's one of those places like Sermoneta where you seem to know about half the people who live there within 30 minutes of arriving.. I was very lucky to get a ride with a teacher from near Calcata, and he invited me to his friends party. The woman at the park visitors centre was very helpful & one of the cafe owners gave me a free breakfast. This town has gone from abandoned to hippy artists colony, but I can imagine it being ruined by greedy property companies & tourists shops in future.

Travelling with Vilma
- In Terrecina, Prof Marcello was great ..as were the people at the Sermoneta Youth hostel..picked us up chatted, old bloke who gave us & nona a ride to station the €40 deal at the Florence hotel centre of Rome, the bloke at that museum.

Northern Lazio

- While Vilma travelled to Venice I walked in northern Lazio. I met some kind people at Viterbo : Enrico .. Great hospitality from Valentina & Guiseppe (CSers from Sardinia) and from Their friends who work at the Monte Romano National park office : Sandra etc. Then Narciso the Blera town architect, his friends and the kind woman at the museum in Canino ..and the people who helped me hitch-hike around there.

- After Vilma left i went back to visit some Etruscan places in North Lazio. Met Mario from the Shell station in Formello

- Then I went back in Viterbo to start walking the Via Franciogena north I met Valentina & Guiseppe again & Elisabeth & Enrico.

Into Tuscany
After 5 days I met Michael Gerner from Liechtenstein in Radicofani. Previously I hadn't seen many other walkers & hadn't been thinking about Pilgrim refugeos. After 8 days I shared lunch with Javier the cyclist form Galicia. I met Adriano Fontani who kindly invited me in for lunch told me the sad story of how his life has been destroyed after 15 years ago he denounced the Jehovah's witnesses for wrong doing. Then through Siena thankfully the day after the huge Palio Festival. The Tueday I met up with Cser Caterina in Colle d'Elsa

- All the time I found popular places spoiled by too much tourism. It was in the smaller places that people were friendly. I ended up statying 1 week to help at a small festival in Gambassi. There I met a whole lot of friendly people through the ARCLI social club bar like Irena the glasspainter & her family, Valentina etc. I visited a few places around there like Volterra so thanks to all the people who helped me hitch-hike around there.

- I went further north & started to find pilgrim refugios more often .. Altopascio. To Lucca, An especially kind refugio at Valpromaro where I stayed for 3 days. Through Camaiore to the coast & then Pietrasanta to Massa (Met Mario A, and had lunch with his family). To Carrara - the city of marble - Avenza ..to find the italian post office had sent my parcel back ... to Sarzana .. met Chistina & her husband Marco.

Cinque Terre walk

- I left the path for 5 days as people really recommended the Cinque Terre walk (Ugh that walk ..was so horrible in comparison to walk from Rome ..touristy expensive etc). In a small village Pitelli I met some kind people at ARCI cafe ...And the town at the end of the walk Levanto wasn't so bad either. I took the train to San Stefano to get back to walking the Via Francigena.

Po Valley
- There was another busy refugio & pilgrims museum at Aulla where they welcome you with a cup of tea. Then up that valley ..Villafranca, Pontremoli ..(where the experience was like southern Italy with the woman in the post office being rude to me) ...to the alpine pass into the next province

- The refugio in Berceto was particularly friendly. I started to find some refugios where the priests were kind, but the life seemed to be well funded & ostantatious. Down the Po valley to Pavia, across the river & then flat boring mosquito infested rice fields ..after a while I shortcutted them by taking the train a few times ...stayed with kind fathers a night in Vercelli ..there were a coouple of enlightened samll towns where the refugios are free like Robbio & Cavaglia..(these days the post office service was much better) I met George from Lousiana.

Aosta valley

- Over the next couple of days I met 2 times local enthusiasts who help maintain the paths : Alberto & Paolo, but I still hate the way that it goes up & down instead of following a more natural traditional route, but the scenary is much better than the rice fields & this is the last week to the Swiss border by going up the Aosta valley.

- I stayed at another friary in Chattillon. In Nus I met Mario the "Nave dei disperati" man a non-political reform society. Then I arrived in Aosta city and stayed at another kind church. The next day I set off up the mountain reaching the San Bernard Pass at Switzerland 24 hours later. - Back in Aosta I met a group of young Italian Volunteers - Triple lucky, cos the cooks in the kitchen invited me to share the meal with the Italians

1 234 5 6 7 8 9 10

- There are 4 blogs ... this one travel and then I eventually edit and filter off material into
Current 502 Ideas and Opinions Blog, ideas index 2, Irrational World Blog .. but editing can get delayed a long time.

NEXT -->