Day 19 Via Francigena, Passo della Cisa to Pontremoli 23.9km

Date: Tuesday 28 August
Distance covered to Rome: 490/1027km
Terrain: Down, down, down the Apennines. (descent = 1325m)
Overnight: Ostello Castello del Piagnroella, €11
Feeling: a wee bit tried today.

What goes up must come down and I did for the best part of 6.5 hours.

I have decided that to tackle the Via Francigena you need a head for heights, no fear of narrow paths with sheer drops off the side, no fear of swinging bridges or angry dogs, and a very good pair of knees. I thought I had good knees, but we will see what state they are in when I get to Rome!

It was slow and steady wins the race today as many of the descents were incredibly steep with loose stone under foot. I think I may have mentioned my miraculous walking poles once or twice before?

I seemed to do it hard all day as I was short a few calories from yesterday (yes, another small catering miscalculation) and of course today there was not a bar or cafe to be seen. All praise to biscuits!

The slow pace gave me plenty of opportunity to admire the scenery, the tiny villages and awesome autostrada. That thing is just an engineering wonder as it disappears under massive mountains and sails across valleys on towering bridges. Why can’t we have that sort of engineering/development vision in Australia? Needless to say I wouldn’t want to live next to such a thing, but boy it would be handy!

I was rewarded for my hard slog with some very picturesque forest strolls over babbling brooks and ancient stone bridges. It is moments like those which make me realize how very special this walk is. Hard, but special.

My big news is that I am staying in a genuine castle tonight! The castle is a museum, but they also provide accommodation for pilgrims. I am surrounded by ramparts and towers and massive stone walls. How lucky am I?

Tip of the day: just because they tell you there is a bar, don’t assume it will be open before 3pm or serve food before 730pm!

9 thoughts on “Day 19 Via Francigena, Passo della Cisa to Pontremoli 23.9km

  1. Fantastic travelogue Mel. You’re nearly half way! Brilliant. One foot in front of the other …


  2. Dallas Rheinberger August 30, 2018 — 1:23 am

    Looks so pretty, but obviously looks can be deceiving!!!! So excited for you staying in a castle. Enjoy that one!!!!!.


    1. There is a price to be paid for the views, but I am learning to take each hill as it comes!


  3. gracethepilgrim August 30, 2018 — 3:12 am

    Yes, the castle !! I’m a little envious reading all your last reports in a row this morning. This camino is definitely on my list (roll on retirement!)


    1. As long as you are not expecting a Camino. It is very different!


  4. Great to hear from you Mel – at last! Your mother wasn’t the only one about to send out a search party! There have been many messages back and forth for days asking if anyone has heard from Mel. Very relieved to know it’s just Italian technology gone wrong that has been responsible for your lack of communication. Beautiful scenery by the looks but still sounds like a very hard slog! Fingers crossed that the weather is cooler from now on & that with the cooler weather comes friendlier dogs! Take care xx


    1. Thanks Di. I have been thinking of you all especially as I tackle a particularly challenging hill, I can hear you all telling me how crazy I am. Then I think of you all again when I see a gorgeous shop! So many wonderful boutiques here, but I am not carrying anything extra all the way to Rome!


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