Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 29 San-Miniato to Abadia-a-Isola (Monday 24th September)


1702 kms from Canterbury - 372kms to Rome
Garmin Record: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/233176140

The trail to Gambassi-Terme was tough. 24kms seems innocous enough. I've done it many times and today should be a breeze - I thought. Then Ms V introduced us to the rolling hills of Tuscany. First you ride to the top of one, getting you up to around 500 metres altitude, then you ride country gravel tracks and single tracks over hill and dale. Many ups, many downs but often on slippery, loose stone which is very difficult to ride on whether up or down. Not many pictures were taken and not much lighthearted banter passed between us as all breath was used for panting.
We were happy to see Gambassi on the horizon, but of course it is a hilltop town so much effort is expended just getting to the centre. I've got Keith hooked on my current favourite brew - lemon soda - so we stop for a quick one then off to San Gimignano. This is an interesting city, as many are in this part of Italy, it is a walled city with very interesting architecture and narrow streets.  Here we stopped for lunch. There are so many tourists there who took an interest in the two cyclists. We spoke to Canadians, Americans and some South Africans who now live in New Zealand. We had a leisurely lunch until the weather changed, the wind came up and a storm threatened. Nothing quite like that to get you going as quickly as possible. So we made haste to Abadia-a-Isola where we were made warmly welcome by Mario, the manager of the pilgrim hostel. Mario is a very warm kind-hearted soul who takes his function very seriously. There was a French couple and an Italian lady there when we arrived. We were all invited to dinner which was a simple meal of toast with a very nice pork and chili pate followed by pasta in a bacon and tomato sauce, followed by a mushroom tortilla with tomato salad. Really delicious and enjoyed together in a lighthearted camaraderie. That was special.
 Mario also performed a ceremony of washing the feet of the pilgrims before supper. It was strange for us but very moving as he washed our feet and dried them after saying a prayer for our health and welfare on the journey. (Good thing we had a shower  first.!)

Before we left this morning he had another brief ceremony blessing us for the journey ahead. It is touching and fulfilling to know someone cares so much that this is his life's purpose.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! What a way to end the day and then to start the next with a blessing for the day ahead. Not far to go now. May the wind be at yours and Keith's back for the rest of the way.