Day 4 – Via Francigena – Sutri to Vitralla

Heading from Sutri’s old city back down to the Via Francigena

Heading from Sutri’s old city back down to the Via Francigena

Life is quickly becoming rhythmic. Up by 0700, breakfast at 0730, out the door by 0800. No lunch, but coffee and a roll if we happen to travel through a village or breadsticks and cheese and maybe a piece of fruit if we don’t. We finish our walk and check into our room by 1600, shower, wash clothes, find dinner, drink wine, plan the next day’s walk, write, read, go to sleep. Repeat.

Just as we entered the path, the ivy-covered ruins of La Torre degli Arragiati caught our attention.

Just as we entered the path, the ivy-covered ruins of La Torre degli Arragiati caught our attention.

Today was an over, under, around, through and a good bit of up and down kind of day. It was full of obstacles that required some gymnastic ability as well as walking. The day dawned sunny and cool (48F). We headed down the steep, steep steps from the old city to ‘sea level’ and reclaimed our place on the path. Birds sang, woodpeckers rat-a-tat-tatted, lizards skittered through the leaves. Wildflowers in reds, yellows, whites, pinks and purples provided a riot of color and candy for the eye. The air was fresh and clean with a scent of pine and wood smoke and occasionally a whiff of cow manure.

We were quickly immersed in the forest, following a hard-trodden dirt path.

We were quickly immersed in the forest, following a hard-trodden dirt path.

We crossed a river over a rustic, but sturdy log bridge, then crossed it again a few miles further, the bridge a bit more rickety this time. By the third log bridge, the railings had fallen away into the river and the logs moved precariously as we edged our way across.

VF-Day4_log bridge.JPG

We climbed over downed trees, under downed trees and around downed trees, requiring us to remove our packs on a couple of occasions to fit under. We tripped and tumbled a few times on the rutted, rooted path. We squeezed through a narrow path between enormous, mossy green boulders that left me feeling a bit slimy. It was an interesting excursion, but quite time-consuming. We made only 2 to 2-1/2 miles/ hour. It seemed a long, hard day for only 14.75 miles made good.

A few tight places along the path

A few tight places along the path

Steep, muddy steps made for slippery going

Steep, muddy steps made for slippery going

We stopped in the small medieval town of Capranica for a coffee and a croissant and admired its grand, ornate entry arch and castle. It looked like a majestic little town even from a distance.

We stopped in the small medieval town of Capranica for a coffee and a croissant and admired its grand, ornate entry arch and castle. It looked like a majestic little town even from a distance.

We passed funerary towers dated 1AD in the middle of a hazelnut grove. 1 AD! A tower that’s stood in the same place for over 2000 years.

We passed funerary towers dated 1AD in the middle of a hazelnut grove. 1 AD! A tower that’s stood in the same place for over 2000 years.

We met 9 pilgrims including a couple from Scotland with whom we chatted and Casper, who was friendly, but not ghostly and from Sweden.

Always on the look-out for the VF trail markers

Always on the look-out for the VF trail markers

In addition to the VF markers for which we search constantly, David has been using the VF app on the phone which has been stellar … until today. Because we’re going ‘backwards’ on the path, we sometime miss the markers, but the app keeps track of our position and shows our exact location on the trail … or not. This time we tromped through tall grass and over fences in a hazelnut grove knowing this could not possibly be right although the app showed us right on. We finally intersected with the main path and carried on.

Our accommodation for the evening was Casa Augusto, a comfortable-enough, but cold, small apartment on the main road just off the VF and adjacent to a pizzeria. We passed on the pizza/pasta option and found a Co-op Supermercato nearby and indulged in a rotisserie chicken, salad and wine. Just like home!

Day 4 – 15.57 miles walked /36,216 steps

Leg distance:14.75 mtg - 1215 miles to Canterbury