Days 10 – Abbadia San Salvatore to Gallina then on to Siena

Plan B is in full force now and Abbadia San Salvatore has been our base camp for the last few days. We are now in Tuscany, an absolutely beautiful part of Italy known for its wonderful food and wine (as if the rest of Italy is NOT known for its wonderful food and wine!). On Sundays, we found out to our dismay, there are no buses in or out of town, so we stayed put, wandered around, wrote, read, made plans … in other words, we were lazy and enjoyed every minute of it.

Along with no buses, most everything else was closed on Sunday, too. My word of the day ‘chiuso’ … closed!

Along with no buses, most everything else was closed on Sunday, too. My word of the day ‘chiuso’ … closed!

Day 10 – Abbadia SS to Gallina

Rain was in the forecast and it was raining when we left Abbadia for Gallina. It was raw and cold enough to see our breath. The sky was dark and gloomy. We spent a good deal of time on the highway at first, then entered the forest and made a steep, rocky descent down a gravelly, muddy trail. We walked through culverts under bridges and picked our way on stepping stones across little streams swollen with the rain. In our rain gear, we were warm and dry.

Under bridge, through culverts, across streams … nothing stops these pilgrims! Well, almost nothing.

Under bridge, through culverts, across streams … nothing stops these pilgrims! Well, almost nothing.

We continually saw worn, weather-beaten signs and markers for the World Francigena Ultra Marathon and wondered what it might be. Ultra + marathon was enough to dissuade us from pursuing this too seriously.

Ultra + marathon = nuh, uh!

Ultra + marathon = nuh, uh!

Somewhere along the way, we lost the trail and continued cross country through pastures and farmlands, up and down hills and over fences until we finally found the path again near Gallina.

Is that Emerald City? Where’s the path?

Is that Emerald City? Where’s the path?

We arrived at the end of our day’s walk with enough time for a late lunch at a lovely little country restaurant. We caught the last bus of the day back to Abbadia and enjoyed a ‘picnic’ in the room before packing up for an early bus departure in the morning.

Lovely late lunch at a country restaurant

Lovely late lunch at a country restaurant

Day 10 - 12.71 miles walked/ 29,548 steps

Leg distance: 11.5 miles / 1141 miles to Canterbury

A new base camp – Siena

Entering Siena’s old city through Porta Ovile

Entering Siena’s old city through Porta Ovile

Our bus ride to Siena was a 2-hour tour of the countryside through every little town and village along the route. In fact, we knew we’d be walking through some of these little towns in the days to come. We could see the Via Francigena signs and markers placed strategically on many posts and poles.

With packs on our backs. we entered Siena’s old city through Porta Ovile and made our way up extremely steep streets then down to our hotel, the Alma Domus. Carrying my pack for just the short distance from the bus stop to the hotel proved a challenge, convincing us that Plan B should stay in place for a while longer.

Up steep hills and streets and then down to Alma Domus.

Up steep hills and streets and then down to Alma Domus.

The arduous walk up the hill to the hotel was worth the climb. ‘The building, which is now Hotel Alma Domus, began its life as the drying room of a medieval wool works (hedificum tiratorium), probably dating back to the first half of the 1300s.’

The Alma Domus is part of the ancient compound containing the Sanctuary of Saint Catherine.

The Alma Domus is part of the ancient compound containing the Sanctuary of Saint Catherine.

The Alma Domus was absolutely lovely … especially the view from our window with the shutters thrown wide open. I took so many pictures of the Duomo (cathedral), that I was feeling obsessed after awhile. Every time the light changed, the view seemed utterly different and required yet another pic.

The view from our window at Alma Domus

The view from our window at Alma Domus

At sunset, it was as if the Duomo was on fire.

At sunset, it was as if the Duomo was on fire.

Siena proved to be our favorite city thus far. Join us next time for a tour of the city and of course, more walking. We’re really enjoying Italy … hope you are, too.