September 10

Storms. Near misses. Crash in temperatures. Lazio floods.

Up and about early and on the road by 6.15am as we were expecting a day of storms. Pretty cool outside but no rain yet but we only got as far as the edge of Acquependente when thunder and lightening announce the arrival of several hours of torrential rain.

The VF path is almost unwalkable. Old tyre tracks have become many metre long puddles. Large tracts are covered in silt as the soil has simply been washed across the path. It’s often deep and always slippery. Even in the downpour, the soil around here looks beautiful. The darker, chocolate coloured earth has blended with the lighter sandy soil in large swirls, reminding me of my mother’s Italian marble sponge cake.

The gaiters hold back the wet for a bit but within 30 minutes my feet are swimming inside my boots. The four of us have lost all traction and the first leg of 12kms takes over 3hours.

Soaked we seek shelter in an abandoned farm outbuilding as we enter we’re confronted by two enormous rats who begrudgingly yield the space.

Get to San Lorenzo, the half way point, around 9.30 and all the previous night’s walkers are already in the cafe trying to warm up. The five Danes are catching a bus later on apparently; similarly, the Italian couple V&G caught a cab; the Brazilian and British couples decide to stay put for the night; leaving just four of us to walk the second leg of today’s walk into Bolseno.

Warned to stay off the remaining VF track, as it’s becoming impassable, we follow the old faithful Cassia, or today as it’s known, the SS/SR 2. Sadly, today its full of maniac drivers even in this pouring rain. One driver overtakes and almost takes out the four of us; the wing mirror flicked my flapping poncho. Any closer and I would become another statistic. Visibility is poor, rain still heavy, and the risk of skidding or acquaplaning high, so why take risks like that? Laura tells us that she uses a mirror to look behind her whilst walking. The rest of us thought it be fun to stick tiny wing mirrors on one’s glasses. Joking aside there’s merit in the idea.

Rain abates to a drizzle as we enter the delightful town of Bolsena.  It’s on the lake which is called Bolseno! An unnecessary confusion. A kind woman hiding under her umbrella takes us through the maze of pedestrianised streets to the hostel. I joke she might get end up being allocated a bed, if she hangs about with us; her retort was that she might actually get some rest that way!

We are greeted by the delightful Rina, an elderly woman living next door to the hostel .  She is  kind and firm, and at the same time talkative and funny. The four of us are in an eight bunk room with plenty of space. There’s an unwell man in a small room on his own; and the taxi-riding, V&G are in a small double. Whilst I’m in the shower, the five Danes arrive and have a large room to themselves. Everyone accounted for!

We four get showered, sort wet gear, and use washing machine; and are sitting in a restaurant by 1.30. We make a plate of pasta and a glass of wine last two hours; and then its time for a nap. I doze a little but don’t sleep, yet still enjoy two hours of warmth and rest.

Go for quick tour of this old Roman town, which seems to have come into it’s own after the renaissance as a lake port and spa town. Enjoy a beer in the main square until it begins to rain again. Get very damp heading towards the restaurant. A short one course meal with wine and fizzy water, a total of  €10 each. Not bad. The restaurant specialises in ultra-thin crust pizza, which they bring to you on a tiny wooden table-like structure. Each one is loaded with sections of everyone’s chosen pizza; the remainder staying warm in the kitchen.

Another stage of around 20kms tomorrow. It’s still raining tonight. It might have to be a day of minor roads and lots of caution. A different group of four tomorrow head out tomorrow on what is sure to be a damp Monday morning in Lazio.

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