September 15

One day to go. Throw up. More Etruscan ruins. Helpful TO staff in Formelo. Talk Seattle.

Pleasant start to today’s early start. Breakfast with V&G around the small dining table.  Even had a cup of tea albeit not very nice. Said goodbye to the Sardinian couple. Start long call to my son, Jack, in Seattle, which took me most of the way to Sorbo. It was great talking to him. I miss my boys.

The sanctuary of the Madonna of Sorbo is a very pleasant and tranquil place. I really liked the modest, small church, with its complex yet enduring fresco.


Bumped into V&G and we walk to Formelo together, sharing many an anecdote. For the first time today I realised that I’m well travelled.  An odd thing to realise, yet, this fact makes no direct difference to my life whatever but maybe it does to other folk?

The old town of Formelo is lovely. It has in its museum a partial reconstruction of a Roman Mansio. It’s 2 staff were great. Helpful, informative, and generous with their time. Stick that Viterbo!

We three walk out of town together and I leave them at start of a very long track. Made of compacted earth alternating with dirty white limestone. Later it would be replaced by long stretches of hard, jagged lumps of tufa or tuff. Tufa really tears at my soles, whilst it’s light like pumice, it’s very sharp. My boot soles have worn down through the Vibram layer, so cannot now be resoled. I only hope they will last another 24 hours!

Start to feel ill around 12ish ie after 5 hours walking and I still have about 4kms to go. Say hello to 2 guys who walk swiftly through.  I follow but can’t maintain their pace. The path cuts through some former Etruscan burial sites in the ancient province of Veii. Reach a former medieval watermill and decide to follow the four feet high tunnel lit by my trusty torch. Hadn’t realised that my hat and the top of my backpack are covered in cobwebs. I thought I had merely surprised the rather large family of three but on reflection I must have looked a sight emerging into the daylight like some trogdelite creature woken after millennia. To make matters worse I walk about 20mts and start to retch. I don’t vomit very much but I’m not well. The two guys who passed me earlier were picking figs and took pity on me and offered me a ride into La Storta.  It’s only 2kms but they drop me at the wrong place and I have to walk up hill through hundreds of school children.

The nun on duty here is sister Ornella. I love her: everyone says the same. I wonder whether I can adopt her as an aunt? The place is clean and tidy, and it soon fills up with pilgrims.  My dorm is full with the late arrival of Vaclav, who’s on the bunk above me.

The various groups head towards the same bar, and later on, the same restaurant. I hear that there’s an American couple from Seattle, researching the Francigena. I introduce myself and next thing they’ve joined us for dinner. Tim; Joanie (sp?) and I chat freely about Seattle, the VF and God. They very kindly pay for my meal. It was good chatting about Seattle and WA. A part of the US I’m now familiar with.  In the end, all I paid for was the Nastro Azzuro beer for us four, which doubled as an aperitif!

Saddened by news that my adopted home of London, where I’ve lived most of my life, has had another terror attack. It is self defeating in the end. It’s a great city and won’t be browbeaten by a bunch of nutters.

Feel more human again. Tired but ready to finish this thing I’ve started. Something tells me that this is only the start but of what I cannot say. For now I want to complete the VF tomorrow and then rest for a couple of days.  I really want to eat eggs, I miss them. Silly really, the small things that I’ve missed, like the Today Programme and poached eggs!

One thought on “September 15

  1. I can’t believe that you have (almost) done it. Congratulations Carlo, once again you astound me. What a thing to do, especially when most of us wouldn’t dream of walking to the local shops. Once again I will have to lose a chunk from my morning routine of reading your latest post whilst listening to the Today programme. I look forward to catching up in more detail the next time we meet. Dave.


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