Day 77 San Miniato to Gambassi Terme – 16th August

I slept well and rose early and was the first in the kitchen of the Ostello. There was a stovetop espresso coffee pot, a type I had not used before and I was struggling with its use when Barbara arrived and took over and showed me how it worked. I had agreed the evening before to walk with Barbara, Laura, and Michela today. The sun was rising above the distant horizon as I waited outside the Ostello for my walking companions to arrive, and just after 6.30 am we started our day’s journey to our intended destination of Gambassi Terme. After about an hour’s walk along peaceful country lanes, the trail leaves the road. Barbara was still struggling with the large rucksack and we took a short break before continuing to follow the track which runs along a ridge above the Val d’Elsa with spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside. Time seemed to pass quickly as we chatted whilst walking as we passed avenues of poplars and olive groves to reach Coiano and its Church dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Archbishop Sigerico mentions this church in his itinerary on his return from Rome. This was my first viewing of the wide Tuscan landscape and the beauty will always be remembered. Around midday, we stopped in the shade of a disused barn to shelter from the heat of the day and to enjoy a packed lunch. The constant up and downs of the path begin to take their toll with my walking partners and I leave them behind before waiting beneath the shade of a rare cluster of trees for them to catch up. It had been a hot tiring day and about 3 kilometres from Gambassi Terme we find our first café/bar of the day, Tra I Fornelli, where we were able to enjoy a very welcome glass of cold beer and recover before the final climb into the town. Barbara is unable to walk any further and arranged for a taxi to take her the remainder of the way. After the beer, I walked to the centre of Gambassi Terme before returning to the Ostello Sigerico which is located in the grounds of Pieve di Chianni where I am welcomed by the host. In the evening I shared a pilgrim’s dinner with twenty other pilgrim’s including Laura and Michela.

Early morning on leaving San Miniato

Near Castelfiorentino

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