Distance: 25.2 km – Elevation +530 m -260 m
Weather: Sunny. Temperature: High 33 degrees
I was up and ready to go just after 5.00 am and after a quick coffee in the kitchen of the hostel I set out for the day’s walk to San Quirico. My boots were not completely dry from the rain of yesterday but with two pairs of socks, there was no significant discomfort. The morning air was cool as I walked through the morning mist passing fields of sunflowers with the heads protruding above the low lying mist, to reach Buonconvento. It was just 6.00 am and the streets were quiet as I passed through the village. It was a varied path from village sometimes a single path through woodland and then a wider path alongside the road before I reached the familiar wide white tracks similar to yesterday. Around 8.00 am I heard the sound of footsteps behind me and soon I heard “Hello David”, it was the young Italian and English couple, I had met in the hostel in Gambassi Terme. They were faster walkers than I was and so after a brief conversation I let them go on their way. It was quite moving to see young love as they held hands and gradually disappeared into the morning mist. As the mist began to clear along the crest of the hill I passed vineyards growing on the slopes of the hills and the wide views across the Val d’Orcia below were very beautiful and inspiring. Walking through an avenue of poplars I came to the Caparzo winery and if it had been later in the day I would have taken advantage of the “pilgrim’s break” on offer but it was only 9.00 am so I pressed on. I slowed my pace as I came to the first climb of the day. The views behind were extraordinary with the crest of the hill on the other side of the Val d’Orcia lined with poplars, a typical Tuscan scene. I felt the warmth of the sun as I progressed towards Torrenieri and the vista really opened up with spectacular wide all-round views. A few kilometres before Torrenieri I met a group of walkers and walked briefly with them. They were from Rome and were making a film about the Via Francigena. I arrived in San Quirico D’Orcia after a 26 kilometre hike at just before 1.00 pm and as I sat arranging my accommodation for the night the young Italian Christians I had met in the hostel last night arrived and invited me to join them for lunch and that is where I learned their names Fabio, Anna, Ilaria, Camilla, Sandro, Mirco, and Acer. After lunch, I made my way to my Bed and Breakfast, and later I enjoyed a glass of wine with the film crew I had met earlier and then unexpectedly as I was visiting the church I met Margaret, the Dutch pilgrim who I had last seen at Orio Litta. She introduced me to her daughter Thirsa who had joined her that day to walk with her to Rome. In the evening I was invited to join my new Italian friends for dinner. Another special day.