Tuesday 1 October 2013

Day 22 Ostello-della-Cisa to Pontremoli 24.1 km

Tuesday 1st October Day 22 Ostello-della-Cisa to Pontremoli 24.1 km

Today we enter Tuscany!
over the Cisa Pass 
As we leave the lovely Ostello Cisa, there is sun shining, but still a little low cloud. We walk up a couple of km to the top of the pass by road- as we ascend, we walk into cloud again... will we experience "A walk in the Clouds part 3?"
A couple of friendly, curious faces and ringing bells by the road
At the top of the pass - in the clouds again! Leaving Parma, and entering Lunigiana!
At the top of the pass, shrouded in clouds and fog...
I make a lovely discovery at the top of the Cisa Pass! A bar for our morning Caffé doppio and snack! 

I have a delicious torte of walnuts and orange! mmmmm Patrick has- of course chocolate torte!

We leave the cosy bar, walk down through the clouds, and regain the Via Francigena track. Lots of downhill this morning!
Beautiful shady forest paths,

Very beautiful downhill, and its lovely to see clearly again!
We walk through the small villages, the autobahn in the distance to the right.

Corn drying in the sunshine,

Small villages dot the hillsides everywhere here, when the midday church bells ring, the valley echoes with about 6 different bells around the valley... no missing the lunchtime call!
The way marking is pretty good,
rocky paths from the 16th century connecting the small villages. Some unique farm machinery!

We walk over 3 beautiful 16th century stone arch bridges spanning steep gullies and streams.
An image from a fairy tale, or "the Hobbit"
Pristine cascades flow under the old stone bridges
Past lovely old moss covered stone walls.
Another old stone arch bridge! We're walking along a section of old road linking the small mountain villages.
Walking along Roman roads again- much flatter and easier to walk on than the 16th century medieval stone cobbled roads.
Entering into the lovely village of Arzengio (great name!) We've seen lots more vineyards again today, and... olives!  not long until Pontremoli! 
I'm going to print out this photo of olives, and show all my olive trees at home! "olive trees, this is what it looks like to bear fruit! You should try it, or you'll end up as fire wood!"  Even though my Olive trees are now 10 years old... they still haven't really fruited! The trees here are laden with growing fruit.
The first bridge into Pontremoli (emphasis on the ...tremoli part of Pontremoli, means "trembling bridge") is closed for restoration work, no worries, there are several more!
Entering the old town of Pontremoli!
The Duomo Piazza
Narrow streets abound!
Apparently the river can become a raging torrent!
At the door of our accommodation at the Franciscan convent !
We have a wander around old Pontremoli before dinner, fascinating old town, with watchtowers, portals, little alleyways and narrow lanes

Patrick needs another hole in his belt buckle, his pants are falling down! So he takes advantage of the services of the local shoemaker... amazing little workshop.

Dinner tonight at Potremoli -  Bianca 

Just wonderful fresh local produce! and being mushroom - porcini season, we chose the local options! Look at this basket of freshly picked mushrooms! a huge basket of fresh forest harvested mushrooms arrived as we had our pre dinner Campari macchiato!

Antipasti - insalate of zucchini and porcini and a mixed local plate of meats, zucchini flowers ( so scrumptious! the lightest, bubbliest crispy batter I've ever experienced!) and torte verde
local red wine - Pòllera - vendemmia 2009 fattoria Ruschi Noceti , Val Di Magra (delicious)
We share a prima of fresh pasta... with fungi - yummmmm
Then, the finale- the secondi of 4 kinds of mushrooms Cooked  four different ways! All incredibly fresh and so delicious, words can't describe! Each mushroom cooked to perfection with a different texture, and flavour

Off to bed with very satisfied happy stomachs!
Pontremoli markets Wednesdays and Saturdays...

Our accommodation tonight - Franciscan convent, Capuchin through the old town, just over the railway line, nice and handy to wander back again for Passiagata and dinner this evening!
Capuchin Convent - Pontremoli
Address: Via Cappuccini, 2 - Pontremoli
Phone: 0187 830395 
Type: Hostel religious
Price: OFFER- asked for a donation of 10 Euro each 
Number of places: 30
Kitchen use: YES

other alternatives
Hostel Castle Pignaro - Pontremoli
Address: Port of Parma - Pontremoli
Phone: 0187 4601211 - 0187 831439
Type: Youth Hostel
Price: 10 €
Number of places: 60
Use of kitchen: NO

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