Friday 18 October 2013

Day 39 From San-Quirico-d'Orcia to Radicofani 32.9 km

Friday 18th October Day 39 From San-Quirico-d'Orcia to Radicofani 32.9 km 

Packed up and left the good pilgrim accommodation at 7am ready for a long day of walking!
It's still a little bit dark outside, but bars are already open for our Caffé and pastry breaky.
Another misty early start to the day
Makes the early starts easy to enjoy when we experience such gorgeous sunrises and scenery
I love the way the sun makes the stone houses glow

We've received some advice on how to shorten the route a little, and go via a couple of bars for food and drink, but it's still a long day ahead.

Most amazing scenery the first couple of hours this morning!
Castellos, we walk through tiny little medieval hamlets
Surreal old buildings appear through the clouds and mist
vineyards, olive groves, steep hilltop villages and towers visible in the distance in all directions
we arrive at the stunning Bagno Vignoni - ancient thermal springs, used since prior to the Romans, we can see the warm water bubbling up into the pools- it bubbles out of the ground at about 50 deg C
We stop again for more Caffé and a snack- about 9 am 
Bathing in this old original bath section is forbidden now. I can imagine the pilgrims centuries ago would have stopped here for a day of rest and bathing to de-stink.
Today though, the thermal springs and expensive spa resorts are used by rich Europeans to have health and therapeutic spa treatments. We watch a group of 20 or so doing ti chi by the springs while we have another Caffé 
On the way out of the village, there are fascinating remains of man made water channels dug by hand, watermill and thermal pools.
old hand chiseled channels in the rock direct the hot water flow
lime deposits from the mineral rich thermal waters. It seems miraculous to me that water can naturally come up out of the ground on the top of a hill and be hot!
I think I've taken about fifty photos already this morning! There are lots of nature walks outlined and marked in this area that look gorgeous. This valley is called the Val d'Orcia and is definitely a place to return to one day!  
We continue along the VF and the scenery changes once again to flatter farmland, we walk along a tarmac road for an hour or so before returning to tracks through farmland.
This old church ruin and buildings were once important pilgrim places, now just ruins and farm buildings.
We walk along remnants of old stone roads that are now mostly grassy tracks between farm fields.
We cross a couple of streams using handy stepping stones

arrive at intersection and road house , petrol station at 1:40pm for a welcome drink stop and rest. We about 8 km to go- all up, up, UPHILL! 
We can see our destination up high in the distance
Lovely rural scenery and sheep bells distract from the effort of the continuous climb upwards
through forest and meadows 
The old medieval (Roman?) road edges are often clearly visible
finally! Arriviamo at the fascinating village of Radicofani, and our pilgrim accommodation at 4:23 pm! a long day of over 8 hours walking, we had three 20 minute breaks during the day.
Just near the church
Church interior

Wandering the maze of medieval streets in Radicofani, the Castello - fort tower in the background, we thought about walking up,there, but 32 km and lots of climbing today has left us without the energy.
Lots of intriguing alleys and archways inviting us to explore and investigate....

Dinner at the grotto Osteria. I was very hungry by 7:30pm, we're the first customers as usual! I think that as we've had fairly smallish servings of pasta for prima the last couple of days, that I can fit in secondi too- well!
a huge serving of delicious pasta came out... but I did it, with a little help from Patrick to get though the secondi. (slow roast pork, yummmm
I think this is our Last day on the VF in Tuscany- Toscana.... tomorrow we walknintomthe next region of Lazio.

Our Accommodation for tonight
recommendation from Tom, Yvonne and Linna Radicofani
run by con fraternity of st James 
Address: Via the Magi, at the Church
Phone: 0578 55614 - 338 9240307
Type: Religious Structure
Agent: Don Elia and Volunteers of the Confraternity of San Jacopo di Perugia
Open all year
Price: Offer
Number of places: 16
Use of kitchen: YES.

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