Sunday, June 24, 2012

Acquapendente to Sutri

The Lavender Bicycle - Highlight of Acquapendente

What a weird day it has been! None of us got much sleep at the Albergue in Acquapendente last night - it was extremely hot and noisy - but we were on the way by 0515 anyway, leaving the 5 other people (cyclists) who had arrived later, to enjoy a couple of hours more sleep. We had actually been on our way to a different Albergue when we were intercepted by a man in a small gray car (never trust men in small gray cars) who told us he had a new Albergue that was clean, quiet and cool. We took the bait and went there - it was quite a walk - but it turned out to be nine of those things. Still, none of us cared to leave, so we stayed on.

The Hospitalero (yes, the one in the gray car) had given us a map with a 'short-cut' to San Martino, but it was poorly done and we wasted a lot of time standing around discussing the possibilities and asking locals who were out early, for directions. In the end we found it, but it made us all a bit cranky for an hour or so. The trail continued through a very lovely forest park for several kilometres, which was perfect for the solitary moods we were in. Just before the exit we met for a foot break and a snack. Still trying to honour my feet, I had thought I might stay in the next town, but I never actually found it, taking the wrong exit from the park. I ended up walking secondary roads and stopping people occasionally for directions when I needed them. In the end I landed in Sutri, which was about 7 km further than where I had thought I might stay and the others arrived after me.

Joel in the Forest

Sutri is an attractive town with a pretty piazza and lots of Roman ruins, including an amphitheater and necropolis. We checked in at the Convento run by the Carmelite nuns. It was a beautiful cool building of some age, but the pelligrini accommodation was next door as the Carmelites are a silent order and don't actually interact with others. The room for 4 was on the main street side and my initial thought was that it would be noisy and hot. I soon realised that it was smelling badly of dampness but the last straw was the bed, which had a serious list (nautical term for slope) and wanted to chuck me onto the floor when I lay down on it. I apologized to my group, went to the tourist information and after a little haggling with the signora, checked into a Bed and Breakfast on the piazza. I hoped that no one would take offense and that I would have a reasonable sleep.

I am due for a decent sleep; it has been a few days now.

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