We have had an odd couple of days, a mixture of really interesting (and strenuous) walking, tedious walking along some asphalt roads, and a day when our bodies felt so lethargic that we ended up catching the train (today)
The country has changed since I last wrote. We are heading to Tuscany, and so the candle pines are becoming more prolific. We are also floating (I wish - you know what I mean!), between about 4 - 500 metres and 9 - 1200 metres. The hills are just as steep, but far less wild. I am missing the forests, and the wild ravines, instead seeing little villages every few miles. Our greatest blessing though is that most days we have had a cool breeze.
I am going to let the photos tell the tale. Enjoy.
When we left Chiusi della Verna we had to go down to, then up, the hill that Julie is looking at. It was steep at times, but as we got higher it became easier climbing.
The track was pretty rough and so we had to watch where we put our feet!
The path headed further into the gorge, before going up.
Up until now we have been following green arrows, along with the red and white grande randonee signs, but from now on we also see the Tau. This is the symbol of the Franciscans, and though our path follows this way at times, we have to keep our wits about us in case it differs from our path.
Here are the three signs all together!
Looking across the valley to the village of Chiusi Della Verna. The mountain is Mount Verna, and if you look carefully you will see the sanctuary of la Verna just below the top of the mountain, on the left. On the right you can see the very distinctive shape the mountain takes on.
On this day we were headed to this hermitage of St Francis. La Verna had a special place in his heart and it is recorded that at this hermitage, after he had left la Verna, and on his way back to Assisi, he spoke a passionate farewell to his beloved mountain.
This cross is at the hermitage. You can see the distinctive shape of La Verna through the gap in the trees on the left.
Our destination on this day was the village of Caprese Michelangelo, so named because it was the birthplace of the great man. He lived in this house, where he was born, in the grounds of the castle that towers over the village.
The church where Michelangelo was baptised.
Another cross as we left Caprese.
We all had a dinner at the Buka Michelangelo. Our accommodation - dinner, bed and breakfast that night cost €25 each. The two women at the front of the picture are two new pilgrims who joined us for the first time this evening.
Leaving Caprese we saw this unusual flock of sheep. We think this was the colour of their wool, not dirt!
Somehow we missed a turn leaving Caprese. We just followed the road down and around, where we met the two Italian girls from last night. They informed us that they had been told that there was a wild boar on the mountain we were headed to. They had been warned that it was dangerous to go that way and to instead follow the road, which we also decided to do!
We were meant to come down the hill on the left, on the other side of the lake. Soon after this we at last picked up the green arrows again.
This is a church we would not have seen had we gone the correct way!
While we were having lunch a couple of tractors passed us towing trailers of freshly harvested tobacco leaves.
The interior of the cathedral in Sansepolcro, our destination for the night. It is quite a simple, even austere building, but there are quite beautiful frescoes inside.
This was one of the frescoes in the cathedral cloisters. St Benedict is teaching the monks how to build a cathedral.
A simple but very beautiful altar piece in the cathedral.
This was a very unusual cross in a small chapel in the cathedral.
Ones of the frescoes in the cathedral.
The alabaster rose window in the cathedral. It is very lovely and quite a change from the usual stained glass rose windows. All the windows in the cathedral were alabaster.
Julie in the square, surrounded by flower pots.
Sansepolcro was full of interesting old buildings.