Monday, September 30, 2013
We had a short day today so we were in no hurry to leave Robbio. We had numerous interruptions in our sleep due to the Big Ben clock tower outside our window. It not only strikes on each hour, but it also re-strikes again after three minutes past the hour. I had put in my ear plugs, but Charlotte tougher it out. It was overcast and threatening rain so we dressed accordingly. We hit the bake shop for our usual pizza lunch and then the supermercato for our litre of orange juice, yogurt and cheese for breakfast. We were both slower along the trail today. Charlotte is nursing a blister on her small toe, in exactly the same place she had one last year. My leg is back bothering me again so we are definitely slower and we do take more breaks than before. We are still in rice country along with a lot of field corn. Our walk took us through a couple of villages and meandered through the fields. We are getting used to the Italian dogs that are left in the compounds of the houses, no doubt to discourage any thieves. Quite often there are German shepherds or Rottweilers. We rolled in Montara around 1pm today. We get a lot of looks from the locals. We are starting to look the part if the pilgrim. In the bakery this morning I was counting out the change and when I didn't have enough, I took out a five Euro note and the lady waved it off and took what coin I had put out. We kept asking in Montara where the Abbazia Saint Albino was and people just kept pointing, indicating that we should just keep walking in the direction we were going. Finally we came to a man in his yard and before we could say anything, he asked if we were going to the Abbazia. When we arrived outside the building we rang the buzzer and were shown in to a large reception area adjacent to the sanctuary. She showed us where the facilities and made up two folding beds for us. She also got the wifi working, which was nice. Later we called her into the room to make a reservation for us and out came the Italian translator on the iPad. Many laughs later we had a reservation in Garlasco at Saint Rocco. No idea what to expect, but that is the way we have been walking lately. We are having an evening meal provided in our room tonight as well as breakfast. It is really appreciated since we are so far out of town. We just had another pilgrim join us in the room. He is German and had been herding cows in the Alps and decided to walk to Rome. I had to do so Itslian translating for him. Madame provided a really nice three course meal for us last night, pasta, chicken, salad and fruit along with wine. It has been a fun stay here and now we leave for Galasco and Pavia. Hopefully our legs will go better today after the good rest. After a good rest Franco, the lady running the place, brought us breakfast at 7am. After some pictures, hugs and laughs we left but not before wishing Martin good luck on his way to Rome. He was going to be walking over 40kms to Pavia today.
On our way downtown to find food last night,we asked a couple of young women who were having their car washed, where we could find a restaurant open. They spoke some English and told us where to find some restaurants. Later we were standing on a corner wondering which way to go, when they pull up in their
car and tell us to get in, they will take us there. They let us off in the very busy, think Saturday night, sea of people. We walked up and down the streets looking for a restaurant, but to no avail. None were open until 7pm and it was only 5pm. We had walked all those hours with very little lunch so we were starving. We found a bakery and loaded up with stuff, found a bench and commenced to polish it off.
We were back in our room by six pm and went to bed about 7. At 8pm there was a knock on the door and Angel's assistant wanted the compound key back. This morning at 7:30am we showed up at the dining hall. This was one of those times when it would have been better if we had skipped breakfast.
Angela was running around, one hand holding up her shorts, the other indicating where we should sit.
We knew when she brought out the stale cookies and buns, this was not going to be pretty. We just couldn't get the black looking coffee ? down. Fortunately someone else showed up and we took the opportunity to excuse ourselves. We had both slept very well with just a fitted sheet on the bed and a wool blanket over us. Down the road, back into town to pick up the trail to Robbio, about 20 kms away in the rice fields. Overcast day with a rain shower in the night but easy walking on trails and paths. We arrived in Robbio the back way, through their industrial area. We got lost in the last few kilometres and ended up having to cross an irrigation canal on a narrow concrete divider about a foot wide and 20 feet long. As we came into town we walked right by a restaurant. We now know not to pass up a chance to eat, especially at a restaurant. Two medio beers with pasta later, we are standing in the centre of town when a woman speaking Italian approached us. She seemed interested in us and called her 30 something son over to translate. The son ended up phoning the church we were going to stay at and before we knew it the priest drove over with the keys to a room in the municipal compound and building. Clean sheets and a room to ourselves. We have been on a real pilgrim type of accomodation route lately. Charlotte cornered a young woman in a bar this afternoon and she phoned for our accomodations for tomorrow night in Mortara. We have no idea what to expect. Our room is right under the clock tower and it rings the hours plus even the half hours. Went back to the same restaurant as earlier in the day. We had Risotto for two with champignons plus a salad each. It was wonderful. Light rain tonight.
Where does one start when you try to recall a long day that ends up in could what be described as an an abandoned convent at the end of a runway in the city of Vercelli. We just completed our interrogation by the head Nun, Angela. We buzzed to get into the building and she took us up to her office. Since we were Canadians she reverted to speaking French instead of Italian. After the passport recording and credential stamping we were shown to our humble abode, see picture. This is not the kind of place where the maid might have missed a spot or two. The walls are in disrepair and there is no end of clutter. Before Angela left us, she said if we need anything just shout, ANGELA.
We started the day at 6:30am after quietly leaving our room mate sleeping in the dorm. We drank a litre of orange juice and ate our yogurt before setting off at 7am for a 28 km walk through rice fields to Vercelli. Since it is literally down hill, albeit gradually, all the way to Verccelli, all the canals etc all flowed the same way we were going. They are just starting to combine the rice. With the guide book in one hand it was not too difficult to find our way. We maintained our. 5km an hour pace with stops when the legs needed a break. We followed the VF signs right into Verccelli and arrived at 2pm. We were going right by a bar so we sat down and ordered our usual two beers. When I showed the address of the Convent we were going to, there was much discussion, all in Italian of course. Finally the bartender drew a few lines with no street names on a piece of paper, and off we went. Twisting and turning, this way and that, asking anyone we happened to meet. Finally we are walking along the road and a woman in a car yells at us and points down the road. A block later, there is the convent. Angela made no bones about the 10E each and said no smoking or eating in the room. Petit de Jeune is at 7:30am in the morning and there is no evening meal. She did say there is pizza down the street and gave us a key to get back in if we are after 9pm. The Ritz it is not.
When we stop at any store or bake shop to buy something they seem to almost insist on you taking the cash register receipt tape. Today in a small town, someone actually came running after us to give us the receipt. One of our favorite bake shop take alongside for lunch is what we call, sheet pizza.
You just tell them how big a piece and they put two pieces together and wrap it up. It is moist and really quite tasty sitting on a stump in the middle of nowhere. We sort of picnic every day. We do miss the internet staying at the parrochials but experiencing the unknown is part of the journey as well. David Peterson said he always wanted to make this pilgrimage and I know he would really like it.
Tonight on our way out to eat, a big rat ran across the dirt path in front of us. It seemed fitting, given the state of repair of the buildings. One can only assume what is was like with all the nuns and would be nuns, running around.
After 10 hours of sleep in the best bed yet and by far the most expensive, we were ready to hit the road. She had put out by far the most elaborate breakfast yet. Brown bread toasted, fruit and yogurt and granola. Boiled eggs and ham, there was no end of it. She even said,take some with you if you like. We completely forgot about the price after having her breakfast. She mentioned how hard things are in Italy with all the beaucracy etc. in every place we stay they have to see our passports and record the numbers as well as have us sign. Apparently this is because of the mafia. She mentioned that Olivetti used to be in the town but it is shut down now and most people who live there work somewhere else. There were a few hills starting out but after a few hours we noticed the land was getting very flat. Up until then we had seen mostly grape crops but now we are seeing lentils, corn, kiwi fruit and yes rice. When we walked in the mountains there was always the found of rushing water. Now when we walk there is always the sound of rushing irrigation water. We knew the rice fields would be coming but were a little surprised to se them so soon. We walked six hours to Santhia, our destination.
The lady has made our reservations from Borgofranco and after the last one, we were a little gun shy of what to expect. We were told to find a certain restaurant beside the church and get the key. We finally found the restaurant and a young woman walked us across the piazza to a building and showed us into several rooms. It is very clean with three double bunk beds, shower and toilet. There are blankets and sheets with a recommended minimum rate of 10 E each and there is no one else here, yet. There was a ticket on the counter for a pilgrim meal of 10E at a restaurant close by. We were looking at the paper outside when a man came by on a bicycle and recognized us as pilgrims and volunteered to show us the way. In the restaurant the waiter showed us the menu and said first you pick the pasta, then the meat, then the salad, then the water, then the wine. By this time Charlotte is getting nervous about the price. We ate and drank until we could eat no more. Then the waiter asked if we wanted coffee. We then headed for the cash register downstairs. As is normal here, they punch it into the cash register and hand you the tape showing how much you owe. It was 10E each. After two hours walking today we had to do a little doctoring on my big toe. A blister needed piercing and then it was back to walking. In the middle of nowhere we came upon an old man walking. We stopped and addressed him and told him what we are doing. He told us he was captured in Africa in the second world war by the British and spent three years in Scotland. We slept in the room and then went looking for a bank machine. Italy is the only place I know where the bank machines have siestas as well. When we got back to the room, we have company. We have a fellow walking to Rome from somewhere in France.
We had someone on the street phone the convent in Vercelli to make arrangements for us to sleep there. It will be a long way on my legs tomorrow. We asked the woman in the bar to phone for a rservation for Sunday night in Robbio at another Parrochial, so we have a reservation there as well.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
The day started a little earlier than normal. I awakened to see on my watch that is was 6:30am. I immediately awakened Charlotte who informed me that it is only 4am. Oops, I didn't set my alarm on the watch correctly. Not a good start on a walking day. Today we followed the ministry signs and took two hours to walk to Ivrea. After making it to the main square we sat down at a table and chairs. Pretty soon a man comes along and I thought for sure he us going to tell us that we cant sit there. But lo and behold he informs us that he is with the local Via Francigena promotion committee and tells us how to get to their office. To shorten the story, we spent an hour that we didn't want to spend, instead of walking towards our destination. I am sure they were justifying there job by actually corralling a real live pilgrim. The haze started to lift and the sun beat down on us pretty good. We had purchased some bake shop goods passing through the city. We found a couple of large rocks to sit on and took a break from walking and ate our, what could best be described as sheet pizza. Washed down by our lunch water in our small bottles. We passed a couple of castles today. I really would have liked to tour the castle at Bard with the funicular going up but we would have had to stay another day in Hone. The going was flat today between the hills. We were looking for someone to ask a few things of, but couldn't find one. Charlotte says the best way to ensure someone will come along is to take your pants down and sure enough someone will appear. Had to take more breaks sitting on the occasional right height wall. The LCL is acting up if we try making time. We arrived at Piverone our destination somewhere around 2pm. The lady at the last stay had phoned for us and told us that people had said it was good. We finally found the house of the lady with the key and she took us to what could best be described as an abandoned municipal building. Up we went four floors to a large dorm type room with four double bunk beds. She left us there and took our credentials and forty Euros and indicated we should come in the evening to pick them up. We sat on the beds looking at the unclean floors and sinks and I knew we weren't staying there. Back we went to the woman's house and knocked on her door.. She spoke no English and we weren't getting anywhere, when a man appeared talking on his phone. We corralled him and he told the woman we weren't going to stay in that place and to give us our money and credentials as we are leaving town. She gave them back and we had him call a place to stay but it was full. Then I looked on our listing and their was a b & b listed with an address in town. We went up to it and knocked and the man let us in and said welcome. He showed us to a really nice room with ensuite and asked if we wanted beer to drink. Hello. When the woman came we said the room would be fine. Oh and by the way I said, how much is it, 80E she replied. Wow we were both shocked but we needed a place and tonight was a treat with bathrobes and recessed lighting with what the Italians call, a matrimonial bed. Ie; not two singles. The restaurant was closed due to the owner being on holidays, so down to the local tiny store for panis and ham, cheese, and a litre of orange juice. Saved a few E on the supper. For the difference I couldn't see us up in that dungeon with the throw away paper sleeping sheet.
Started running into Angels around noon today. Two young Italian girls out walking the VF for a couple of days. Us not knowing any Italian, we had a nice conversation in English with one or the other filling in the words. If all else fails, if I use some Spanish they seem to understand. When we showed them the B & B in the book that we were going to, they said that's where they stayed last night. When I asked about the price, they said 25E each or for pilgrims with credential 20E. About 1:30pm after six hours the legs are starting to play out. We have climbed quite a bit earlier in the day. We came across a jogger who directed us down the road to the town. Not knowing where the house is in town, I saw a lady doing her re-cycling and she pointed down the road. We started walking and then we see she is parked up ahead with lights flashing. As we got closer we realized she is in front of our B & B. No end of Angels. When we arrived, Madame said no one phoned here last night to reserve. Oh no, this didn't sound too good. But pretty soon she said, no problem. She just needed 10 minutes to clean the bathroom. This is the Verde Musica in Borgofranco. The room is on the ground floor with VF information and maps on the wall, so we knew she is pilgrim friendly. Madame has a complete listing of accomodations all the way to Rome. When we started out this morning at 7:30am we were following the guide book of Pauls and that lasted all of 10 minutes. Soon we realized we must have missed a turn and now we are following the ministry signs. Keep saying, all roads lead to Rome.There were a few bad words said, out loud. The other one is quiet until things look a little clearer. To begin with, there was quite a bit of up and downs but the signage was fantastic. We carried the book, but really the signs at times were more than numerous. We are gradually running out of real high mountains on our way to the low lands. We are sitting outside figuring we have 50 days of walking time left. If we walk 18 kms a day we will use up all our days. If we walk 25 or more kilometres a day we will have 12 days of walking, extra. Think Florence and Venice or Cinque Terre. Since we are going out of the mountainous region 25 kilometres should be fine. I say that, but if we lose our way and have to back track, things will change fast. Madame has phoned ahead for us to Santhia and is trying to contact the one in Piverone for tomorrow night. She also is copying her AIVF accomodation list for us as well as another complete listing to Rome. It is nice to have as much choice of accomodation as possible. She also said that most Italians can understand an email sent in English requesting accomodations. Waiting around until the restaurants open at 7pm, is something we have trouble adjusting to since our lunch was just apples and cheese. Madame gave us a map to find the restaurant. Of course there was pasta and Thry specialize in fish. Mine came on a plate covered with tinfoil and there were mussels, clams shrimp etc and was it ever good. Charlotte had a salmon penne and thoroughly enjoyed it. There has to be some benefits to walking. WiFi not working tonight.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Well, where do I start. When you walk like we do, you have to have the belief that all will turn out well.
We have just completed the most elaborate lunch you can imagine. The hotel we are staying in told us they are closed in the evening. I saw a few ladies eating in the dining room and asked if we could eat right now, it was 2pm. Yes,she said, but it is a cold meal. We said that would be fine. Madame commenced to fill up our plates from the various dishes on the table. We asked for our two standard beers and she sat us down outside on the patio. On our plate we had a fish roll, potatoe with a sauce, boiled egg in a sauce, pimento, sausage, fig, peach, cheese and buns. I had asked to see the room when we first arrived. I asked how much a room would be and she said 55E with breakfast. It is a very large room with ensuite and a king bed and absolutely spotless. I am getting a little ahead of myself. We went down for breakfast in our hotel in Montjovet at 7am. We were the only ones in the dining room, for that matter in the hotel. We sat down and the barmaid set place settings and brought us toast and jam and coffee au lait. I didn't really know whether the breakfast was included in the price but she didn't go to the cash register and give me the amount on paper. I shook her hand and thanked her, to which she was quite surprised. We started immediately from where we left off the day before, following the ministry route.Up and up we climbed, through the small paths winding up the mountain. We are following the yellows signs of the number 103. Eventually we came to a small hamlet with a sign indicating down, so into the hamlet we went. Then no more indications iof what direction to go. So up the mountain we go, hoping to find some indication farther on as is the case sometimes. We came upon a group of houses and all the Italian dogs alerted a lady and we asked her about the VF and which way we should go. Into the house she went and out she came with pen and paper( see photo).
After ten minutes and armed with a sure bet treasure map, off we went further up the mountain. Eventually we are down to a goat path and realize she is sending us completely over the top of the mountain and down the other side. We are talking about a real mountain here. I have always said, it is a smart person who knows when to cut their losses and change course. Back down the mountain we went, quietly past Madam's house all the way back to where we started in Montjovet. Not knowing quite what we should do, we pulled out Paul Chinns book. This is our default move, but in desperate times, we have to pull out all the straws. So I put away my remaining pole and with guide book in hand commenced to follow the right left moves that isn't my favourite way to get somewhere. But yes, it did get us to the town of Hone and the hotel Bordett. It took us off the mountain trails which I like, but there is something about getting to your destination the easy way. After checking the guide book we realize that they gave us a reduced rate for the room tonight. We have 50E including breakfast, that we use as a bench mark. We passed a number of small vineyards but eventually we came to a large commercial like operation near our destination and we couldn't curtail the urge for a small sampling.
Monday, September 23, 2013
KWhat a wonderful rest after another exhausting day. No one mentioned to us that walking to Rome is just about always up, sometimes down and then a lot more up. Madame had breakfast ready for us at 7am. This was probably the best Chambre de hote we have stayed in, and that is saying a lot. There was just one thing wrong. It was perhaps the worst breakfast we have had. No bread, just little pre-pkg
Toasts and sweets. There was coffee, but not much. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but when you are doing the miles we are, we need as many calories as we can get. We still have approximately 40 days to walk and both of us are already having trouble keeping our pants up. We have no reverted to using the Italian government signage for the VF. Paul Chinns book is just to hard to follow unless you hold it in front of you while you are walking. The VF route I downloaded onto Pocket Earth, while it worked fine for Switzerland, takes you onto too many busy roads. So that leaves our friends, the little yellow signs on posts, or sometimes little yellow arrows, or sometimes the letters VF in yellow on a rock. My confidence in the yellow signs on posts wavered a little when I went up to one to see what they were made of, and I found I could easily turn it to point in any direction I wanted. Oh well, we did reach our destination okay today. There were a few times we had to try different paths to find the right one and coming through the city of Chatillon was a little challenging. Our route here was high up on the
mountains and we only dropped down to enter Montjovet. Our little hotel is actually quite nice, old, but quite nice. It does have a shower in the room and a real nice little balcony with warm sunshine coming in. Now that we are in the valley floor, it has heated up considerably. We needed our wide brim hats to keep the sun off. I think the rooms are an after thought for revenue, with the bar and restaurant bring the bread winners. It was interesting reading about the history of this valley and the stone forts built on the most strategic places to guard against invasion as well as to keep track of who is coming and going, probably to charge them for passage. There are remanents of a Roman bridge built in 20bc that just collapsed in the last century. Lunch was not much today. We didn't take time going through Chatillon to get something from a store, one of us is too focused on getting to the destination. We did pass what looked like an abandoned apple tree. One of us used our walking pole to swipe at an apple or two. When two fell down and were picked up, lunch was served shortly after. It was only a matter of time, but we are both on the pill, either Advil or Tylenol 3, depending on how long we walk in the day. We know now, if we think it will take us five hours, we have to allow for six since we always run into right path issues. We also know, our best before time is six hours. Anything after that, we have our heads down, like we are facing a blizzard. No blisters, no sore feet. Ciao seems to be the word to use in Italy. We went to the grocery and picked up a litre of orange juice for an eye opener and chocolate for lunch.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
We were up at 6am in our little apartment behind the church, Parrichial Saint Martin in Aosta. After a rather difficult and long day yesterday we were tired. Being in Italy changes pretty much everything when it comes to walking. We were very spoiled with the Swiss signs etc. and gave to get used to theItalian ones. My maps downloaded onto Pocket Earth of the VF are pretty well useless. They take you onto busy roads so we will either have to follow Paul Chinns book, which has a tendency to drive me nuts, or follow the Itslian VF signs which are yellow with a pilgrim figure on them. We left early today from Aosta knowing that we have about 8 hours walking in very up and down circumstances and to add to that we really don't know what paths we are following. We added extra water since we have been having very sunny weather along with a few made up sandwiches for lunch. Being Sunday you never know if you will find food along the way. We eventually arrived at our accomodation for tonight. It is a complete apartment with sitting room, bedroom and kitchen. It is very large and spotless. The lady is very pilgrim friendly since she herself has walked the VF in stages to Rome. Madame speaks French as well, so there I was trying to muddle through it. We were later rescued when her daughter showed up with her English language skills. We showered and slept for a couple of hours and went a hundred meters down the road for a nice pasta dinner. When we returned they made a reservation for us at Montjovet about 5 or so hours down the valley. The rate is 50E with breakfast. So we are happy with that. If we can get our host to make the reservation it works very well since they can explain that we are pilgrims walking to Rome and quite often the rate is better. We will have to stock up on more chocolate bars since our Costco Builder Bars have run out. I asked if Madame would like to walk to Rome either us and be our interpreter, but she declined.
Again, people went way out of theWe haven't been hungry since we arrived in Saint Oyen at the Chateau Verdun at 12:45pm and been asked, do you want to eat? We have no idea if the cost of this full board, but trust that this religious facility will hopefully be kind to pilgrims on their way to St.Peters square. On the counter in the reception area is a brass plaque of a Via Francigena pilgrim. In the first village when we entered Italy we encountered an elderly man who addressed us first in Italian and then in French and then in questioning English. When we replied in English he smiled and asked where we were going. When we replied we were pilgrims on our way to Rome for the next six weeks he clapped his hands in amazement. I said to him that I had heard Italians are very friendly and would welcome us with offerings of bread and wine. He laughed and said, do you want me to go get you some wine? We left with both he and us laughing. We left our room for the reception area around 7:15pm and found around a dozen people gathered waiting for dinner to start at 7:30. When the time came, we all filed into the dining room and the (priest?) indicated to us which table we were to sit at. We all stood behind our allotted chairs and then sat down in unison. We were seated with four other people, one man and three women. They were on their way to a religious retreat for the weekend.and all had French as their mother tongue but after a few minutes we wee conversing in English. They ordered a bottle of wine and soon we were enjoying course after course of salad, fish, and vegetables to no end. Being a pilgrim and walking in particular, opens up the opportunity to many subjects of conversation. Earlier in the day as we were coming off a mountain trail that eventually was no more than a goat trail, we arrived above a road construction site and our trail just disappeared. Down the clay bank I slid, on my rear end and over some heavy steel girders and into the road. I knew my partner would have unkind words about this part later in the day.i have been told not to say agin, all roads lead to Rome. It is no wonder people don't get up early in the morning in Europe, they don't have the heat on so they stay in bed as long as they can before they just have to get up.
Today is Aosta, about 18 or so kilometres away and down the mountain. Charlotte has some trepidation about what we are going to find for accommodation. After the room in Lausanne which was in the church basement and could best be described as a half storage/bedroom she has less faith than I do in what lies ahead. I find it best to wonder what we will have for breakfast, which is much more immediate. We eventually found the church and the secretary stamped our passports and showed us to our little suite above where she lives in the back of the church. It is all quite new and tidy. She speaks French and I struggled to get all the words. Went out tonight and had a beer and spaghetti.
Later we knocked on her door and asked her to make a reservation for tomorrow. After much ado, the local scout leader was brought up and translated for us from English into Italian. The short answer is we have a room and breakfast in Chambave abut 22kms away, at a pilgrim rate of 23Euros each. Now to see about those screaming calves from two days of downhill. Again, people went out of their way to help us. She was getting ready for bed but asked to be excused and went and got dressed to have us sit in her living room.
Friday, September 20, 2013
After breakfast we packed up and got a picture taken with Frederick and started down into Itsly. It was bright and sunny but any snow was crusty and there was ice on any water laying around. Right away we could tell that the signage was not as complete as the Swiss, but there were signs indicating the VF route we are following. It was only about four hours down the mountain to Saint Oyen where we are staying at the Chateau Verdun which is connected to the Hospice St. Bernard. We no sooner walked in the door here about 1:45pm and they asked us if we wanted to eat. The showed us to our room with twin beds and a sink. Very clean and it us such a large building that could hold perhaps fifty people, but we appear to be the only ones here. When we came down there was a table set for two
And pretty soon the brought out a dish of pasta like stuff and indicated it was a speciality. Well we ate that all up and thought perhaps they would bring desert, when out the came with a beef dish, then mashed potatoes, then cold potatoe salad. Well we ate and ate and finally we couldn't eat anymore. We sat back and then out came a bowl of fruit. Well we ate again. Then before we could get up, out came the coffee in little cups. Well, we drank that. Then, out came a large green bottle that they indicated should be poured into the coffee. The six or so people there watched me do that. Then, they watched me drink. Well, it was a very strong liquor of some sort and they all laughed when I chocked on it.
We are relaxing in the reception area with the guy in charge, the priest. He is reading the newspaper and doesn't know any English and we exactly three words of Italian.
The pictures from yesterday are the ones for today, so I will show the ones from yesterday in today's posting.
We are in a slow march to Rome, enjoying the countryside and people.
We were told that souper is at 7:30 pm tonight but I don't know how hungry we are.