Thursday, October 17, 2013

Walking with Angels. Sarzana to Massa

It has been quite a day. It is 5pm and we are sitting on our sun deck overlooking the hillside in the city of Massa. We are not Catholics but we have found out when we are walking if you need something, get in contact with the priest. He can make things happen and today was no different. We started this morning at 7:45am. Signora wanted to have breakfast for us at 8 but we said 7 so we sawed off at 7:30. She had a really great breakfast for us and we even made a couple of sandwiches from the fromage and ham. She came to the door when we were leaving so I took her picture. I think she wanted to come with us. It was a beautiful sunny day and on level ground, so to us it was a bit of a cake walk except it was close to 30 kilometres. About 1 pm the trail started up a mountain side until it ran out of VF indicators. Not knowing where the trail was we started down the other side and it was steep and slippery through the trees. At this point I didn't mention anything about, not seeing this on a cruise. We eventually made it down to a fairly busy road. Down the road we went and as usual any business we came to was closed. Finally we came to a restaurante and the kitchen help came out and spoke English and explained we were indeed on the road to Massa. We have a best time for walking which is about six hours. If we go for seven hours it is too long. If we go for eight hours we know we are in trouble especially if we don't know exactly where we are going or staying for the night. As we progressed down the busy road we found a pizza joint that was open. In we go with a description of where our accomodation is for the night. Eventually a couple of customers came to our aid. One lady drew a map of where to go. We had to go past two bridges and take the third walking bridge. After an hour or so we found our way to the church and the Parrochial address. Now the fun begins. We start asking people where the priest is. They of course say he is in the church, no. Then we ask where the priest sleeps, dormir. Finally a couple of ladies phone for us and then walk us down the road and ring the bell and tell them we are pilgrims and need a bed. Up we go into the priests office. Oh no, out comes the French since we are Canadians. I truly do wish I had been paying more attention in French class after four years in 1958. He makes phone calls and we wait outside the church for the lady coming with keys. She too wonders why we can't speak French but we follow her to a school yard where she shows us where to open the gate. Then behind the back of the school and up the stairs to what might best be described as an abandoned apartment with kitchen etc.. Oh no, C worst fears, no sheets or blankets. After much hand waving Signora indicates we should wait. Twenty minutes later she appears with sheets and digs out blankets from the back room. Voila, we have a bed after pushing two singles together and putting the double sheets on them. I went downstairs to see what was there and I opened a door and saw it was into the school below. As I entered the room there was a cleaning lady there and she just about jumped out of her skin, which in turn scared me as well. I brought her up so she could see what we were about and she went back to her cleaning. We have found if they are trying to tell you something and you have no idea what they are saying, just keep smiling and stand there. Pretty soon they will say, alora, and solve the situation no matter what it is. When we leave in the morning we have no idea what is in store for us and today was no exception. It seems every evening I say to C, it turned out well again today. If it was raining and cold it would be tough, but it is a beautiful warm evening and we are in Tuscany getting ready to go out for dinner. Yes, we can see the Mediterranean from here, perhaps a kilometre or two. 

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