It was the 5th day of Via Francigena trail when we hiked around 18 kms from the town Fucecchio to the village Calenzano.
That night was really disturbing partly because we had a fear of somebody’s chasing us away partly because there were a lot of noises coming from the nearest car roads, dogs barking everywhere and even some loud music from the discos. Also we heard the shot guns of probably some hunters and it was really scary and strange that they were hunting at night. Not to say that the thought of who they were hunting for was terryfing as well because we were seeing lots of baby hares recently and it just breaks our heart thinking about it. Later in the day we saw many plastic from the patrons left on the fields and sides of the road and it made us think that hunters could be wandering everywhere. Meeting them in the middle of the night would not be a pleasant encounter it added up to our other fears.
So we had a really bad sleep and were feeling broken apart right from the start of the day. We didn’t even stayed at the place to cook the breakfast. We got out on the other small path and set up for cooking there in the shadow. The sun was shining really bright from the very early morning and we knew it’s going to be a hot day.
We had our mix of buckwheat, rice, aubergines and fresh tomatoes with salad for the breakfast and by the time we finished it – it was already around 9am. We knew that it is too late but had no other option but to get on the trail.
First, we had to get back on the official trail of the Via Francigena and for that we had to do another 3 kms. When we got there the trail continued to be quite boring going along the fast car roads (at least not on it) and it was all in the direct sunlight between the fields.
We passed through little villages and houses and saw that there is a big supermarket in front of us. As we knew that we are not going to meet any later in the day we wanted to do some of our usual shopping like fruit and veggies. And also it was a good opportunity to take a break. So we bought as always the focaccia in a style of pizza margherita and some ice cream to have a good snack. We spend around an hour sitting on the bench in the shadow and it was a nice middle day break for us.
We did quite a bit of uphill in order to get to the village San Maniato which was located right on the hill and had some old fortress and towers at the side of it. Getting there wasn’t enjoyable at all walking on the same road with the cars that didn’t seem to care about any speed rules and it was the reality of all hiking that day unfortunately. And the weird thing was that we weren’t meeting any other hikers on any trail and at any time of the day not even one day hikers or walkers, only several cyclists a day. It felt like we were being the only ones or the first people walking this route. And everybody else was just driving their cars. That was our observation but we think it was very close to the truth seeing as much traffic on every little and secondary road we walked on. That was a really sad fact to us and we still hoped that in the next days some Italians will prove us wrong. Because at that moment it seemed like nobody was caring about hiking or even walking.
So we did another 9 or 10 kms on the car roads without having many exciting views on the way. And we were feeling just an extreme heat striking our heads and sweat dropping down from everywhere. We felt like there was not enough sources of water neither for such hot conditions we were in.
Only at the end of the day the trail turned away from the car road on a dirt gravel road. Not on a forest path as we wished ideally but still promising to be much calmer. Without wandering for too long feeling very exhausted we found a place on the field on the side of the road close to the little forest. It seemed to be a place for hunting as we saw some built structures for observation on there. Also there was a closed on a chain dirt road probably used by hunters but we hoped they were not going to come that night. It was 18pm and as we already had no more powers to search any longer especially seeing the hilly terrain around we decided to stay at that place. We were feeling very sweaty and sticky so we had a bit of a shower under the sky from our water container and it was the best feeling ever. We right away felt more refreshed and were able to change our dirty T-shirts. So we took our time setting up a tent and cooking dinner and we were good to just rest there till night. We were hoping to get a better sleep that night around and with a desire to wake up earlier we went to bed at 22pm.