Walking through the century old oak forest | Day 8 of Via Francigena from San Gimignano to Quartaia
It was the 8th day of Via Francigena trail when we hiked around 17 kms from the town San Gimignano to Quartaia.
We met another sunny morning in Tuscany this time at the campsite Boschetto Di Piema. We had a bit disturbing night with the dogs that were barking all night. But overall we liked the location of the campsite and the view from it right on the town San Gimignano.
Yesterday we were curious to learn more information about this old medieval town and it turned out that in this town of seven towers how they call it were filmed some movies. In one of them called “Miracles can happen only once” of 1951 was starring one of our favorite actors Jean Mare. So we went ahead and watched it as we feel it to be very special while you’re still at the place. It turned out to be a great romantic picture with some food for thought. So we added another favorite movie to our collection.
As it often happens when we are staying at the campsite we tend to leave it late in the morning and this time wasn’t an exception. We left it only at 9am partly also because we didn’t sleep very well that night. The sun was already up and another hot day was expecting us.
The first several kilometers when we left the camping were going through the vineyards and little farm houses and was climbing mostly uphill. We were afraid that we would not have any shadow to hide in all day but fortunately that wasn’t the case.
We accidentally wandered away from the Via Francigena and did extra kilometer uphill because we were distracted by filming the words. There are quite a lot of crossroads on the way so it always better to pay attention to the signs. We didn’t mind that extra 2 kms much because we got another great viewpoint of the town San Gimignano and also met wonderful colorful bird at the side of the vineyards.
During the first half of the way we met several pilgrims walking by us and one Korean guy even stopped us to ask some questions. He was really worried about where to stop that night and how much of a distance he should make. He spoke a bad English so we couldn’t understand the problem much but we got that it was about accommodation. Unfortunately, we couldn’t help him because we didn’t know much about hostels on the way. But we understood that he was saying the price for the dormitory room was 20 euros. And that was really a shock to us already thinking that campsites are charging way too much with 30 euros so now we knew that it wasn’t the limit. Then for the two beds in the dormitory room we would pay 40 euros and that’s not the prices pilgrim should accept in our opinion. That was one of the reasons why we are always carrying our tent with us apart from the fact that we like having our own little space – it was always giving us the freedom of where to stay and how many kilometers to do a day. And we simply couldn’t imagine how terrible it would be worrying about the reservations and places to stay every single night and thinking about it all day long would take all the joy out of hiking for us. So we felt grateful another time for having our tent with us.
So after some kilometers of walking in the sun the forest path started and we’ve been on it almost all day long. And it felt great and refreshing and very special too because it happens so rarely nowadays to find real authentic forest paths. On this kind of routes, it would be possible to walk even on the hottest of days and the majority of the routes should go like this. To us it always the most enjoyable of all the hike parts. The amount of the oak trees was astonishing here, by how big and high they were we could assume that they were at least 150 years old. It was a miracle that there are still places where they are conserved and we could only imagine how magical it was thousands of years ago when there has been even bigger and denser forest. That would be absolutely fantastic to go back in time and to walk in such forest.
So basically all day long the trail was going in the forest paths more or less dense and just sometimes was coming out to the fields. We started to see some sunflower fields that day apart from the olive trees and vineyards.
So we crossed only one car road and one village called Quartaia and when the time was getting closer to 15pm we felt like it was about time to start searching for the camp spot. Fortunately, we had enough food so we didn’t have to search for any supermarket and just collected some water from a drinking fountain in the village and were good to go.
We were hoping to find some secluded field along the way and it wasn’t as easy as we thought because there were many sunflower fields where it wasn’t possible to camp at all. Luckily we spotted some clearing among these fields and found an open field partly mowed with some ploughed part of the ground. It wasn’t perfect at all with the uneven terrain and the slope but at least we didn’t have to worry about anybody’s disturbing us at night because it wasn’t seen from the road apart from the tractor which we hoped wasn’t going to work here that day. So we did rest there all the left hours of daylight, had a small shower with just fresh water to rinse the sweat and cooked our dinner. So being happy that we escaped the middle day heat today and had more hours to just rest we ended this beautiful forest day.