It was the 12th day of Via Francigena trail when we hiked around 13 kms from the town Buonconvento to San Quirico d’Orcia.
We spend quite a disturbing night at the field we found yesterday because of the dogs from the neighboring houses that were barking all night. And so we kept awakening from time to time. But nevertheless we really liked that place because of the roe deer that were living there. We saw several of them in the evening and then in the morning as well. There was a baby and a mother that unfortunately were really shy and on alert but we still got them on film so we were very happy about it.
So because of the bad sleep we started the day a bit late only at 9 am and after we had our breakfast we got out on the trail. That was a difficult task to do as we had to conquer the steep uphill right from the start. But it was a sacrifice of finding a nice secluded places for the night.
The sun was hitting us really strong even in the morning but at least there was a bit of fresh wind blowing which was helping quite a lot.
We saw on the map that we had to tackle a long uphill for the day and only at the end would have a bit of downhill. We planned to do around 11 kms to the village Torrenieri and we thought it would be enough counting the uphill and starting late.
We were running out of drinking water and had to go to the nearest gas station to buy at least a little bottle. And only after we realized that it was a very wise decision because all that distance to the next village there were no water fountains whatsoever. It was really bad because in such heat it was vital and at the same time would be so easy to install close to any house.
The first part we were walking alongside of the car road, fortunately not on it, and were wandering whether the actual Via Francigena was really going on that narrow little path. It seemed like it was passing right where the car road is going and now we just have to use the alternative path. That was a reality of many parts of the Via and Camino also.
There was little to no shadow at all during the whole day and the heat was absolutely killing us. That was the most challenging part. The trail itself wasn’t that difficult the same as in all the other days, just the weather conditions were hard to handle and the heat strike was more than real. That is the reality of summer in Italy we think.
That day we met a few pilgrims with whom we were meeting over and over again on the way. And we were always asking ourselves about the backpacks they were carrying and what they were carrying in it. Because we know that most of the people prefer to stay in hostels or albergues but still most of them carry quite big backpacks. So we were asking ourselves were some of them actually carrying a tent and staying in it or just taking it in case. Or it was all about the style of a pilgrim which was the strangest of versions. But to really learn about it we had to ask some of that people and take a little interview to be really sure. So we thought we would do that if we meet the right people.
The landscapes continued to be similar to the previous days but this time with plenty of vineyards all over the hills. They were stretching as far as the eye could see and we could only imagine how big the harvest would be. Bit at the end of July we saw that the grapes were still very small and it wasn’t about time for that. On some of the fields were growing olive trees but they covered much less ground than the grapes.
The only our concern about the trail was not having enough shadow and forest. There wasn’t any variety in it. It was all going in the sun and because of that was really hard to concentrate and enjoy the landscape. All you could think of is how to get to the next shadow. And also we enjoy walking in the forest a lot, for us it’s one of the best parts which unfortunately was lacking here. Seeing the century old oaks and other trees really impresses and fascinates us.
During all of the way we were meeting lots of the signs of Agriturusmo and BnB and different rural hostels in the middle of the fields. We think they would cost like 50 euros a night which is not really a cheap option to stay but for someone who like more comfortable type of lodging it would be perfect. Especially counting that there are a lot of them spread along the way. So if you wanted to stop at any point of the trail and not getting to the village necessarily it won’t be a problem. This type of accommodation just isn’t for us not only because of the price but mostly because we prefer to camp out always whenever we can and staying in the tent is the only way to do it.
When we were at the middle point of our hike and did almost all of the uphill we felt like having a break in the shadow. We almost had no water so Dima had to go asking for it in the nearest house and luckily they let him do it. And it came really in handy for the upcoming sunny downhill we had.
There were only 4.5 kms left to the village Torrenieri and it was the most exhaustive part and we felt like we did double the distance because of such strong sunlight. And at the end of it we were feeling dizzy and our head was spinning.
We came to the little rest area at the entrance of the village and stopped there to have a break and most importantly for the fresh water supply. We filled up all our water bottles and washed a little bit our clothes from yesterday at least freshening them up and watering off the sweat.
Then we had to wait for an hour for the supermarket to open because it had the middle day break. And in all of the small villages it was like that – every supermarket was closed from 13 to 15.30pm which was really inconvenient to us because we were always coming at the place at this time. And while we were waiting we decided to check the trail in front of us and our possibilities to find a camp spot. We saw that it was all going on the car road and having had our experience already with the Italian car roads and people not following the rules we were not really happy about that. There we saw the bus passing by very frequently and checking it up in the Internet it turned out to be the one going to the next village in 7 kms. So we decided why not to take this opportunity and skip this part of the car road. While we were on the bus looking out of window we saw that the places weren’t really perfect ones for camping with the big vineyard fields. So we were very happy about our decision.
So we took off in San Quirico d’Orcia, went to the supermarket, had our ice cream for the snack and went out to search for the camp spot.
While we were walking through this village we met a lot of little half cars-half motorcycles on the three wheels which were very popular in Italy. It is used by farmers and locals mostly for agricultural purposes and to transport some things. What is the most interesting is that in these cars is used the old T2 engine that works really loudly and does lots of emissions. And we actually saw the new models released recently that still have the same old engine which was very strange. However, locals seem to love it anyway.
So we went out of the village to the vineyard fields and walked probably for about 1.5 km, turned away on the little dirt road and went deeper in the fields. We found a spot in the low part of one field similar to previous one close to the forest line and that was not seen from the road. We had very little time to rest before it got dark and we had to get inside the tent and went to sleep.