Heaven and Hell. Contrasting landscapes on the #Viafrancigena #travel 

Gambassi Terme. A town that – had things turned out differently – was destined to live in infamy. At least in my heat stroked mind.

It began well enough today.A 5am start after an air conditioned sleep in a hostel run by health care volunteers. ;Six beds and only me there

The first few hours were beautiful. Walking high above Tuscan valleys;Isolated farms. thin cypress tree .dotting the landscape

But then…a scene from hell. acre after acre of burned fields and olive groves..fields. crops ;trees , still smouldering. The acrid smell of burnt grass heavy in the air 

The flames had even licked farmhouses , leaving their doors singed and blackened

I’ve never seen anything like it.

So I was looking forward to a pub called the Pilgrims Hostel which was basically the onky decent stop.in 30 km

When it’s  36C a watering  hole assumes mythical proportions.
I was imagining a beer garden. With parasols and fountains. Ice cold drinks served in ice cold glsses by a friendly Italian barmaid impressed by my walking heroics.

What i got was a surly moustachioed Italian guy in a vest who informed me that although this was indeed an historic pilgrims rest..it was closed until 8pm.
He wouldn’t even serve me from the fridge.

I stomped off in a bad mood towards Gambassi Terme. A mood which becane darker when I walked an unneccessary extra 4km cos i couldn’t find my hostel.

However. Salvation in the form of tourist official Michael Angelo (yes really) who foubd it for me. Got the owner to pick me up and divulge the rather important information that tonight there is a beer festival.

I love Gambassi Terme


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