Walking too early, and without eyes in the skies

Inside the walls at the south gate of Monteriggioni looking out toward the day’s walk.

Day 10: Monteriggioni to Sienna — 15.2 km (9.7 miles)

The only bad thing about Monteriggioni is the lack of early morning cafes. By 7:00, when I was ready to head out the door for the quick walk to Siena, the tiny town’s few bars were still an hour away from starting up their daily trade.

So, with just a tiny bit of water in my pack and no food either in my belly or my pack, I headed out for a day the guidebook called, “easy walking except for the lack of food and water along the way.”

View towards the castle at Chiocciola.

The day’s biggest challenge, though, would be the complete failure of my iPhone GPS system. Yesterday I’d fixed it with a few rough taps on my knee. Today, no dice. It refuses to work at all. But at least I can read an iBook on it, which gives me access to the invaluable Terre Mezzo Italian/English guidebook.

With guidebook in hand I dove into a thirsty 6-7 miles of walking through woods and fields followed by a thirsty and hungry 2-3 miles on the edge of the busy highway.

However, the guidebook promised, “As you arrive in Siena you’ll see a petrol station and McDonald’s on the left.” With no food or water, my mouth was soon watering for a McChicken sandwich, fries and cold drink.

In a couple of hours, faithful to the guidebook, there it was! In this country of fine food I had stooped to the level of eating something I’d probably pass on back in the US. And at 10:00 it would be an early McDonald’s lunch, but so what?

I walked up to the door and tugged on it. Locked. Open at 11:00. I was an hour too early.

The walls of Siena.

I arrived in Siena’s historic Piazza del Campo at about 11:00, in plenty of time to enjoy a better-than-McDonald’s lunch at a delightful and sunny Italian restaurant. Cost for a calzone and two iced teas? A mere €27.60. In the Italian countryside this would be about €11.00!

As I checked into my B&B — late by now — I stumbled into a fellow who happened to be walking by sporting a Seattle Seahawks jersey. “You from Seattle?” I asked. “Victoria,” he said. “My name’s Mike and I’m walking a camino called the Via Francigena. Ever heard of it?”

Early or late for everything today, but for once my timing was just right.

8 thoughts on “Walking too early, and without eyes in the skies

  1. Yeeks, you’re having some bad luck but thank heavens you’re getting through the day. Very hard to walk like that on an empty stomach with little water! Siena sounds like an expensive city also.
    Rest up, hopefully tomorrow will be better! You’re definitely making good progress!

  2. Sandy, You are confirming the need for the emergency food supply I’v put together. But why no water? Didn’t they have water where you were staying?

    Janet

  3. Hi I just want to tell you I am absolutely loving your travelogue !! It is so well written and well illustrated with photos. I wish you God- speed for the remainder of your journey. Know every day as I read I pray from the heart for you. I hope to follow in your footsteps someday. Please pray for me, (Jenny)as you walk that my desire would be fulfilled. Thank you!

  4. Sandy I too am enjoying your writing and your great photos, those from Sienna are fantastic, the colours and detail are truly fabulous. Thanks for inspiration to keep planning. Una

  5. …the City name of “Siena” is spelt with 1 “N.” The colours of “Sienna” or the stone from which the colours of “Raw Sienna” and/or “Burnt Sienna” are derived from is spelt with 2 “N’s.” I hope this helps somehow! Take care…

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