Thursday, 10 October 2013

Day 31 San-Miniato to Gambassi-Terme 25.7 km

Thursday 10th October Day 31 San-Miniato Bassa to Gambassi-Terme 25.7 km

Walking over the rolling Tuscan Hills! Take plenty of water ...
A long and tiring walk today, but quite beautiful! 
We woke early and set off before 7 am!  and walked up the steep hill 2km to San Miniato a gorgeous hilltop village. Love this village - a slow city (the snail sign)
and slow food

Saw the sun coming up over the Tuscan hills through the clouds
Stopped off for CaffĂ© and some breakfast in old San Miniato- a good thing too! last food and water option for the next 22 km! (we have fruit in our bags we bought yesterday) 
A caper plant hanging down over the portal.
We are now in the centre of the Via Francigena Toscana- Tuscany section. Picture postcard scenery.

An emergency first aid kit for pilgrims along the trail! How thoughtful!

Through olive groves, 
loaded with fruit!

We stop off at Castello- I think Coiano???.. in the hope of coffee and a toilet- no luck with either, but we see some wine making action, the heady smell of the newly harvested, fermenting grapes is incredible!

more of the Castello complex - olive oil and wine production
More dreamy rural scenery....

old abandoned farm buildings 
"renovators delight" 

So far I've observed two different environments in Toscana, the hilly wooded, moist, mossy, forested areas such as we walked through in Camaiore and Valpromoro, and the more open, rolling hills of Toscana of today- vineyards, Olive groves, crops and some sheep herds.
Gambassi-Terme in view!

A lovely surprise, Gambassi-Terme is a beautifully preserved hilltop village!
Apparently it was an old castle, and the village and surrounds we're owned by one family. The area is well known for minerals, some thermal springs and in the 16th century, glass making. There are lots of day walks in the area that look lovely.
The gardens are fabulous, the first time we've seen such extensive greenspace in a hilltop village,
apparently part of the original Castello kitchen gardens and formal gardens, now owned by the Commune.
Some apartments for sale!
Patrick checking them out ...
An original old well, imagine the muscles you'd build up pulling water every day!
The lovely old Church - the piazza adjacent is the local meeting place, complete with bar, gelateria and paved area for kids to ride their bikes around!
The man dongs the bell every hour, and on the half hour...
We originally planned on staying at the Ostello Sigerico - fortunately Philippe, our fellow pilgrim whom we're in email contact with, warned us that it is closed.   So we stayed at the hotel da pinchorbia , 50 Euro for a double room tel 0571 638188.  

Right on the corner of the main Piazza. We also had dinner there, very good and reasonable price 35 euro for antipasti, pasta and bottle of wine! Happy Pilgrims!

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