Sunday, 29 September 2013

Day 20 Medesano to Cassio (Cassius) 31 km

Sunday 29th September Day 20 Medesano to Cassio (Cassius) 31 km

climbing the Appenines, towards the summit of the Cisa Pass through forest and mountain tracks

We met up with Jon, from Spain again last night. He arrived after dark. He'd come back to Medesano, as he was hit by a car yesterday, not hurt thankfully, but the impact dislodged his teeth bridge ( not sure if that's the correct term for them) so, in his words... he "looks like a fooking monster"  he searched the ground around the impact, but couldn't find them, so he's going to Parma on Monday to get a new set... At least he's not physically injured. When we're walking on the roads, we walk on the left here, so we can see the cars on our side of the road coming towards us and step off the road if required....

Well, we woke up this morning at 6 am, and the rain that was predicted is falling. 
Its too wet outside I decided I'll need to wear my boots again, I havent worn them for over a week since buying a pair of joggers. Hopefully my feet have stopped swelling and they'll be OK. They feel fine putting them on, so we will see!
As we set off with our wet weather gear on, me in my attractive blue poncho... the rain is very light, hopefully it will stay that way! Can you believe we've started off on our walk today before 7am!!! still not fully light, what keen pilgrims we are today!
Our plan is to walk the 30 + km to Cassio, but the weather and how we feel might change that. There is an option of stopping overnight at Sivvizano, about 17 km from Medesano.
We stopped off for our mattina (morning) caffè at a lovely little bar in the town of Felegara, the owner is originally from Canada, and has been in Italy for 25 years. I started to say my usual ... "buongiourno, vorrei due Caffé per favore...." and she says, "would you like to speak English?" we all laugh... Is it that obvious we're not Italian???
Later, we walk over the huge bridge, past the sign below
through Fornovo-Di-Taro, get some lunch supplies at the supermarket, walk past the church 
Didn't go inside the church, as we were in full wet weather gear, but it looks very interesting 
(I'd love more time to explore this village)
and we come across a antique car street race!
Arrived at Sivvizano, all walking up and down paved country roads, light rain the whole way.
We stop for a break at a very cute bar in Sivvizano about 12:30
I have a macchiato (aperitif)  and we both have lasagne for's  raining, sort of dark... decisions to be made about continuing on to Cassio or not.... lunch- pranzo first! Lasagne and a vino Lambrusco for me!
OK, now sufficiently fortified with food and wine- onwards...  and... the rain has stopped!
How lucky are we? Just as we Re about to,start the steep uphill climbes, we have sunshine!

It's amazing the way I continue to learn something new every day... or am reminded of something l've forgotten! such as, it's not a good idea to have a macchiato aperitif, followed by lasagne for lunch with a red wine when we still have about 15 km to walk!! I really wanted a little nanna nap after my lovely lunch and wine, but managed to soldier on! I think I burnt off the lunch calories in the next 2 hours of steep uphill walking! This is looking down on where we've come from
Off into the wilds of the Appenines - mule tracks, forest tracks, 

hope the CF signage is good! 
We pass a couple of beautiful small villages and their churches on the way up the mountain.

Pilgrim stone sign
detail of door and stone of the church at Bardone
 - couldn't go inside, it was chiuso ...

The next village of Terenzo
Saw geological formations that fired my imagination- thought for sure it was a dragon's tail! A long strip of sharp projecting stone called the "Salti del diavolo"
I thought once we'd arrived at the top of the pass we were at our destination, Cassio! But we were at Castello Di Casola ...
with another 4 km to go! more slippery muddy tracks up and down... I'm thankful for the thousands of squats and squat jumps completed at Hannah's boot camps over the last few months! Even so, with my heavy pack my muscles had the shakes at the end of the ascent.

past a wild beehive, and a beekeeper tending his hives.
Through pine forests,

And finally just before 6 pm Cassio! The village centre of Cassio is beautiful ... "Il tuo villaggio è bello" your village is beautiful  - I tried to communicate that message to a couple of old locals... they shook their heads and disagreed...

arrived at the Ostello Di Cassio at 6 pm! Two tired pilgrims, I'm very proud of our effort today, 31+ km, mostly up! (checked in the guide book... ascent 1046 m from Fornovo! )
A very warm welcome from Andrea 
off with the muddy boots, left them at the door, he showed us our room, and said to have a shower first, and sort out formalities after we're clean... lovely room, giant timber beams, stone lining.. all a tired pilgrim could want and more at the end of a big day...
Beautifully set up and organised Ostello! Food and beverages all ready, you can cook what you like in the kitchen, or go over the road to the Trattoria- there is an honesty box to contribute the value of what you've eaten and drunk.
We met Clair Fletcher  & John Murphy from Wexford, Ireland who are cycling the Via Francigena, We cooked up some delicious pasta and ate together.
We chat for a few hours, then off to bed about 10pm, my eyelids are drooping!
Clair fletcher  & John Murphy

Ostello Di Cassio
Hostel Cassio

Address: Via Nazionale - Cassio
Phone: 339 3203824 or 0525526110 
Type: Hostel municipal
Person in charge: Mr. Andrea Bianchi
Open: All year round
Price: 15 €
Number of places: 11
Kitchen use: YES
Services: Cost € 5 sheets

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