Via Francigena

Meters climbed take their toll

5. July 2018

Berceto is really worth a visit. Yesterday I explored the old town, which has a lot to offer. Several bars and cafes invite you to stay. But also the Romanesque cathedral from the 12th century is beautiful. Unfortunately the ruin of the Castello is currently closed for visitors. So I stroll a little through the town and enjoy the mild summer evening.

A monster stage is waiting for me

In the morning I am up early and leave early. I am really jittery because of this day. The distance is approximately 30 kilometers. Even worse are the meters of altitude that have to be done. 1000 meters up and 1600 meters back down into the valley to Pontremoli. The Via Francigena demands a lot from pilgrims. Today it is quite chilly, it has cooled down a bit. Every now and then I start shivering. No wonder, I’m sweating and there is an icy wind blowing. There is almost no sun today. After roughly 2.5 hours I reach the Passo della Cisa. Fortunately there is a bar where I can get something to eat. This pass is also called the gateway to Tuscany – one of the most popular regions of Italy for gourmets. After a short stay, I go up to the chapel. A beautiful little church.

No more fun

Now the bad part begins. From now on it‘s going goes downhill and that seriously. The next 18 kilometers I have to suffer a lot. My foot does not bear the strain of going downhill very well and I take breaks all the time. At the pass above, I thought about taking the bus. The barmaid said that unfortunately I couldn’t because today was not a school day. Here the buses only run because of the students. So Iam out of luck and have to bear the consequences. It is a real torture and I almost despair. Will I ever reach the valley? In the end I reach Pontremoli. Everything hurts – legs, feet – I am really done with this pilgrimage. Or let’s say better with this drudgery. Tomorrow there are more than thirty kilometers again. But I won’t do that and split this section in two. Body and soul need rest and recovery.