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Walking along the Via Romea Germanica from Stade, near Hamburg, in Germany south through Austria and Italy to Rome.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Montefiascone – day 102, and back walking on the Via Romea.

Disaster has struck again with the blog.  I am currently unable to load photos, and so am just posting my words, plus the few photos I had loaded before I could load no more!  I have had this post ready for several days, so am posting it, and will update the next posts with just words as soon as I can.  For those who know about such things my google photos in the cloud is full.  I actually don’t need photos in the cloud, because I have them all on SD cards.  I have deleted a lot of photos, but it still won’t let me load photos on the blog.  Any suggestions gratefully received!  Back to my blog.

Today has been a red letter day!  I met two pilgrims, though I think I may have seen more than that.  These days it is a bit hard to tell.  On my first Camino you could always tell a pilgrim by his or her footwear – boots during the day, sandals at night – but not fashion ones, but now tourists wear the same sort of boots / solid shoes and the unattractive sandals!  Both pilgrims were male, opposite ends of the age spectrum, and I don’t know names for either one.  The first pilgrim I met was walking the Via Romea in reverse.  He was a young German just seeing how far he can get in about 10 days.  I gave him some tips on where to stay and what to see and we went our separate ways.  The second pilgrim was from Sydney, closer to my age, and walking the Via Francigena.  We are both staying in convents, but he is in a different one to me.

I managed to leave Bagnoregio in the cool of the early morning which was just as well, as once I had gone past the cemetery somehow I managed to take a different turn (signage was non existent at that point), and I ended up going on a lengthy scenic detour.  I did however manage to re-join the path a few kilometres further on, though I don’t think it would have made much difference to the amount of tarmac walking I had to deal with as I think the path I should have been on had an equal amount of tarmac to trudge along.  There was little of photographic interest for me on the way so I wasted little time and actually arrived in Montefiascone before lunch.
Montefiascone in the distance

The entrance into Montefiascone
On the corner, near the convent.
I was quite keen to try and stay with the Benedictine Nuns here in the village.  Elizabeth and I had tried to stay with them when we were on the Via Francigena, but they were fully booked.  Not so this time.  As I came to the door a Nun greeted me, fortunately – as otherwise I would have had to try and request a room over the intercom at the door.  She flitted through the corridors of the convent, habit flying as she briskly walked, looking for the nun responsible for booking pilgrims in.  She eventually found her, upstairs, and directed me to go up.  As I walked up I could hear a soft voice calling “pellegrina, pellegrina” until I took a turn on the stairs and the nun could see that I was coming up.  She booked me into a private room, though there didn’t seem to be any other pilgrims staying at that point and so I could have gone into the hostel part.
 My room at the convent
Looking towards the "bottom" end of the main street of Montefiascone (left) and the "top" end (right).

After chores I went out to have a look around.  My first port of call was the Cathedral.  As I approached I could hear a soprano singing Bach’s Ave Maria, glorious as it rang through the massive building.  I was hesitant to go in, but others were doing so, and so I followed.  The church had obviously been set up for a wedding, hymn sheets out and white fans next to them, white flowers tied to the end of the pews, and a couple of lovely flower arrangements, along with two pedestals at the door with bowls of little bags of rice for throwing.  As I left the organist was rehearsing what I think was going to be the brides entrance piece – one of the choruses from the Messiah.  I had a lovely half hour watching all the guest arrive, and then the bride.  Probably this was quite a “society” wedding, as it was very formal, a representative of a cantada was there in costume and waving a banner  and the local police were involved directing traffic
 Cattedrale di Santa Margherita, and the dome (below)

My intention was to go and find something to eat then head back to bed, but as I started walking back down the street I noticed a very big black cloud approaching and decided it might be prudent to go back and pick in my washing.  I am very glad I did, as half an hour later the heaven’s opened.  The rain didn’t last long, but it was heavy enough to have soaked my dry washing if I had left it!  After a good night’s sleep I set off early in the morning for Viterbo, but more on that next time.  

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