Tuscany, Italy

Northern Tuscany walking tour Day 1

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Tomorrow we will make our way to join our walking group at the Pisa Airport.  The Exodus folks will pick us all up there and take us to Braccicorti where our home base will be located.

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The farm house where we will be staying.

After meeting up with the rest of the group and our guide Sarah at the Pisa Airport, we drove about an hour and a half up into the hills to the farm.  What a beautiful, pastoral place, the sun was shining and the birds are singing.  There are only 7 in our group, 4 from Great Briton 1 Australian and us two Canadians.  We have had the afternoon to settle in, and wander about, our room is lovely with old stone walls.

 

I went for a walk while Peter rested – he is on the mend thank goodness.  I found a lovely wooded walk that took me to the golf course that is on the property. It’s the last thing I was expecting to see here, but there ya go.

We will meet up for a hike briefing at 7 pm then dinner.  The farm is gorgeous, authentic but with all the amenities.  Our guide Sarah looks like a marathon runner, sure hope that doesn’t mean we are in trouble!

Day 2 Hiking in Tuscany

Today’s walk was through the Orecchiella National Park to Pania di Corfino – a circle route.  A 20 min drive took us to our beginning. After 2 hours of climbing, I realized this is not a walk, this is a hike and what was I thinking!  No doubt this was a little more than I had anticipated coupled with having Peter’s cold moved on to me.  We had quite a day, sunshine, wind, hail storm with thunder, snow and rain. . we had it all.  At mid day there was a little lunch place that was open so that we could get warm before the trek back down the mountain. The path down was an old mule path and quite treacherous with loose rock and constant decline.  But… we did it!  Our guide Sara was great, kept to a good pace and little stops along the way.

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Our guide Sara and her dog Elvis. It’s anyone’s guess what he is made up of and he is very sweet. Behind her is John who is an inspiration to us – 79 years old.

There is one English gentleman in our group that is amazing, he’s got 15 years on us and was the most fit of all, often singing away to the group, I couldn’t even talk!  We have a GP and Veterinarian and a psychiatrist in our group so injuries would be covered.  I was the slowest in the group going up hill but no one seems to care thank goodness. Peter took the photos today.  All I could do was put one foot in front of the other. The trek was 13 km’s, with an ascent of 603m and descent the same. Total altitude was 1603m.  The trek took us 6 hours.

We’ll find out tonight what the hike will be for tomorrow.  I expect we will sleep very well tonight!

Day 3 Hiking in Tuscany

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Today’s hike was as expected, a tough one.  Not only was the hike challenging but I managed to tweek my knee coming down the mountain yesterday and this cold I have continues.  But off we went. This hike was up to a mountain peak loosely translating to “Dead Man Sleeping”  It was a climb up that included what our guide called, a “scramble” which I now understand to mean hands and knees mountain climb.  While it was a tough ascent, the view really was worth it and I felt like I had truly accomplish something.  16,850 steps according to my Fitbit. Peter was in his element.

Unfortunately the hike back down was extremely rough and did my knee no favors. We all went out to an amazing restaurant in the village below the farm, we practiced our Italian, ordering from the menu.  It was of course authentic and delicious.

Day 4 Hiking in Tuscany

Today’s hike was with one of the family of  Braccicorti, Pierluigi.  He took us on a farm and village walk and really helped to tie together how this part of the world lives and works.

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Our guide talks with his hands, so Italian.

This walk was our longest for the trip.  19.6 kms and 24,050 steps according to Fitbit.  The good news was that it was on good footing and my knee was able to manage without too much trouble.  One thing that I have discovered is the benefit of walking poles, they are my new best friend!

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Me and my new stick friends after 19.6 km’s.

The walk had been described as undulating, which means some up, some flat, some downhill so not too bad at all.  One of the most important agricultural products in this area of Italy are Chestnuts.  There are Chestnut woods everywhere.  The chestnuts are harvested in October and kept in stone buildings through out the area. The building is heated with a fire fueled by chestnut tree wood and kept going for 40 days.  After that the chestnuts are shelled and used fresh, or ground for flour to make breads and cakes.  They also keep bees in the chestnut woods and make very different flavored honey.  During the WWII it was chestnuts that kept many people alive when the armies came through taking all the food.  The elders call the chestnut the bread of life nut.

Day 5 Hiking in Tuscany

Today was our free day and a good thing it was as this cold got the better of me, other than a little afternoon walk it was a super quiet day.

Day 6 Hiking Tuscany

Back to hiking today but sadly not for me, I just don’t have enough breath yet so have sent Peter out with instructions to take lots of photo’s.  If one must be grounded, this is a pretty nice place to be grounded to. I spent the day reading, a bit of writing, a walk up to the golf course and enjoying the sun pool side.  Not so shabby.

Peter had a great day hiking with the group.

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Today there were some sheer cliffs and they even found some snow.

Day 7 Hiking in Tuscany

Today I chose to do a flatter walk around the reservoir while the rest climbed the mountain. My chest cold is still dragging on unfortunately. The walk was a little bizarre, you paid at the turnstile to do the walk, I was the only customer. Apparently the new mayor of this village wants to build tourism so he has added this walk with attractions. On the first section there were farm animals behind fences

The next section on the village side of the reservoir had an odd collection of marble statues, animals and mythical creatures they were signs but all Italian so no help.

Once I crossed the suspension bridge to the other side of the reservoir I came across more marble and some flags. Even more bizarre the statues were of Russia’s Putin and the US’s Trump.

I carried on around the reservoir crossed another bridge to return to the village side.

Once the group returned from their mountain hike I found out from our guide that the mayor wanted statues of good things on the village side of the walk and statues of bad things on the other side. Many of the village people did not want this but he is Mayor and can do whatever he wants. What a curious site.

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