The holidays booked, the details have arrived and I’m off in September to San Marcello. The five villages & two bridges walk covers seven sights in seven hours, but with over twelve miles to cover we’ll need to move quickly in between. I do hope we have time to see the bars and churches. And have they factored in an hour or so for lunch? In contrast they allow a full six hours for seven miles and two newts. It’s a mystery.
There was a slight chill in the air as we got off the bus. It was going to be a good day but it was no time to dawdle in shorts. We walked straight through the still sleepy village and off to the right gently upwards through the woods. We’d gained a fair bit of height by the time we emerged into a sunny little valley. A rough track, I think they call them “white roads” took us down to the first bridge, which jumped across the stream in a single arch. We turned left and climbed over the spur, meeting the track again just outside a group of weather-beaten buildings, which must have been our second village. I’d been walking at the front and just had time to peep in the little church without keeping Alan, our backmarker waiting. It was plain simple and beautiful. Alan listened politely before returning to the topic of his feet, a subject which was to engross and amuse us the entire week, but didn’t stop him racing up the mountains.
The dark pine woods beyond the village ended abruptly at a sharp right turn above a spectacular gorge. The promised suspension bridge was long, lovely and swaying slightly in the breeze! I paused at the small shrine on the left and prayed we’d all get across. As we stopped for a drink on the other side I wished I’d packed something stronger.
Our leader was marching past the bar in next village when Wendy, winking conspiratorially at me announced she needed a comfort break. The coffee was wonderful and kept us going up a long and stony path to the next village, then down through the meadows to our destination. The sun was hot, the beer was cold and we’d time for another before the bus arrived. The chatter of happy ramblers faded and I closed my eyes.
When I awoke they’d all gone. I was back at home in the conservatory. I hope I meet them again.