It was quite nice to look down on the castle from my apartment, as it had taken a long time yesterday from first viewing it to finally rounding the castle's hill from below to emerge on top!
I enjoyed breakfast with a Frenchman who was also staying. He has reached Compostelle via three long French routes already, and he is heading there again via the route from Rome to Florence, and the coastal route via Arles. He looked longingly at my small daypack, but didn't seem to hold it against me!
It made a pleasant change to start the day with a long but not too tricky descent, instead of having to wind up first into an ascent. I hadn't gone too far before an elderly couple called to me from their house to see if I wanted a coffee. Very friendly, but I had a long way to go. Eventually I was looking back up at the castle, mindful of the impression that would have on today's arrivals towards the end of their day!
It was actually mostly a bush walk early on, very pleasant. There was a stream to cross, and I was quite keen to avoid getting wet socks: my walking poles helped me to keep my balance and my shoes dry.
There was also a series of old churches, monasteries and things like former leper hospitals to pass by. Obviously both the Franciscans and the Benedictines had been active in this area in the past. At one stage I began to wonder why so much money was being spent on restoration when the economy here is in poor shape. But then I met a group of what I think were probably German pilgrims, heading down the big hill I'd just ascended- and I guess there is a lot of money for regions in such tourism ventures. I imagine they were heading down to see the churches I had just passed climbing uphill.
At one point I passed a Benedictine monastery that is still in action out in the solitary kind of place I was walking. It seemed very tightly enclosed, but I hadn't gone far past it when a car came driving along the road, being driven by a clearly very monastic driver with a very long beard.
I knew the day still had fairly big climb ahead, but as it turned out, it was up a twisty winding dirt road, instead of a mountain goat track!
Somewhere near the top of my climb I met a young Swiss woman who took details about Biscina. It seemed that both she and the Frenchman had been 'tricked' by time indications in their guidebooks that took no indication of the terrain and ups and downs. She knew she couldn't walk all the way to Valfabricca in one day.
Not long after I spoke to her, I reached the top, and had my first view of Gubbio. It looked impressive, but it also looked a long way away! And yes, it was... The end of my tour proved to be a long flat stretch into the city. I wish I had actually sussed out the local buses at a bar I stopped in with a bus stop nearby... It would have given me more time to explore Gubbio.
Finally, I arrived in this incredibly historic city. And I was pleased to find I didn't have a Nocera-style climb to reach my hotel!
From my hotel room I can see a church, which turns out to be the St Francis one. I'll spend the morning exploring the old town before I return to Rome.
This evening I have just rested my poor shattered feet that weren't expecting so much tarmac today! They have done well -no blisters. And I've cleaned my boots/ walking poles ready for NZ re-entry. And now I am just hoping for sleep soon. I am in a hotel (San Marco) with very fancy marble entry etc, and also a large group of Italian school kids as guests. Currently, it feels like I am enduring youth hostel noise levels, which I certainly wasn't expecting. Let's hope lights out means quiet time, because at present it sounds like a dance party. Night all...