Day sixty-one: Pontremoli to Aulla

According to the guide book – which I don’t have, but I do have the key stats recorded – today was scheduled to be 32km, which is a few more than I felt up to, so I made some judicious use of the road to pare down the total.
It was a pleasant day walking, walking for prolonged periods on medieval roads (the information sign went into great detail, but most of that detail was beyond my rudimentary Italian). In parts the ancient road bed had vanished, making those sections muddy-evil, but the stout footwear saved the day again. Every now and then a very old, fortified village would miraculously appear, but the usual farm lands were nowhere to be seen.
The day was abnormally tiring – some days it seems that all energy reserves have been used up and I’m running on empty – like hitting the wall in a marathon. Unfortunately, no matter how much you eat, you never feel fully replenished. One way to mitigate the energy drop is a sugar fix late in the day – often a Coke, Fanta or iced tea. In talking with others who have been walking for a prolonged period, they all have the same need for the late in the day sugar fix. Must be something to do with having used up all our reserves.
Aulla is possibly the most disappointing town to date – although it does have a good reason: it was a garrison town for the German army in WW2 and was consequently bombed into oblivion. The castle either survived or was rebuilt, and also hosts pilgrims, but the hike up the switchback was a hill too far for my tired legs. Instead I signed into the pilgrim hostel run by the Church, and lucked out touring the Church and Museum, in that the lady who is the curator for an art exhibit in the museum gave me an impromptu tour and explanation of the history, including how a worker accidentally discovered the old stone walls that had been plastered over. The net result is that the church has become an archeological site, with the altar currently removed and the remnants of Roman tiles, 10th and 12th century churches exposed, as well as the tomb of Saint Capraiso. Truly amazing!
Daily km: 28.8

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