Day seventy-nine: Aquapendente to Bolsena

The overnight accommodation at the former monastery was wonderful. The volunteers were very humble and welcoming, dinner and breakfast excellent – one of the more memorable stops.

As the weather forecast was for rain until mid-morning, everything was repacked in wet weather mode, with the rain jacket at full readiness at the top. And while the skies were very threatening, it stayed dry. Of course, fellow pelligrino M from Lucca claims the lack of rain was due to good karma from helping do the dinner dishes!
It was a relatively short day of 23km. The first two hours crossing farm land where there was quite a lot of activity taking place. The smell of freshly ploughed soil was very pleasant. Also saw the sorriest flock of sheep, which at first I thought were goats. For some reason they just don’t do sheep farming here: these specimens could have been extras in a movie set in Roman times.
Conveniently at the two hour mark there was the town of San Lorenzo Nuovo – high on the hills above Lake Bolseno, but we’ll blessed with cafes, most of which sport the VF logo. To qualify for the testimonium one must walk from at least Aquapendente, so from here on in there is likely to be good signage and plenty of businesses willing to separate pelligrini from their pennies.
Most towns surrounding the lake are in the hills where they presumably get some cooling breezes. The path meandered around these hills through farms and forests with tantalizing glimpses of the lake, until arriving in Bolsena, the newer part of town which is lakefront, and the inevitable castle and old town above the lake. If the old town still had a wall, it would be a tourist hot spot. As it was, it was almost devoid of tourists.
Being a short day, i splurged on pizza and beer for lunch before checking into the hostel as it was too early to summit the nuns to check me in. I then took a walk down to the lake, but the air temperature was not conducive to swimming. I waded out a way, and even this drew some curious looks from the locals. I guess lake swimming or paddling in not normally done in October. I also had plenty of time to explore all the books and crannies of the old town: there is some debate as to whether it is on the same site as the original Etruscan settlement, or indeed whether it is on the site of the Roman town that replaced the Etruscan one. No shortage of history hereabouts!

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