Day eighty-three: Vetralla to Sutri

After a restful night in my monastic cell and a dubious breakfast of long life bread pre-stuffed with jam and machine coffee, the day turned out to be one of the nicest walks in Italy. It helped that I spotted a bar after 20 minutes that provided a real coffee – standing at the counter with the locals in the Italian way.

Today there was minimal road walking. Instead the first section was along the edge of a forest – complete with a couple of women successfully scratching under the oak trees for truffles – followed by long sections through hazelnut groves, or as I like to think of them, Nutella plantations. Even better was the fact that the path was on private land as opposed to the usual rutted public dirt road. These trails ended at Capranica, yet another medieval town perched on a bluff, although the dramatic location of the town did not become apparent until I’d enjoyed a coffee and snack at the bar frequented by the most old guys. The path entered the town from the high side, but the exit was down a zig-zag staircase where the two river valleys met.

After Capranica, the path was mostly a genuine hiking trail through the forest, winding it’s way alongside a stream and well away from the usual hum of traffic- but it was on the flight path for Rome airport, so periodically there was the distinctive sound of planes deploying flaps in preparation for their final approach. I’m still three days away, so my flaps and landing gear are yet to be deployed.

I arrived in Sutri soon after one, and enjoyed a supermarket lunch while sitting on the city ramparts waiting for the monastery ostello to open. Unfortunately when the appointed time came, I was informed it was “chiuso” – whether because it was Friday or other reasons remains unknown. The ladies at the tourist office came to the rescue, and phoned around and a lady came to meet me and led me to her sister’s holiday apartment. For the same price as an ostello, I have a bed with sheets, a real towel, wifi and a full kitchen. Camino karma is back!

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