Monday, September 14, 2015

Day 8: Forte Canarbino - Trebiano - Romito Magra - Sarzana - Molicciara - Castelnuovo Magra

Forte Canarbino - Trebiano - Romito Magra - Sarzana - Molicciara - Castelnuovo Magra

15 km + 5 km detour up to Castelnuovo Magra 

Evil weather forecast, and so I set off at first light in order to reach my safe haven, a small flat I had booked for the next two nights through airbnb, before the rain. And I ALMOST made it! After following a pleasant footpath through the village of Trebiano down to Romito Magra and breakfasting on freshly baked pastries in a roadside cafè, I had to walk along the side of the road as far as Sarzana, as the footpaths that so promisingly appeared along the banks of the river on my map proved to be non-existent, or impossible to find.
After stopping in Sarzana to look at the cathedral and the fortress, it was time to switch maps and get onto the main trail of the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrimage route to Rome. But no sooner had I found the trail - recently re-routed and moved slightly farther inland in order to stay off major roads - than it began to sprinkle with rain, which soon turned into a downpour. At this point my airbnb hosts, Eros and his daughter Ilaria, called and offered to come and pick me up. They took me back to their home, where I was able to change into dry clothes and enjoy a traditional Italian Sunday lunch of Nonna's homemade lasagne, a roast (which I managed not to eat) and home-grown tomatoes, followed by the traditional Sunday tray of pasticcini from the pastry shop.
After lunch they took me and my wet things to the apartment, where the forat thing I did was throw everything except what I was wearing into the washing machine. They had also accompanied me to the local supermarket to get in enough groceries to last a couple of days - and so there I was, ready to weather the storm safe and sound, and with a full tummy!

Leaving Forte Canarbino at dawn


Crossing the Magra River


Sarzana - the Cathedral

Sarzana - Via Mazzini

Sarzana - the fortress

Today's route, shortened somewhat by rain!

In the afternoon the rain stopped, and so after the short nap that is obligatory following a proper Sunday lunch, I headed up the hill to Castelnuovo Magra itself - another of the many medieval hilltop villages I have seen countless times from the window of a car or a train but never taken the trouble to visit. That's partly what this trip is all about, and so I took a stout umbrella, put on my walking sandals (boots still soaked from the morning), and headed up the steep footpath to the top of the hill.
From the top I could see the past three days' walks: the Alta Via delle Cinque Terre trail runs along the high ridge in the distance, behind which are the villages of the Cinque Terre and the sea. The Alta Via del Golfo trail draws a semi-circke around La Spezia on the lower hills below the ridge. And the river valley I had crossed in the morning is in the foreground.

Castelnuovo Magra, as seen from the castle tower on a dark day.

There's an exhibition of Elliot Erwitt photographs in the tower, open until October 11 2015. The photos are arranged on seven lebels right in the tower itself, and before you go in they make you sign a disclaimer saying that it's not their fault if you fall down the stairs or hit your head on the rafters.

A very eloquent photo

I found this one particularly funny. Only the one woman is interested in the Maya Vestida, all the men are busy comtemplating the Maya Desnuda

Gotta post a cat picture now and then

The footpath down from Castelnuovo Magra

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