Monday 24 November.
It was only about 14 km to Montefiascone today and Moira had booked a hotel for tonight on 'booking.com', so we weren't in any hurry to get away. Also I wanted to checked out a sports shop in town for a pair of shoes before we proceeded. We expected that it wouldn't open until after 9 am. We went down for breakfast at 8 am and the man I had the dispute with gave us as chirpy 'Buon giorno'. The breakfast wasn't bad, there was; cereal, yoghurt, croissants, fruit and lots of cakes. They never seem to have milk readily available to pour on the cereal and you have to request it as I also had to do for a spoon to eat it with. The coffee we got was reasonable for a change.
We waited in our room reading the paper until nearly 9 am before leaving. Moira paid the bill and we were offered a free bottle of wine, maybe as an apology for the problems. We stopped first at the pharmacy for pain killers and Elastoplast tape, while Moira was there I transferred the wine from the bottle into one of our water bottles. Next it was to the sports shop but it still wasn't open, we gave up and carried on through the town following the waymarks. Lots more shops were open than yesterday but none with shoes.
Once we left the town we were on the Via Cassia again but only for a short distance before we headed up into the hills, high above the lake again. Montefiascone was at the southern end of the lake high on a hill overlooking it. Cicerone described a shorter route that used the Via Cassia a lot but the official VF was off-road for about 10 km until it reached the Via Cassia again before the climb up to Montefiascone. It was another very enjoyable route, it might nave been a bit longer than the one using the road but it is much better away from the traffic. It tended to be undulating as it made its way up and down the side of the hill. Also there was a number of steams to cross where there was a drop to the crossing point and a climb again on the other side. Cicerone had indicated that there were a number of streams to ford and one in particular that might be impassable in wet weather. Most turned out to be dry or just a trickle while the dodgy one had a wooden plank of wood as a temporary means of getting across. I managed to go for an hour before I started picking up stones in my shoe again. I changed to my sandals and walked with them until the end.
After a couple of hours we found a seat beside a waterfall where we had our morning break. We had just finished our coffee break and were packing up when some people came along the track with their dog. It turned out that two of them, Ellie and Paul, were English and now living in Montefiascone. They were out for a walk with their Italian neighbour, Orlando. We had a chat with them for some minutes and they were impressed with what we were doing.
I gave them one of our cards and hope for a donation. Paul said he came over to Italy on a cheap flight about 10 years ago and immediately fell in love with the place, bought a house and they are still here. Shortly after leaving them we came to a stone plaque with the VF Monk symbol that had 'Roma 100 km'. According to Cicerone it would still be 115 km to go when we reached Montefiascone but we took photographs next to it anyway.
The track soon began to descend and eventually joined the Via Cassia again. The signpost on the road said 'Montrfiasco 6 km'. There was a path behind the crash barrier at the side of the road that we walk along for a kilometre or so before going on to a minor road and then track that climbed steeply to yet another hilltop town which we could see a long way up.
After about 3 km we came to a fountain, Fontane del Sabuco, with seats and it was at a good time for lunch. I made coffee and we had our cheese sandwiches. Once we got going again it was more climbing before we reached the edge of the town and houses. There was a ridge that ran in an arc round to the old town which we could see in the distance built around the Cathedral with a huge done. It was still a long way to go and nearly an hour's walking through the streets before we made our way through the arch and gate into the old town and up to our hotel, Albergo Dante, in the piazza next to the Cathedral.
On the way we had passed a Coop supermarket and stocked up with a packet of soup, bread and tuna salad for dinner. We also had a couple of beers and a packet of crisps that we now had lying back in the bed. We also spotted a sports shop at the edge of the old town and at 4 pm when expected it to reopen we walked all the way down the hill again. It turned out to be worth while as I got a pair of Adidas shoes that fitted well, they cost €49, not bad I suppose. The next plan was to visit the Cathedral on the way back and headed there when we reached the piazza at the top of the hill. It was now after 5 pm and starting to get dark meaning that when we got inside the huge domed building we could hardly see a thing. What we did see was amazing, the inside was just a large circular chamber with the altar at one side and the enormous dome above. It is reported to be the third largest dome after St Peter's in Rome and one in Florence. We couldn't see much detail and planned to come back in the morning before we leave.
Back at the hotel I checked out my new shoes and they seemed fine and should get me to the end safely. The old ones were in a really bad way and Moira was able to stick her finger through the hole the toe for a photograph. Moira made the soup and the salad which we had while listening to the radio. The WiFi was first class and there wasn't any problem picking up the BBC. Moira booked a B&B in Viterdo where we head tomorrow and got an email from 'booking com' saying she had omitted entering our arrival time and this could result in losing the room and being charged a fee. This was totally ridiculous and Moira emailed back saying as such, she also emailed the B&B with our probable time of getting there but pointed out as we were walking the VF it wouldn't be accurate. We await a reply.
We listened to some catch-up programmes on the radio and it was after 9 pm when we finally turned out the light. It was comfortable and quiet giving us a good night's sleep.