Tuesday 25 November.
Our hotel was inscribed with the saying 'est, est ,est', but so were lots of other bars, restaurants and hotels. It was based on the legend of a nobleman who sent his servant on ahead to towns to find out where the good wines were served and to mark them with 'est' meaning here. When the servant came to Montefiascone he marked the inn with 'est, est, est' as the quality was so high and there the nobleman drank himself to death. All establishments advertising with the symbols no doubt claiming the excellent wine was served there. His body is buried in one of the chapels in town.
There wasn't any email from 'booking.com' or the B&B in reply to our suggested time of arrival and if everything was now all right. Moira checked and found that she could cancel this booking without penalty. She did this and booked us into another hotel. It was bit more expensive but we didn't need the hassle.
They didn't serve the breakfast in the hotel, we were directed instead to 'Il Cafe' in the piazza and to tell them we were from the Albergo Dante. The woman there didn't seem very interested in serving us and when she got round to it breakfast consisted of a cup of coffee and a croissant. After our meagre meal we headed for the Cathedral di Santa Mergherita to see if the light was better inside now. This time we couldn't get in, the door shut and locked so we were disappointed yet again. The route wasn't far from the Cathedral and it was a climb up to view point above the dome of the Cathedral and a view of the Lago di Bolsena stretching out in the distance.
Also at the viewpoint was a ruined tower, Torre de Pelligrino and the Rocca dei Papi, the papal residency during the 12-16th centuries. Cicerone said that the waymarking wasn't very good and we had the iPad handy to follow the instructions from it, but it must have been improved as we found it excellent all the way today and had no problems.
The route took a winding tour round the streets to get down from the hill and then went off-road to pick up a track which soon became the flat flagstones of an old Roman road. As usual it was straight and varied between the cobbled surface and baked earth. I was wearing my new shoes and they seemed comfortable at first but later I felt the left one rubbing on my heel. I stopped and Moira put some tape on it to prevent a blister forming, it was a lot better after that. Looking back Montefiascone was visible for a long time and we could clearly see the town and the dome of the Cathedral on the hilltop. Our started to climb and after dropping down the other side Montefiascone disappeared from view and the countryside was now perfectly flat ahead of us.
It the middle of nowhere was Bagnaccio, thermal springs of sulphurous water. There were a few pools and lots of people were in bathing, the car park outside had a number of motorhomes parked.
The woman at the gate welcomed us and stamped our credentials and said we could come in and look around. To bathe was €5 but we just had a wander about. They served coffee there so we didn't think it would be appreciated if we set up the cooker. The woman said that the 'vans in the car park could stay overnight free; we might come here sometime with our 'van and take the waters. When we left we didn't go far, just round the corner and sat at the fence where I made the coffee.
It was only another 7 km to Viterbo on a smooth flat track all the way. We made good time and were in the outskirts of the city in an hour. Before reaching the main road there was an enormous cemetery and it was a strange structure. The tombs were in what Cicerone observed as a 'more a cross between futuristic blocks of council flats and an industrial estate than a traditional burial ground', a fair description. When we reached the road into Viterbo centre it was horrendous and thick with traffic. Fortunately there were the on and off ramps to a motorway close-by and after that it eased a bit. There was also a pavement after that and it made life a bit easier. Next to a roundabout there was a sign to a Coop hyper market, but we had difficulties finding a way in for pedestrians, we went in by the car ramp to the underground carpark. I was looking for another canister of gas for the cooker but they only had the type that you pierce, I was under the impression that type was illegal for safety reasons. We left and headed for the old town in search for our hotel. On the way there was a shop selling big cylinders of gas, we tried there and found what we were looking for. We now have enough gas to last us until we return home.
The map on the iPad was working, giving our location and a pin for the hotel. It didn't take long to find it and there was no messing with copying passports, that was done later. We were given the key and the lift took us up to our room. They had Sky TV and good WiFi but there wasn't any hot water. The receptionist said there was a fault and it would be OK by 2 pm. I made a cup of coffee and we had it with cheese sandwiches for lunch. We relaxed and watched Sky News in English on the TV then went for a walk.
We traced where the route goes for the morning then strolled up to the piazza at the portal where we had entered the old town. Viterbo was a bit of a dump and didn't have the charm of some of the places we have visited recently. This used to be the winter residence of the popes during their 12-16th century exile from Rome. One book we read said that they must have missed the lectures on a life of poverty due to the opulence of the place but none of it was apparent to us. Moira was going to head back to the Coop we had been to earlier to shop for dinner but it was starting to rain slightly. Moira had all her rain gear on and continued but I went back to the hotel only having my fleece on.
I complained about the lack of hot water again and the receptionist was very apologetic and indicated that the mechanic was busy working on it and she would phone the room when it was repaired. Moira came back after a long time in the supermarket, especially at the checkout. She said that pregnant women got priority in the queue and one was led right to the front with a trolley laden with a month's shopping. The same applies for the disabled and she had to wait while a woman in a wheelchair was put ahead of her. She got a packet of minestrone soup and roast chicken which we had with cous cous for dinner.
Moira had recovered from the touch of cold she had the other day now I was starting to suffer. My nose was feeling raw and my throat starting to get sore. It felt like hay fever but it's the wrong time of year. I had a shower, the water was now hot, then took an anti- histamine pill and some pain killers and got into bed early. We listened to the radio via the Internet until 8 pm then turned out the light, Moira was tired as well. I had a very good night's sleep, the mixture of pills helped.