Wednesday 26 November.
I had a good night's sleep and felt a lot better in the morning. The hotel breakfast was good, muesli, yoghurt, croissants and a nice help-your-self coffee. It was 7:30 am when we got away, the weather was dry though there was supposed to be rain on the way. The forecast was right and it wasn't long before it began to come down gently. We put up the covers over our rucksacks before it got heavier, which it did after half an hour. We ended up get very wet and my rain jacket is beginning to leak.
The other end of Viterbo had some historic buildings and a big church that was more attractive than the section we looked at yesterday.The road dropped down and kept going down which was surprising as we didn't remember climbing up that much yesterday.
The route then entered a minor road, Strada Signorino, it was cut through rock and the faces shear on both sides. This road ran for some distance and it must have been very labour intensive cutting through the rock for such a small road that was also very old. The route followed a motorway most of the day; initially after leaving the Strada Signorino it ran beside this highway but later after crossing under it from side to side we moved into an off-road track through near-by olive groves. The rain was getting heavier and the underfoot conditions very wet and muddy.
It was 17 km to our destination of Vetralla and no villages or hamlets in between. With the continuous rain we were unable to have a stop so kept going all the way. We got to the outskirts of the town just after 11 am so had made good time even In the poor conditions. As we climbed a hill to the town centre there was a sign pointing the way to our hotel. Albergo da Benedetta. It was fortunate as there were a few turns and twists in little streets to get there and we would have had trouble finding it without the series of arrows.
When we reached the hotel it looked all shut up. Moira pressed the bell on the gate and eventually got a response, the voice said something like 'wait a minute'. We expected somebody to come from inside but nobody appeared. I then noticed that the gate was partially open, I thought maybe somebody had opened it automatically, we went in. At least we were able to shelter from the rain under a large porch; we got put of our wet gear and waited. The hotel was closed but at least we were in a dry place. After a few minutes a car arrived outside and a man came in. It was a long job as he transcribed our passport details, produced a town map and marked it with all the places to eat and visit, then informed us about breakfast and WiFi password. After all that we got the key to our room and could get out of all our wet clothes. We had the hotel all to ourselves, the man had left in his car again.
I made a cup of coffee and then had a shower. The water took a while to get hot but it came through eventually and it was refreshing. The WiFi turned out to be very good and I tuned into the radio. Later Moira made a packet of soup that she bought yesterday and there were eggs that we had hard boiled this morning. After lunch we relaxed for an hour then went for a walk. The rain had stopped and some patches of blue were now showing in the sky but we had our rain gear on just in case. Following the map we were given it was a twisty course through small streets and alleys down to the main road, the Via Cassia again. We crossed and made our way up the hill on the other side to the old historic town. At the top there was a sign pointing the way tomorrow for the VF heading out of town. In the other direction there were narrow streets, the crenelated tower of an old castle and an a big ugly looking church which was closed; nothing much else. We made our way back down to the main road and found the supermarket that was marked for us on the map. After stocking up with a few essentials and something for dinner we headed back to the hotel.
We spent the rest of the afternoon in the room listening to the radio and reading. For dinner we had what was left of the chicken from last night with curry flavoured cous cous. Later we heard people downstairs and somebody else going to one of the rooms, so we didn't have the place to ourselves. Otherwise it was quiet. The heating was good and everything was now dry, there is to be more rain tomorrow then sunny for our last few days into Rome.