09 May Stage 18 Part 1: Cruising to Fonti Del Clitunno
It’s around 13:30 on 9/9/2017 as we leave Trevi on the road to Fonti del Clitunno. Stage 18 of the Way of St Francis has begun. We’re on the bright side of the hill and the sun is baking us. The walk has gone very well today. We haven’t lost the path once! At least, not up to now. We head to the ridge and the town of Bovara. Behind us, Trevi lies bathed in the afternoon sun. A beautiful valley lies before us. Walking down the hill we can vaguely make out Spoleto dead ahead under distant gathering clouds.
Being finally fit enough frees me from being too self-pre-occupied. It allows a lot of time to think. My family passes through my mind, not for the first time. Lydia, my wife would simply love being here. The peace and quiet would be the best for her but the hiking would kill her. My daughter, Estelle, will love being here. She would love not only the scenery but also the walking. Charl, my son, has not yet discovered the joys of hiking in nature yet, although he would probably enjoy the challenge. How I would love to share the beauty of Italy with them.
From Bovara to Clitunno
I realise that my optimism at not losing the path today was a bit premature. We have walked into Bovara. Niels consults the GPS and we make the necessary course corrections. We find our way back to the yellow arrows as instructed by Sandy Brown in Trekking the Way of St Francis (pages 175-6). Fortunately, we haven’t lost too much time during the detour.
“Hey, there’s old Clitunno himself,” Niels quips, pointing at an old man.
I laugh. “He looks a bit dry for a River God.”
Opposite Fonti del Clitunno is the Green Garden Bar. The Italian bikers are out in force. It seems as if the entire front section of the carpark is taken up by bikes. There must be at least 50 bikers gathered there.
We walk the cycle path to the ruins of an old temple (feature image). On the ridge above, we can see the castle of Campello Alto. We carry on till we reach our inn. The time is 15:40. Apart from the traffic, there is a deathly silence. We see a sign saying the restaurant opposite it opens at 19:00. We walk around the front of the albergo and find to our great relief that the café bar is open. We take the weight off our feet and shoulders and get ourselves an espresso and a croissant each.
A Procession of Bikers
While we’re having our refreshments, the bikers do a spectacular drive past. The first of them pass, and I grab my Xperia, thinking the procession will be over before I can have the Canon ready. There are so many, I manage three shots of different sections before the last stragglers pass.
Silence returns. The woman behind the counter tries to tell us something. I gather that the innkeeper will be here soon to book us in. He comes. We book in and wash.
Today’s trek to Fonti Del Clitunno chewed into Stage 18 by not ending in Trevi. We’re already just over 6 km* into that stage as set out by Sandy Brown in Trekking the Way of St Francis. We are walking the stages according to how Caminoways booked us – the same route as Brown’s, with minor differences in where we start and finish.
The distance we’ve covered is 23 km, only because we lost the path in Bovara. Had that not happened we would’ve walked a practically identical to Brown’s call for Stage 17. The degree of difficulty was moderate as he classifies it. We started at Foligno, at the lowest altitude between Spello and Trevi. Instead of walking from hill to hill, we’ve walked from valley to valley. Thus, the ascents were more or less the same – about 429 metres. The same goes for the descents of the whole of Stage 17 – 243 meters. So, we didn’t face any special pains.
At 19:00 we go for supper. While sitting there and enjoying our meal the sun sets. As it gets dark I can see a single solitary light in the monastery on the hill. At exactly 20:00 the light goes out. We get ourselves to bed.
*Conversions from Metric to Imperial
6km = ~3.72 miles
23km = ~14.3 miles