VF Day 25-26: Two Bees, a Swarm of Flies, and Relentless Gnats

VF Day 25-26: Two Bees, a Swarm of Flies, and Relentless Gnats

Jun 28, 2022 | All Blog Posts, Via Francigena | 4 comments

I’m always excited for new scenery, entering the Apennine Mountains was no exception after the long, flat days of the Po Valley. I’m like a kid who is excited but forgets every time how much work the mountains can be to hike.

I can’t talk more about a balanced life yet (see last blog post). Right now, I feel like an amateur hiker again. I’m tired and I need a nap after the constant up and down of the day. The views have been good but the mileage between villages is long and the mileage of the stages is even longer. I’m trying to embrace the longer days and the climbs, it’s what I wanted, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy every moment of every day.

Yesterday we hiked on loose gravel with inclines both up and down at over a 50% grade at times. It was steep, wait until you see the YouTube video about it (it will be linked at the bottom when it’s out). We were having fun with it, laughing and joking a lot, until the third big hill and then the trail got silent. We were both exhausted, the elevation map didn’t look nearly as tough as the actual trail, and we were each having our own silent pissy fits.

Can see how steep this was?!

Then came the bees. They would not leave me alone, I was swinging my polls around like a mad woman. Next came the flies, crap, they were intense. I hated the entire world. And of course, because they haven’t left me alone in over in a week, there were the relentless knats. Gnats that looked like tornado tunnels passing by and through me. Why, oh why, did it have to be all three?

I couldn’t stop walking for fear they would land on me. It wasn’t enjoyable to stop and look around. I kept walking. I kept trying to outpace these treacherous beasts. I would have paid a lot of money for my hiking pole to turn into a fly swatter!

Deconstruction is the ultimate test of a true warrior!

Despite all of that, it was those stupid, relentless, swarms of insects that got me through a tough day. I’m not going to thank them, let’s not go that far. Brian didn’t have to pull out the bee sting kit so there’s that good news.

We accomplished another mountain pass, another goal, and for that I am thankful. We also surpassed our halfway mark of walking 50 total days on this trip. Tomorrow: We hike again, we climb again. That’s just the pilgrimage we’re on. Maybe in the end I will feel like the warrior I know I am deep inside.

The views as we start to enter Tuscany

Here’s the link to the YouTube video to Cella. Here’s the link to the video to Fronovo di Taro.

Walking stats from Fidenza to Cella – 17.1 km

  • Lodging – Fraternità Francescana di Betania – donation based, included lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next morning

Walking stats from Cella to Fronovo di Taro – 18.8 km

  • Lodging – La Vecchia Quercia Bed and Breakfast – €80

*Listing our accommodation is not an endorsement. This is just a point of information for fellow pilgrims. See our reviews on Booking.com, the guidebooks, and fellow pilgrims for more details to make the decision best for you.


  1. Cathy Mahoney

    Michelle do you mind me asking what influenced your starting in Aigle

    • The Colemans

      Hi Cathy,
      The decision was based on how many days we had before we had to be in Rome. We wanted at least a week of rest days so that was included. Also, we wanted a few flat days before climbing the St. Bernard Pass. We wanted to start in Lausanne but we were already pushing it because of these long stage days on the route. Hope that helps!

      • Cathy Mahoney

        Great thanks for response.
        I am planning to start in Lausanne and enjoying 1st week in Switzerland and all its beauty

        • The Colemans

          I wish we would have spent more time there and skipped a bit of the Po Valley. However, Switzerland really blew our budget.


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