The routine is natural to us, it’s both easy and uncomplicated. We wake up between 5:30-6 a.m. and are walking just as soon as we get out the door. Ideally there’s a bar/caffé between 5-8 km into the walk for a breakfast stop. If I have to wait until 10km, I’m cranky and if there’s no food along the way I’m…let’s not talk about it. We can usually find something. However, sometimes we can only find food once a day. This trail is not like the Camino de Santiago where there’s food about every 5-7 km, sometimes the food on this trail is quite scarce.
Yesterday, while walking to Siena there was only one stop for food for our 20 km walk. It was a roadside stand with a great guy, Marcello, who created this food stand in front of his house. Marcello and his cake and cappuccino were a huge blessing. He only accepts donations.
Once we finish the walk, usually between noon – 2 p.m., the routine continues. This part reminds me of RVing when we arrive at a new campground. Everyone needs to leave us alone while we back up the rig and get it set up. Similarly, when we arrive at our accommodation for the night, we can’t get distracted by stores, wine, food, or a festival which was the case in Monteriggioni.
When we check into a new place, we show our passports, pay for the night so we don’t have to worry about it in the morning, learn how to use the keys, and understand what’s expected while we’re there. Once that’s done the next step is critical unless we’re hungry or there’s a festival like in Monteriggioni. In case you’re not sure yet, the festival really tried to distract us and throw off our routine. Wait until that YouTube video is out, wow!
Once we’re settled into our room it’s time to hand wash today’s clothes so they have plenty of time to dry and grab a shower before anyone else has to smell us. At that point we are free to wander around the town, go to the church, peek in the shops (though nothing can be purchased unless they can ship it home), and of course, find more food.
The goal is to be in bed by 9 p.m. so we can do it all again, unless there’s a festival outside your window. I’m all for a good distraction, you know that, but right now I’m in a pilgrim zone as we attempt to finish the last two weeks strong. The festival in Monteriggioni was a nice distraction in the walled village with only two streets but the main stage was right outside of our unair-conditioned room and it went on until well after midnight. That is tough on a pilgrim.
Once we got to Siena we were both tired from the late night but the distractions were everywhere and so were the tourists. Just getting to our accommodation meant dancing around tourists who randomly stop in the middle of the street for a photo of anything. I want the photos too but not with my backpack on. And if you bump into me, I will leave sweat in your clothes.
I will admit, tourists are exhausting. I’m thankful I don’t live in a tourist town. Deciding to take a rest day in a tourist town isn’t for every pilgrim. I get it. There’s so much to do but what we need to do is recuperate and rest our feet.
Our rest day regimen includes: Sleep in, wander around until lunch, take a nap, work some/watch Netflix, grab dinner, and get to bed at a reasonable time. However, in a tourist town that means we can pick only a few things to see or we will wear ourselves out!
Siena is no exception but we managed it successfully! The city guide brochure is 27 pages long and has the city broken up into 3 areas. 😳 We left our room about 9:15 a.m. and did our best wandering until fresh pizza was calling our name. After lunch we took a 3 hour nap. Oh my gosh, that was the best part of my day! Haha!
Of course, since we’re accustomed to the late dinner, we had our la passa giata (evening stroll) this evening around the Piazza del Campo and followed our noses to a good meal. Our wallets paid the price for the lack of planning but it was worth it for the vibe. We have a 25 km walk tomorrow and it’s going to be 92°f/33°c tomorrow so no sleeping in for us!
This has been our routine for 45 days. Yes, 45 days! (Note: We’ve been on pilgrimage for 45 days but the title reflects our walking day count to follow our YouTube videos.) It feels natural to us to the point where it will be strange when we’re not walking. But that thought brings me to tears and it’s a blog for another day. For now I will focus on the pleasure of our final 12 days of walking. Rome will be here too soon.
Walking stats from San Gimignano to Monteriggioni included 12 km of walking and 15 km by taxi
- Lodging at Castello Casa per ferie Maria Assunta with a private room – €74
Walking stats from Monteriggioni to Sienna – 20.74 km
- Lodging for 2 nights in a tourist town at La Terrazza Sul Campo-Rooming house – €226
*Listing our accommodation is not an endorsements. 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.