“Guys, for New Year’s Eve I’m out.
I’m going to finish the Via Francigena!”
No. It’s not me.
Davide – one of my best friends and housemate – is telling me and Stefano (the third of the group) his intention to spend some days after Christmas regenerating himself on this famous pilgrimage road, walking the last 300 kms between Buonconvento and Rome.
“Dado, what if I join you?”
“Sure, Vieri … but can you manage it?”
Two summers ago I gave up my first Via Francigena attempt, after only 7 days, in Gambassi Terme.
Davide remembers that.
An amazing experience I had to stop due to blisters and weak determination.
I remember how I loved walking through silent valleys and small villages together with myself, my thoughts and my breath.
I enjoyed every hill and every wood, but my knees couldn’t stand – for it was August – all the flat long roads and the downhills.
“If only I had a bicycle!” – I was repeating myself continuosly, convincing my feet to abandon the project long before I thought.
It was hard for me admitting the defeat and giving up.
“Yes, don’t worry, im not walking with you … I’m coming with my bicycle!”
Smiling, I can already imagine myself on the road again. But free in the way I like.
“Perfect! We leave December 26th!”
And so the day after Christmas – still smelling panettone and sparkling wine – I start the preparation.
My Backpack: a sleeping bag, sports clothing, relax clothing, a toilet case, a towel, mp3, book, palying cards, pipe, GoPro, front light, chargers and a swimsuit (you never know).
My Brompton: a wooden crossbar on the back of the saddle as backpack support, a portable pump, an extra inner tube, a 15mm spanner, belts and straps to fix everything.
Me: nothing more than a jacket, some comfy trousers, a wallet, a wool hat … and the desire to pedal for a while.
No need to think about the rest. Davide already did it!
Transportations, stages, hostels … everything has alredy been arranged.
All I have to do – this time – is follow my friend’s program, deciding day by day where to go, taking some extra roads and visiting some other villages on my own, and keep going.
In order to be ready on the path in Buonconvento on 27th morning, Davide thought up an ingenious but quite devilish plan:
- Night Bus from Milan to Rome
- Train at dawn from Rome to Grosseto
- Regional train from Grosseto to Buonconvento
At 9.30 pm, in Lampugnano Station, a giant night-blue-bus is waiting for us.