Several times in the past few weeks I’ve mentioned how much I love hiking and traveling. It’s time to show not tell. I’m re-posting this account of our last trip to Italy, which I posted soon after I started blogging when I had so few readers I know none of you have read it…
Even though we ate multi-course meals and gelato (oh my the gelato…) every day for three weeks, we didn’t gain weight, because we walked everywhere, and in Italian hill towns walking includes stairs like these…
A few of the walks which were challenging.
1. To get to the top of the Duomo, in Milan meant a climb of about two hundred steps winding round and round a very narrow tower. I was dizzy, nauseous, and tired when I got to the top, but it was worth it.
I have no idea how this woman climbed all those stairs in these shoes…
I loved my new walking shoes. They were perfect.
I can report honestly that with all the walking we did over the three weeks, I didn’t get blisters, or any kind of foot problem. My feet said thank you, even after a day spent walking on the uneven cobblestone streets.
2. San Gimignano
“a walled medieval hill town in Tuscany, famous for its towers, was a thriving stop on the pilgrims route to Rome until 1348 when the plague killed off about 2/3 of the population.”
My friend Annette and I decided to climb the almost two hundred stairs of the Civic Museum tower (the highest in San Gimignano).
Though I walked all the way to the top, I don’t know whether I’d be able to do it again. The steps at the lower floors were ordinary, worn stone stairs, but a recent renovation added a ‘modern‘ [hah!], see-through fire-escape style stair in the tower, plus the last flight was up a ladder attached to the wall!
If you have a fear of heights, don’t even think of trying it – Annette turned back after a couple of flights. I decided to face my fear, and climbed all the way to the top.
It was well worth the climb as the view was fantastic
Going up wasn’t too bad, but coming down was so scary, my legs wobbled with each step, because if I looked down, I could see through the gaps between the steel steps all the way down to the bottom. I was so terrified I didn’t even think of using my camera.
I got to the bottom by literally hanging onto the railing, taking each step slowly-and-carefully-one-at-a-time, not looking where I placed my feet, and ignoring the kids running down past me even though I knew must’ve looked very funny.
3. The walk to our room in Vernazza, one of the Cinque Terre villages:
Private cars are not allowed in any of the old village streets in the Cinque Terre.
In Vernazza we had to park at the top of the hill, and lug our bags, coats, and picnic lunch about a kilometer to the town’s main square opposite the train station where we met the woman renting us a room.
She spoke no English, we understood by her gestures that we were to pick up our stuff and follow her.
First there was this flight of twenty stairs which wound round at the top…
Then we walked along this “street” …
to another flight of twenty steep stone stairs, which led to an even narrower passage than the one pictured at the left (you can’t be claustrophobic in these towns), up thirty steep stairs, until the final eight small steps which branched off to the front door of the house.
Once inside, there were another seventeen narrow stairs up to our room.
It was, as I’m sure you’ll agree, well worth it.
to be continued…