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Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Walk to Sarzana

Yesterday, we had some business in Sarzana. We both registered for a free Italian language course beginning in January (something we should have done ages ago) and Susan applied for a teaching position, teaching English. In the interest of research for Babette and Paul’s guide, but also to save petrol and simply because it was a lovely day for a walk, we went on foot.

Going along the official Via Francigena it takes about 1 ½ hours, and Paul you are right, I certainly would not try and take a horse along it and only the most enthusiastic mountain biker would attempt to cycle. The Collo La Brina is situated like a camel hump right across the path, forcing anyone for a short stretch steeply uphill and back downhill again, with lots of loose stones making the going quite tough (see top picture). It’s only a short stretch that is tough though, but since it would be a bit tricky to carry your horse, it’s really for walkers only. Lovely to walk though and definitively the shortest route. At the top of the Collo La Brina is an old castle ruin, the views are spectacular and you get away from everything. The route I take down to Sarzana by bike is a lot easier and keeps you away from the busy Via Cisa until just before Sarzana (see bottom picture approaching Ponzano on the way back). About half of it is paved and the rest is a good dirt track. Only the first few metres look worryingly steep, but the rest is fine. I’ll send you a description.

Today we were back in Arcola on our land. I managed to clear the rest of the bamboo. I never saw Dr. Livingstone, only Tarzan, which was just as well, so he could wrestle down the tiger and the boa constrictor jumping out at me… Now we are left with a huge pile of cut bamboo, and don’t know what to do with it. We’ve already used some of the foliage as mulch for the bean and pea bed that is going to be sown out next week. Maybe I’ll use some of the stakes to build a chicken coop. Maybe we could get some chickens next year. I’m in two minds about that. I’ll probably get into trouble with the neighbour if they wander over there picking his grapes. Also it would mean, we would have to drive over to Arcola every day at least once and for the cost of petrol we could probably be able to buy eggs and chicken meat cheaper from the shop. If only we lived closer to our land…

Some people have been asking me, how come I have so much time to write all of a sudden. Well, business has been very slow recently, what with the ‘credit crunch’ and all, nobody seems to want to buy decent wine. And now, so close to Christmas, all my customers are concentrating on selling, not buying. So we’ve thrown all our energies in working the land and as it gets dark early this time of year, I have all evening to bore you all with our day-to-day life. Well, it doesn’t seem all that boring, as I seem to get an amazing amount of feedback from you all. Thank you for that. Really makes you want to go on with this.


culverwood said...

Just so you know that Paul is not the only one interested in the Via Francigena reading your posts.

I was particularly interested in your bike route off the Cisa road having taken that last summer and not known there was an alternative. Perhaps you could include that in your blog sometime.

Happy Christmas
William Marques

Heiko said...

Hi William,

I'm quite amazed how many people read this! I will put this in sometime in the next couple of weeks. It will all appear in the guide that Paul and Babette are writing though and should be out in April. I've put their web-site in a few days ago.