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Thursday, 20 October

Scribble, scribble.

Peculiar and not really very satisfactory day yesterday (it's now 9:50 A.M. and I've basically just woken up, sitting in bed this cloudy morning with my cup of coffee weighing 78 = 172).

The idea was to walk to the suburb of Marsciano marked on the maps as Ammeto, then cross the Tiber by the road to Piedicolle also as marked on the new map of Umbria distributed by the Azienda, then to return to Todi via Pantalla, Ripaioli, Cacciano and Ilci.

Well, the map was wrong; or at least apparently, since opinions differed at Ammeto: but there, I came to believe, no bridge near Piedicolle so ungamblerlike I didn't do the extra miles which might have frustrated me if so.

The day was lovely, high apparently of 70° and full sun; I got in my weird blues and marsupio,º also figured out how to attach a small plastic bag to the belt of the marsupio without it swinging back and forth, about 200g of almond cookies in it for starch; and after a breakfast, weighing 3 pounds, of mostly various pasta with the end of the Parmesan but also the end of the headcheese and a carrot and some yogurt — cleanup of leftovers — I left at 10:10 to Ponte Rio; where I took a field path the first time instead of the long dull stretch of highway thru Pian di Porto, but otherwise went to Montemolino the usual way.

[image ALT: A view, taken from the metal parapet of a modern road bridge, tranquil river about 25 meters wide, edged with trees; in the background a low wooded hill. It is a view of rural Umbria near Montemolino.]

Crossed the Tiber at Montemolino on the metal bridge, whose pedestrian shoulders with their low metal railings camber outwards which is very unpleasant, giving me a definite fear of height and the feeling I want to jump —

The walk to Fratta along the busy road is dull. Fratta is nothing much either, altho' they're restoring what they have (the bishops' 'palace'): a few medieval towers, a piece of ramparts, a few old nooks, but not as nice as say Cecanibbi or, certainly, Collazzone.

The walk from Fratta to Ammeto, as I expected from the map, was even duller: a longish stretch of perfectly, straight, flat, motorway. Lots of arabis in bloom — it's a weed here — the 'unimproved' kind, obviously fragrant and nicer than the garden kind available in the States (with a 30% chance of my being mistaken somewhere in all that, i.e., maybe it's not arabis, maybe the U. S. garden kind is nicer, etc. — fat botanist I am! especially since I almost never recognize anything unless it's blooming . . . !)

Ammeto has lost its identity and appears at the end of this road as "Marsciano" while within ten yards of the city sign another sign tells you, which is true, that the center of Marsciano is 2 km off —

And here's where opinions differ: a pair of highschoolers said that yes a street off the road called "via di Piedicolle" did in fact go there; so did an older woman who lives on it 200 yards away; but checking my directions with three teens who also seemed to live on it, another 500 m away and after several possible unmarked crossroads, they were emphatic that there is no bridge: as indeed my 1942 military map indicating a 'crossing'. They said there was an old bridge in ruins,​a there used to be a ferry, but the nearest bridge is 4 km N of Marsciano. That would have lengthened my outing from an est. 38 km to 38 + (2 × 6) = 50 km: not enough time, and not in good enough shape to be comfortable —

Although disappointing, this sounded convincing, so I thanked them and turned around back to Ammeto devising plan B. I only had 3500₤ so I stopped at the train station right there (Stazione di Marsciano) with the idea to inquire about the price before making any decisions, my idea being possibly to see first what downtown Marsciano was like. Just as I entered the station, I heard a whistle from the North, was told Todi was 1800₤, so on immediate impulse bought the ticket, dashed out, jumped on, and 90 seconds not more had passed before my mind had been made up for me.

Got off at Ponte Rio and did my hill, with the feeling that the good Lord must have wanted me back in Todi for something. Walk: 21 km

Never did figure out what — although my left calf, which by the way actually sustained a gash from apparently my other blade which would explain why the rip in the tights, hurt slightly and as the afternoon went by my stomach hurt some, oddly since the only water yesterday was, as it happens, either bottled (1½ l of fizzy S. Benedetto bought near Fratta) or boiled in tea —

Anyway I fell asleep around 4:30, woke up with the stomach ache at 8:15 or so, doctored it success­fully with tea, then read a while, then stayed up adding country data to thousands of towns in my Atlas files, etc. When I stopped, to my surprise it was 3:45 and finally after a cup of warm milk, I slept thru this morning; tummy ache gone, feel OK.

It's now 10:50. I have 1h15m to shower and (optional:) get money from the bank and get to the bus to go skating.

 . . . .

And I did. [. . .]

Details tomorrow. It's just past midnight. [. . .]

Later Note:

a Possibly courtesy of the 1st Fighter Group, U.S. Army Air Corps: a page once online, but now apparently vanished with the continuing shrinkage of the Web, seemed to mention this bridge in Charles P. Hoffman's account of his tour of duty in Italy. Then again, maybe not, or at least not the last bridge to be knocked out here, but the one before it: see diary, May 3, 2004.

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