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Friday 21 October

After a late start (woke up at 9:20!) and no shower, just an hour in bed rereading my diary since I arrived in Todi, then shopping in two stores, I was low or out of pretty much everything, now waiting for the pasta water to boil so I can have lunch then hit the roads since weather though cloudy is warm —

Back at 5-ish — the weather was not warm — first, to catch up on yesterday:

On the train to Terni, an earnest young man studying computers, reading a computer book in English, sparked a conversation about learning languages — On the train to Rome, an old man and possibly his son, not very educated either one of them, the son having asked what I was reading (il Terenzio) then asked if it was a mystery story. . . Big American flag on the front of his jacket, thought the U.S. was the niftiest place in the world. Never of course been there.

Arriving at Rome, I sought out Alessandro's brother's trattoria at 10, via Milazzo. A hole-in-the‑wall with a large television set into the wall, Italian version of Candid Camera, considerably more risqué than the U.S. one, rather entertaining. Food OK but for 16000₤ in downtown Rome, that's fine. The pasta (rigatoni al sugo) was even pretty good. At the end of my meal, the dark mustachioed cook came out and ate with his waiter, he was Armando, I told him Alessandro from the skating rink had sent me, he looked very puzzled: I was the one to tell him his brother had taken up iceskating —

Train to the rink was late in arriving in Rome, later still leaving; got to the rink a bit late but let my exercises run on into ice time; as a result all of my ice time was taken up by my lesson. For some reason I was particularly obtuse — stupid — yesterday; maybe results will show anyway. Only the very last item, the edge rolls, were really getting anywhere: they're getting good.

The 6:45 session was the preAlpha-FS1 group: pretty colors, fun to watch. It helped me see just how far I've come.

Train to Terni unevent­ful. In Terni, I went to my usual restaurant, "Lo Sfizio" and had my usual Thursday seafood appetizers, also a collection of fried things (olive, cheese, rice dumpling, potatoes) and a fizzy water.

Bus to Todi unevent­ful — has it ever? been event­ful? — except at the end I walked a man to his hotel the Fonte Cesia, he had to stop and rest once — about my age —

Predictably, I felt terrific when I got back home. Slept well.

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Now for today's walk.

Stepping out of the building at 12:30 exactly,​1 in my blues and a thin sports shirt, I felt cool but thought it would warm up as I got going. True to an extent, but a cool at first, but colder and colder and finally bitter NW wind arose after a half hour and never let up; at times 35 mph is my guess, at least once I was nearly swept off my feet. I stubbornly kept my shirt off until I turned back, then did put it on.

[image ALT: A medieval church under pine trees in a small village. It is a view of Petroro, a frazione of the comune of Todi, in Umbria (central Italy).]

The 14c church of Petroro under the pines.

Duesanti is of no interest. Petroro a mile or so later on the windswept crests is quite lovely, almost completely medieval, an attractive church, stone houses, pines, flowers, medieval ramparts. Quite taken by the place. Views stunning thruout. As it got colder and colder (skin temperature must have been 45 at times) I realized that the reasonable thing to do, not because of time or fatigue, but because of the cold, would be to change plan; so when I saw a sign back to San Damiano, I opted to return rather than go on to Grutti as planned. San Damiano is of mild interest — a medieval tower, some nice overly redone houses — but the views on the road to it and from it almost all the way were just short of miraculous: Todi like a mirage​a against a vast backdrop of layers upon layers of mountains, the whole thing in delicate cold greys like a Chinese screen, incredible. The side views on the other hand were still in the umber, tawny, and green palette and liberally dotted, no matter where the eye rested, with medieval towers and castles and walled villages, six or seven visible at any one time (and six or seven more behind) —

Anyhow I got back to the Piazza by about 5:10, so the whole walk took 4h40m. A little more tired than I should be, for an estimated 21 km (even allowing 40 minutes for stops — only in Petroro really — 5 km/h is slow, too); still, immediately on getting back to the apartment, I did 112 situps, a new record and a few more than where I'm supposed to be today to make it 150 by the time I leave Italy, so I'm not that tired.

[. . .] after my walk 79 = 174, and after a meal of an apple and half a small loaf of walnut bread with Gorgonzola, some fizzy water and a few grapes, 80 = 176. The walnut bread very good, just bread with small pieces of walnut in it, no sugar at all. Tozzetti con vin santo in bed when I started writing this.

And that's about it for today, except that something is the matter with the hot water, I couldn't get a hot bath and it would certainly have been nice tonight: water ran cool within 2 minutes, also rust-colored and sputtering.

Apparently I won't be hitting 1000 or even 800 km of walking by the time I leave. I have 18 hikable days left and I'm at 244 km; that would be a required average of 42 or 31 km a day, and I will want to go back to Perugia and to spend a full day in Spello, that's 2 days short with 0 km right there. Bad weather, skating days, and waiting for the phone to ring will all reduce my mileage, too. Of course if the weather looks real bad any given day, I'll just go skating instead. I've got to come back to Chicago with some decent crossovers and that 3‑turn would be nice. I've also got to allow 1 day for cleaning up the apartment and packing; and I've got to — obligatorily — come up with a nice gift for Eleanor [. . .]

Note in the Diary:

1 after a large lunch of spaghetti with garlic and olive oil and artichokes —

Later Note:

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This is when I took the picture, opposite, that wound up one of my favorites — and serving as the icon for the "Todi and Surroundings" section of my website.

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Page updated: 7 Dec 20