We’re in the mountains and their cool breezes and shaded sanctuaries draw us up easily into their welcoming embrace. We walk along the highway for a while until a familiar sign leads us off one way through low bushes and then another up into the hillside, through some small quiet villages until we reach one holding a trail bike rally. While stopping at a noisy cafe (not by Italian standards) – about 8 people, I started to sing ‘sol o mio’ very loudly for about 20 seconds – no-one noticed.

Further up into the hills and for us it’s tough, for our French friends not so bad, but now using new muscles. They are making life for us a little easier as they book us in with them each day – saves looking when we arrive. So we arrive today (after our now usual 6 hours at 1230 and before the sun gets too hot) at our new home. It is our first dormitory with only 2 pleasant and quiet German men.

Dormitories have to be quiet as there is nearly always someone sleeping as there is now at 2.00pm. We’ve showered in the 1 bathroom available – dried ourselves with our old t-shirt – I’ve done our washing while Corrie under doctor’s advice airs her blisters and keeps her feet up high. Everyone now resting, writing blogs or sleeping in an arched, cool, stone tunnel-like room flanked by an ancient cloister and garden, with about 20 beds. Our host Enrica is a hoot as she loudly explains in Italian – to those who spoke little or none – in that colourful hand waving way that sometimes needs no voice. Her energy stark, in it’s contrast to that of the sore weary walkers.

Sitting in a small leafy setting under a huge tree across from the village bar, we listened as the locals sang loudly. Some songs were about foreign walkers accompanied by a lot of laughter and finger waving, so I guess there are things they like about us and things they don’t.

We have a kitchen tonight so Sabine is the chef, I will prepare dessert and Corrie and Bertrand will be kitchen hands – dinner will be served under the archways.