I was still exhausted from yesterday’s non-stop walk when we set out of sleepy Vetralla to Sutri. But the prospect of passing by Etruscan tombs, the ruins of Torri d’ Orlando (a former monastery) and an ancient amphitheater in Sutri promptly took my feet out of bed straight into my ever reliable trekking shoes. I’m a sucker for Roman ruins, wood forests and blue skies. But alas, Mr. Sun went hiding much of the time on Day 2.
Into the woods we went. From oaks, maple trees to hazelnuts. From asphalt roads to white gravel tracks to dirt paths to improvised log bridges across bubbling streams. From soft uphill climbs to knee-breaking downhills, from grassy knolls to pebbled walkways, from sidewalks to railway crossings to walking on footpaths between nut trees stuck with VF stickers on twigs. There were directions to simply follow a barbed wire fence until it joins up with an asphalt road. Phew!
After some 16 kilometers, we reach the lovely hilltop commune of Capranica. Our dramatic entrance through an archway topped by a clock. Picturesque is how they’d describe Capranica back then. But these days, young ones say “instagrammable”. We found Romanesque bell towers, old stone houses, narrow alleys, winding streets and promontories overlooking Sutri Valley. The famous Fellini movie La Dolce Vita shot some scenes here. Rightly so, as Capranica’s medieval quarter — just like Viterbo’s — presents quite a sight.
It was tempting to stay and linger over our late lunch. Capranica’s la dolce vita vibe would have worked if only we weren’t too tired and it wasn’t too cold. Besides, the prospect of walking 8 more kilometers towards Sutri made us decide on a simple lunch of pizza and roast chicken. The Sweet Life had to wait. And so, we quickly upped and left, walking downhill out of town and once more, walked into the woods.
We didn’t expect what transpired the next few hours. The Walking Notes lied. It took far longer to reach Sutri. And the terrain way too adventurous. The wood forests spilled out into bush land and stream crossings. No one in sight. Very deserted. Up and down and around. Slippery in some areas. Log bridges with not so steady railings. Some balancing act as we crossed the bubbling stream 3x, wary we’d slip each time. Anxieties rose as we meandered around what seemed like a very lush forest.
By the time we reached Sutri’s amphitheater, we’ve walked 46,000 steps. More than 30 kilometers. We were bushed! My little toes were killing me. As there was no chance to change socks or slather some Vaseline on my feet, I felt a blister on my left foot just below the big toe. Yay!
Yet the ordeal lingers. Our Sutri crib is an AgriTurismo B&B far out of town. Having passed the town proper, we needed to walk some more before we can “unshoe” and wiggle our screaming toes. Three of us couldn’t wait and hitched a ride that saved us another 2.5 kilometers. Luckily, we hitched a ride with no less than the hotel owner. Carlotta, his dog, and Valentina, his sister, welcomed us. I promptly ordered a liter of house wine, which I sipped while nursing my feet. 😭
Our feet were cursed this day. Oh the pain. Meds and moleskins to the rescue. When the boys arrived, they readily unshod and put down their tired feet in the icy waters of the pool. Taking a bath was such a chore, as we gingerly walked on the cold tiles. Oh my Lord. I’ve never walked this long and this far in a day in my whole life. I felt crushed. Having a moment is when one realizes sheer willpower can see you through. Physically handicapped but spiritually motivated to finish what was started. Just don’t give me any more blisters. Rather….. Give me more vino!