On my first-ever full day in Italy I decided to hike from Assisi to Spello via the “Path of Olives”. Clutching my just-purchased hiking map of Mt Subasio I set out in the early morning and, after a game of charades with some helpful locals, found my way to Viola. Read the previous post describing the first part of my morning HERE.
9:15am: I arrive in Viola – or, as I like to remember it, “a few stores where two roads meet”. There’s a general store in the middle of the square with a lovely display case of baked goods. I gesture my request to the man behind the counter (“that”, “little bit”, “this too”, “about one inch”, “yes”, “that’s all”), pick up a bottle of what I think is iced tea and walk back outside. Now I have a choice: I can either go back down the hill where I know eventually I’ll find the main road that would lead me to Spello, or I can take another road that seems to lead up the mountain a bit. Still with my heart set on finding the “Path of Olives”, I set out up the mountain.
Now, I will admit I can at times be a completely ignorant human being. I had no idea what these pretty, dark trees with the small grey-green leaves were. If I had, perhaps I would’ve felt a bit more secure in my decision.
As it was, I quickly realized that even if this wasn’t the “Path of Olives” I had read about, it definitely was going to be a more scenic route than the general road. The view over the valley was picturesque and I think I snapped about a hundred pictures of the same thing until the groves of trees started to block my line of sight.
Homes dotted the side of the mountain, all with these mysterious trees planted in rows outside of them. Beautiful homes with beautiful views in the middle of beautiful countryside on a beautiful, Spring day.
I decided this would be my future summer house.
Did I mention I would have horses?
10am: I saw a street sign in the distance – the first one I had seen since leaving Assisi, in fact – and pulled out my hiking map with a hope of figuring out where exactly I was. I had been traveling down the same road for almost an hour and there had been no side paths; the only option was forward or back. This street sign marked a spot where a road led down from further up the mountain. When I got closer and could make out the words I wanted to jump up and click my heels!
I’d found it! The road I’ve been walking on from Viola was indeed the “Path of Olives”! So I guess that would make all of these trees olive trees… d’oh.
Now I could locate the road I was on on my map, but I still wasn’t sure exactly how far I’d walked. Did I need to cut down to the main road soon in order to get to the winery in time for my 12:30 tour? Well, unless I was going to start jumping fences I would just have to keep walking anyway, so I kept on, happily listening to the birds chirping and the wind blowing through the trees. There was no other sound to be heard other than my own footfalls. Absolute bliss.
Then it got interesting. Stay tuned.