Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Friday 9 September 2016 - A Day Of Leisure in Pontremoli and La Spezia

After ending our GEA exertions above the village of Patigno and with the luxury of La Catinella, today we enjoyed a slow start by catching the 9.15 bus for a 45 minute ride down narrow twisty roads to the interesting town of Pontremoli. We had five hours there before another 45 minute ride, this time in a Trenitalia air conditioned coach, to the port of La Spezia and air conditioned rooms (this is important) at Hotel Mary, opposite the station, where we are to spend our final two nights of this trip.

Pontremoli is a lovely small town slightly overlooked by a motorway carrying traffic that must have previously overrun the place.

We wandered down ancient streets with ornamental lintels, stopping for a coffee at a Swiss café before ambling up to the Piagnaro Castle past some wonderfully ornate benches. A fine exhibition of Stele statues (mysterious pagan sculptures dating from as long ago as 5000BC) held our attention for some time, aided by the English translation headphones. Then a wander around the castle ramparts, many of which contained what appeared to be private apartments, before adjourning for lunch at San Francesco il Lupo restaurant.

After that, La Spezia beckoned. It's a busy naval and commercial port as well as being a gateway to the famous Cinque Terre area. A tourist trap. Very busy. We dined in a pizzeria that did salads, sitting next to a lady from Florida and with a 'you've been framed' sort of programme on TV in the background.

There will be more in a slide show, but the top two pictures were taken in Pontremoli,  the bottom one is near the sea front at La Spezia. 


bowlandclimber said...

I've been following with interest. We walked the GEA in Sept 2011 in a heat wave with temperatures in the 30s most days, people were dying in Rome in 40+ temperatures. Of course we didn't realise and just thought we were going slow. We had difficulty keeping up with Gillian's timings and her height gains were well out - is the new edition better? Lovely route and lovely people. Devastating about the earthquake.
Safe journey home.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks BC. We found the route to be excellent, with the days short enough to avoid having to rush to get to our destination by beer o'clock despite Graham's tendency to race ahead. Gillian's timings were pretty accurate for us. ViewRanger indicated she was a bit conservative on the ascent stats, but when I download the Garmin data I'm sure that will be much closer to Gillian's figures. There were very few long climbs though as (no doubt you will recall) the path maintains a good height of 1500 to 2000 metres, just high enough to be above 'The Heat'.
We were well away from the earthquake, the news coverage of which was very similar to that in the UK.