A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

A walk (with a little run) in Tuscany

on July 16, 2015

Yesterday, I had a break in the afternoon in my conference and decided to head out for a hike, even though I didn’t have my running shoes yet.

Yep, my little Croc flats headed out on this path!

Yep, my little Croc flats headed out on this path!

I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to use the free time to get a little exercise and I’d picked up a pair of workout-ish capris and a t-shirt on my shopping expedition Tuesday, so out I went. I got a map from the hotel front desk for the path between our hotel and the town of Barga, 3 miles away through the valley.

The town of Barga, across the valley from my resort

The town of Barga, across the valley from my resort

This trek was strenuous enough thanks to the hills and the footing, that it totally counts as my long run for the week. I did find myself thinking about my mother frequently because I know that no matter the fact that I’m 37, a mother myself and an experienced travel, she would not be pleased that I headed out alone into a trail that started like this:

Very Indiana Jones-feeling, right?

Very Indiana Jones-feeling, right?

I’ll head back out to the first part of this trail today for a run (I’ve seen my suitcase!) because it was so fun I couldn’t resist running some yesterday, even with my totally inappropriate shoes.

Some sections were too rocky to run, but on stretches like this I couldn't keep my feet on the ground.

Some sections were too rocky to run, but on stretches like this I couldn’t keep my feet on the ground.

After 10-15 minutes through the woods, I came out in a little town (Albiano?) that was absolutely gorgeous. I was entertained to see that the “trail” lead through yards and small alleys so I got very close views of “normal” Italian life.

A walk in Tuscany

After this little town, the directions said “follow the path clearly marked with the red and white signs” and I had to laugh at what was categorized as “clearly marked”:

I had to keep my eyes peeled for these little markers hidden along the side of the path.

I had to keep my eyes peeled for these little markers hidden along the side of the path.

My difficulty in finding them on the way out to Barga should have prepared me for getting lost on the way back! I had my headphones and phone with me but never put them on because I was so charmed by the scenery, the sounds of the birds and lizards moving through the woods, and the many butterflies that seemed committed to following me along the path. I passed grape fields and orchards, as well as many gorgeous little shrines along the side of the path.

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I eventually crossed a fantastically clear stream and headed up into the town of Barga. About this time, I caught up with another group on the trail. I should point out that I knew there would be many people on this particular path this time of day, which is why I felt perfectly safe striking out alone. When I caught up with that group, I followed along, chatting, and didn’t pay nearly enough attention to my surroundings. We ended up in the adorable little town of Barga, where I wandered for 10-15 minutes before I had to head back so I could make my next session back at the conference.

Bridge into old town Barga

Bridge into old town Barga

Incredibly steep streets in Barga!

Incredibly steep streets in Barga!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to get back to the path I’d taken into town! Not speaking the language was a serious limitation, as were the directions I had from the hotel which included ZERO street names. I stumbled across a couple of lovely Australian ladies, also lost and trying to get back to the path. We eventually made our way to a path that got us back to the stream that we knew was on the hotel directions:

I was relieved to see this stream again and know I was on the right track!

I was relieved to see this stream again and know I was on the right track!

At that point, I went on ahead of the lovely Australian ladies as I was moving a little faster and we were done being lost (or so we thought). We actually ended up crossing each other again as we would get misdirected along the path. Until we got back to the town of Albiano, I served as a sort of scout, scrambling ahead to figure out which path to take and coming back to point them in the right direction. The signs were so small that there were many places we got misdirected along the way!

I completely missed this path on the way back, and I still don't know how.

I completely missed this path on the way back, and I still don’t know how.

With all of the extra little side trips, I easily added a mile to the return trip. By the time I got back to the hotel, I was filthy and had covered at least 7 hilly miles in my 2.5h hike, but it was worth it for the gorgeous scenery. I also really enjoyed chatting with my fellow lost travelers, both of whom were quite a bit older than I was. We had an interesting conversation about the importance of getting out to see the world while you’re young enough to do it because you never know how long your body will be able to do those things. I’m looking forward to going back out to run the first part of the path this afternoon once I get my real running shoes. Even in my totally inappropriate shoes yesterday, it was fun to open up a bit to run on those trails and I’m looking forward to it again.

Have you ever run in totally inappropriate shoes just because the temptation was so strong? I’m glad I didn’t hurt myself somehow on this little jaunt!

PS This month’s Taking the Long Way Home book club choice is Running Like a Girl, which I reviewed a while back here. Check out Wendy’s post for the link ups and more reviews.

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9 responses to “A walk (with a little run) in Tuscany

  1. I would have peed myself at getting lost, but that scenery is just gorgeous!!!

    • It was a lot less stressful getting lost with other people. I did have occasional twinges of panic when I was along and made wrong turns, but I reminded myself that I had my phone and could use it as a compass so I couldn’t get TOO lost.

  2. chasingdownhealthy says:

    well there are worse places to get lost I suppose? 🙂 The photos are beautiful.

    • I love that I keep running across my partners I got lost with in various parts of the resort today. 🙂 I got to see gorgeous things and make a couple of new friends, so getting lost wasn’t too bad in the end.

  3. I’m so jealous! That looks absolutely beautiful. So did you make it back in time for your conference?

  4. […] shopping trip, so I spent the afternoon conference break hiking (and getting lost as you can see here) in the hills around my resort. 7 hilly miles definitely counts as a workout! I even ran some […]

  5. […] initially heard about Pablo from colleagues who also got lost along the same trail I took Wednesday. They told me about a blind dog who led them back to the right path and up into […]

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