Wednesday 16th May

In January Muzz, Riccardo & I solved the mystery of the first days planned walk through the woods above San Marcello, or so we thought. Maybe it’s the change of seasons or perhaps something afoot with strange ghostly movements but, could we find the path we followed previously, on Tuesday? No we couldn’t! Once again, as with the first time we couldn’t find a way to the ridge path that we knew existed. To think that we had this one covered, securely under our belts and it didn’t need refreshing could have been our undoing. Now we have it fully mapped and imprinted in our subconscious with markers of hunting hides & woodsman’s caravans and suggestions of the film Deliverance, perhaps we should stay away from the woods.

Enough of these mind wanderings though!

So, this morning we met the coach from Maresca Coaches, a very local company and we set off for Pisa to collect our American friends from their hotel to transfer them to San Marcello Pistoiese. We picked them up at 1pm and they all seemed in good spirits and keen to reach the mountains. There were a couple of faces I recognised from previous tours. The transfer took 2 hours and soon we had their bags unloaded and had helped them into their rooms without too much trouble. We re-convened at 4pm, so that we could give them a short orientation tour of San Marcello: ensuring that they knew where the supermarket, pharmacy, ATM’s, bars, and other sites were and then leaving them to their own devices to explore and perhaps take a gelato. We are in Italy after all!

By 7 o’clock everyone was feeling peckish and we arranged with the hotel for a welcome drink on the terrace for our new guests. The Prosecco, red wine and canapés went down a treat.

Dinner followed at 7.30 and everyone seemed delighted with the food and service. After dinner we discussed the hiking itineraries for the following day and withdrew to the bar for some live music by colleague, the talented Muzz Murray.

I’m looking forward to hiking in the mountains tomorrow with our groups.

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