Our boondocking spot at dusk near Bridgeport, California.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Bishop, California.

Where are they going next? South, towards Death Valley National Park.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


After our long hike on Monday, we were pretty happy just relaxing indoors yesterday morning. Besides, the weatherman was once again wrong, and the sun didn't look ready to make an appearance. So it's not like we were missing a beautiful day.

But we just can't laze around all day, so after lunch we decided to go into the nearby town of Brugnato (pop 1,270) to pick up a few supplies and just wander around.

There is only one easy route from Pieve di Zignago to Brugnato...and taking that route it's only 10 kms (6.2 miles), and all downhill.

We arrived in town and went for a walk. Brugnato has a history dating back to the 8th century.

Typical Brugnato alleyway.

Hardly anybody around.

In fact, we arrived too early. Most shops are closed between noon and 3pm. 

Doesn't this place look ancient?? What's with the head above the doorway?

The old plaza in Brugnato.

The entrance doors to the San Bernardo Oratory, built in 1518. 

Again, nobody around.

Ruth, at the old town gate, built between the 11th and 12th centuries.

We went back to the main grocery store at 3:30pm and it was still not open! There were no signs or anything, so we just decided that we could make do without anymore supplies and we hopped in the car to head back home.

We made it about 3 kms when we came across this...

The sign says "road closed".

Now, when we had come through this area only an hour or so earlier, there had been some work going on at the bridge. The real bridge is actually washed away and looks like it had been that way for a long time. In it's place, they had installed a temporary Bailey bridge. Like I said earlier, this is the only easy route to where we are staying so we had crossed that bridge six or seven times already since we've been here.

Now, what to do?

We walked up to the embankment of the river to have a better look...

Yep, they are definitely doing some work on the bridge.

I checked the map, and we found an alternate route. But our normal 10 km drive was going to be a 25 km drive through the mountains.

Fortunately, all the roads were paved, although many sections were only wide enough for one car!

Our village is over there somewhere!

Not much more than a bicycle path!

We only met a couple of other vehicles going the opposite way, and we managed to squeeze by without having to back up.

The road we came up on.

The town of Scogna Inferiore.

Pretty roadside shrine with a picnic table and kids toys.

Another village.

We arrived home at 5:00pm. We had been wanting to take a drive through these mountain villages, so we didn't mind at all. The only problem now is that we have no idea how long the bridge is going to be closed. We want to go to Pisa and Lucca today, so we have to head that way. But if the bridge is still closed, we may have to go all the way back around again. I guess we'll find out when we go!

Our normal route.

The detour route!

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  1. The perfect way to come upon little villages you had never imagined. Both Pisa and Lucca are amazing, especially Lucca with its oval piazza.

    1. It sure is! We have seen these villages from both the hikes that we have done in the area so we were wanting to take a drive through that area anyway. We never did make it to Lucca and Pisa and now we aren't sure that we will so they may have to wait until we visit to Italy another time.

  2. Brugnato looks completely charming; though it can be strange sometimes to be the only ones about. Just a heads up that when riding buses in the mountains in Italy, before going around a curve they couldn't see around they would honk their horn in the day, or flash their lights at night. That was the only warning to cars on the other side of the curve that there was a bus coming around a corner and no room for a car at the same time.

    1. It actually was quite pretty, when we first drove through to get to our place in the mountains we didn't think it have very much to offer at first glace but that is because you don't see the "old" section from the main road going through. If I haven't been looking on the internet and come across how pretty the old section of town was we would never have made the effort to go look. Goes to show us, that we should never judge a book by it's cover! :-)

      On our drive yesterday a work van honked before coming around a corner, and I said to Kevin that it made sense to do that.

  3. Reminds me of some of the back roads in rural Slovenia, where you're not quite sure if it's a road or someones laneway. There's not a lot of wasted space.

    1. They reminded me of the lanes/roads in England, I used to call them cycle paths there because they were just about as wide as the bike paths back home. Nope, not much wasted space at all!

  4. They do take their siesta time seriously.

    1. They sure do, luckily it isn't as long as what the Spanish do.

  5. Detours can be opportunities but hopefully the bridge will be open for you today. Been to Pisa but never Lucca. Someday! Enjoy!

    As for the head above the doorway, I was told while traveling in Europe (I think it was in Prague) a few years ago that back in the day symbols over doorways like that would be an address. Most times they were animals (horses, sheep, etc.) but a head? That's different. LOL

    1. We don't mind long detours as long as we have the time for them! More about the bridge in today's post.

      Not sure what the story is on the head. Maybe a symbol for safety, or to ward of the evil. I thought that it might have been a sculpture of the head of the household who lived in the house at the time, or even possibly something to do with their profession, perhaps the local barber or the executioner (beheading). ;-)

  6. That detour became a nice scenic tour for you. Good luck next time.

    1. It was a wonderful drive and one we really didn't mind making.

  7. Great post. When do you guys get time to do chores?? Like washing? Are their machines modern day?

    1. Thanks! We don't have many chores to do so it really doesn't take long to do them. The biggest chore is making our meals and cleaning up after them.

      As for laundry, some of the places we have stayed at have a washing machine that we can use so when we need to do a wash I will put it on first thing in the morning, when we use that time on our computers and when it is finished we hang it up to dry and head out. Very few places have dryers, the electricity is expensive so most people hang dry their clothes. The place we are staying at doesn't have any laundry facilities so we have to hand wash our clothes. Normally we do this once a day or once every two days. We don't have very much in the way of clothing so it never takes long.

  8. Crazy you have to take such a long detour but you got to see more of the area. Disappointing going all that way then finding stores not even open. Guess that is small town life!

    1. The detour was actually on our way back from town so going there wasn't much of an issue plus we specifically went to have a look at the old part of town anyway. The small stores in most places close between noon and 3 or 3:30PM daily but we thought that the grocery store may have stayed open because is was slightly bigger but it seems only the big chain grocery stores stay open all day and this town didn't have a bigger one. Luckily because the bridge was closed and we had to do this detour it meant having to drive back through town and by then I noticed that the grocery store was open again for the late afternoon/evening, so it all worked out well. We got our few groceries and a great scenic tour of the little villages on the back roads! :-)

  9. The carved stone head above the doorway usually symbols; Luck Bringing or adverting evil
    If you can't get an answer from the owner probably the next best thing would be the parish priest it would be interesting to hear what the answer would be
    Searching the Internet comes up with a whole bunch of interesting theories, but no real answers

    1. Yes, that is sort of what we were thinking or possibly a cast of the head of the household at the time so that people knew where others lived or possibly even a representation of an occupation on someone within.

      Can't see us going and knocking of the door to ask because we know very little of the Italian language and wouldn't be able to express ourselves correctly or understand the answer back. Very little English is spoken in these parts.

  10. I can't see the head well, but if the mouth is open it was a sign in the day of a pharmacy.

    So for a small town like that, what do they do for money? Looks pretty much upper middle class.

    1. The mouth is closed.

      This town has a bit of industry but they also have a huge outlet mall just outside of town. We would say that their main source of income if from tourism. They have guesthouses, Bed and Breakfast places, a couple small hotels, a number of restaurants and bars. I would say a bit of everything but mostly middle to upper class. We are only showing you the old town part in the blog post not what is outside of the little central area. Pretty much like any normal town really.


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