Griffon vultures were circling above as we climbed steadily on day two of our Camino. The swooping birds didn't so much have their eyes on our meaty - dare I say, toned - calves. They were indulging in a playful flyover because they knew something we didn't.
“San Miniato is halfway between Pisa and Florence,” says Anna Dottori, our walking guide. “The emperor built the tower here so the other towns would recognise his power and authority. At night, you can see the lights of Pisa, Lucca and Florence.”
There's something mysterious, half-invisible even, about the Slieve Blooms. These low-rolling hills, rising at the meeting point of Laois and Offaly, are only an hour from Dublin on a good traffic day. But mention them to most people and you'll get a puzzled shrug.
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