Day 24: La Storta to Rome

Distance Walked: 19.1 km ++
Time Walking: 6 hours (including breaks)
Temperature: 32C

When we woke up this morning, it felt like Graduation Day. And in so many ways, it was. I threw out my (no longer) white LuLu Lemon long-sleeved shirt (that I know you were all sick of — me too)! I donned my Columbia hiking dress and put on my best perfume (eau de deet). And then, like we have done for the past 23 days, Richard and I began to walk.

There is no way to  Polyannaize it. Parts of today were butt ugly (sorry, Mom)! Not only did we spend the first 7 km walking along a very busy road, in rush hour traffic, our views repeatedly looked like this. There was literally garbage everywhere! Everywhere!!

But there were other parts of today  that were truly magnificent — especially when we exchanged the earlier traffic jam for this one.

Today’s path took us back and forth from busy roads and bustling suburbs to tranquil stretches of peaceful farmland and parks. In the last hour+ of our walk, we reached Monte Mario (the “Mountain of Joy”). Here, ancient pilgrims were said to “outburst with joy” as they glimpsed the stunning panoramic view of Rome, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Our guidebook, which is usually “just the facts, m’am,” got a bit carried away in its description, saying:

And neither can we, modern pilgrims, contain our emotions at the sight of the Eternal City, so deeply desired as not to seem true, there so beautiful before our eyes! Suddenly the fatigue will seem light to you, the many kilometers walked just a stroll. And then you will walk the last 4 km as if you were flying!” (The Via Francigena, 2nd Revised Edition, Terri di Mezzo, Editor).

Richard and I would not quite express it in this way. But, the moment was remarkable and one that we will always cherish,

As was the moment that we reached St. Peter’s Square.

As Richard so wisely summed it up, this trip was definitely not about the destination, but the daily journey!

What happens when a hard-core athlete marries a hard-core non-athlete? They meet in the middle and walk…a very long way!

Total Distance Walked: 420 km++

Thank you for following. Your comments have meant a great deal to both of us!

90 Replies to “Day 24: La Storta to Rome”

  1. Hi Donna – Congratulations to you both! What an amazing achievement and journey that you’ve done together. . Have a wonderful stay in Rome. Thank you for sharing your words and photos with us throughout June.

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  2. It’s been fun to follow your adventures! Thanks for sharing… maybe one day I’ll convince David to get his knees fixed so we can do this!

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  3. Congratulations…glad to know you both arrived safely.
    It was a privilege to share a small part of your journey with you.
    Happy trails,
    Karen x

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    1. Thanks so much, Karen – you were a significant part of our journey. Your help in answering our questions as we prepared for this trip, and sharing your own journey along the way, made a very positive difference. It has been a pleasure to meet you….and now call you ‘friend’. Richard and I hope that Croatia is treating you well! I look forward to remaining g in touch.

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    1. Thanks, Janis – We haven’t contacted the Pope about our arrival, but we plan to pick up our “Walking Certificates” at St. Peter’s Square today. We have been warned that the “Certificate Experience” is very different here from the one in Spain…and a tad underwhelming. However, Richard and I plan to create our own ceremony and go out for champagne (or similar) immediately afterwards!

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    1. Thanks, Georgia – we have begun our first day in Rome by sleeping in and lazily surfing the net on our phones. Our hotel (Moses’s Fountain) has offered to send us breakfast in our room at no extra charge. That totally rocks!

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  4. I was astounded at the amount of rubbish on this path and had a pictiure in my head of Rome gleaming like a golden beacon below you. Congratulations on finishing this Camino. Thanks for sharing your daily journeys, I’ve really enjoyed reading them.

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    1. Hi, Jo – We had been warned about the “garbage crisis” ahead of time. After spending 21+ days in charming Italian towns, the overflowing garbage became very noticeable just before reaching La Storta. It then followed us all of the way into Rome. And it isn’t just the garbage in Rome. Signage, crosswalks, park benches, etc. etc. have been in a worse state of decline in Rome than anywhere else on this trip. This is a long-standing crisis, which has evoked a huge diversity of opinion. We Googled it…and that was a true eye-opener!

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  5. Been following your journey across Italy and thoroughly enjoyed reading about your daily adventures. Congratulations to you and Richard and thanks for sharing.

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  6. Well done dosent seem enough so I will say very will done. At some point in the near future i will walk with my son from Norfolk to Rome and then on to Ortona. Your tips and advice on accommodation are very helpful thank you for that. I also like the way you say it how it is but still make it easy to read thank you and once again well done.

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  7. Although we have never met, I feel I got to know you and Richard a little by following the daily journey. Thank you for the posts, and especially the accommodation details, you have made our upcoming Camino that little bit easier.
    Ross and Annie

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  8. Wow! Maybe I am repeating myself, but Werner Hertog spoke to our student body a few years ago. His advice to students was to walk. The only way to get to know the world we live in is to walk it. You, and Richard, are testimony of this. Great posts!

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  9. Congratulations indeed … just an amazing accomplishment … for the intrepid walker and for his beloved wife, who managed to keep up – so well done.

    Italy has some serious civic challenges … so am not surprised about the rubbish – foul it must be, let alone ‘dangerous’.

    Now looking forward to hearing more about Rome and your thoughts – once you’ve recovered a little … brilliantly done – loved the posts … cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi, Hilary – Thank you for following and for your kind and insightful comments. After all of that walking, we hadn’t been prepared for the massive tourist crowds EVERYWHERE…and the extreme heat (highs of 37C this week). I see us taking lots of siestas!

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  10. Congratulations for reaching the end destination and enjoying the journey, you two! Incredible – the experiences, the determination, the physical and mental challenges, the meeting in the middle. 🙂 And, keeping up with the daily posts, Donna. Enjoy some well-deserved days in Rome at your home exchange!

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  11. Hi, Liesbet – At the last moment we decided against the home exchange and are in a small hotel (that is actually located in the backside of a monument) in the center of Rome. This has worked out very well for us and our home exchange partners were fine with this.

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  12. Oh Donna, I’m so pleased for you both! You’ve been honest all along the way with your descriptions and words, so many thanks for sharing the trip with us. Huge congratulations on a huge trek!!

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  13. Hi Donna, Eau de deet, funny. I appreciate the candor in this post and all of your posts. Wise words from Richard “not about the destination.” Okay, now you made me cry at the end. Very happy tears! Thank you for taking us on this journey with you❤️

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  14. Yay! I finally got to read about the happy ending! 🙂

    It was a wonderful accomplishment – kudos to you and Richard. Too bad about all the garbage though.

    Love the picture of Richard and the ‘traffic jam’. The expression on his face is priceless 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Joanne – What doesn’t show in that photo is the sheepdog who quickly came toward Richard to protect his flock. Working at the SPCA, Richard and I are both very comfortable around most types of dogs — which was very helpful. It was an incredible experience to watch this working dog in action.

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  15. Such an achievement for you both, one I’d love to do myself. You must be so proud & so many memories. It’s been lovely to read about your experience. Well done for writing about it every day too!!

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    1. Thanks, Sam – If this is a trip that you would be interested in – I HIGHLY recommend it. Thank you for your kind words. The writing piece quickly became part of my daily routine. I know myself well enough to know that I would not have been able to write these kind of details once I was back home! 🙂

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      1. Thanks, Sam – The routine was simple. Get up, walk for 8 hours (including break of course), find our lodging for the evening, shower, hand-wash clothes, go to nearest bar or cafe for a drink, snack and free wifi. Immediately download a few photos, summarize the day’s events….and quickly hit ‘publish’ by the time that Richard was finished his drink! 🙂 At 7:30 pm have dinner, once the restaurants were open. Go back to lodging, sleep, then get up first thing in the morning and do the whole thing again! It truly had a very meditative flow!

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