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