The Via Francigena pilgrimage had been in the works for almost two years – August 28th to November 19th – generous time to walk, explore and then return by means of a transatlantic cruise.In April of this year we learned our son and daughter-in-law were going to have a baby – the due date coincided with our walk.
Plane and cruise tickets had already been purchased and commitments to our pilgrim partners had been made. We decided to continue and make a plan when the time came.
Graciella was born October 8th.
Rome was five days out and the proud parents wanted some alone time. This allowed time to finish the Via, rest a couple days and fly home for some Gracie time.Oh, to hold a grandbaby. What a miracle.
It was only 36 hours after arriving in Charleston that Bill and I looked at each other said let’s fly back to Italy and get on that ship. The boat sails in 14 days…
The cruise took off from Civitavecchia, an hour outside Rome. We stayed near the airport and meandered our way to the port.First stop, Barcelona. We have great memories of our time here. I was particularly looking forward to seeing the progress of the Sagrada Familia. A Gaudí designed church. It’s a fantastical whimsical fortification – part adult hallucination part child’s mind. Within a year of the corner stone being set in 1882 Gaudí became the architect. He abandoned the original Neo-gothic theme for his own modernistic style. Rumor has it that the goal is to finish in 2026. This – Gaudí’s last project.On the opposite end of the spectrum both in time and in design we toured his first commission, Casa Vicens. The juxtaposition from the start of his career to the end is a lesson in the creative mind.The ship was scheduled to arrive in Funchal (an island just west of Portugal) in two days. However, a northerly storm with twenty foot swells put an end to that and we remain another day in Barcelona.Tomorrow we head west, out into the Atlantic, where we will sail seven days to St. Maarten.