Tag Archives: Explore

Life Happens While Making Plans

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.

The Day After Finishing the Via Francigena

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. ~ Dr. Seuss

Today we went the office of the “Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi” in St. Peter’s Square for our Testimoniums (certificate for completing at least the last 100km of the Via). The pilgrims who started Canterbury get the same document.It’s just like the Camino de Santiago. Walking the last 100km (62 miles) gets you a Compostela.Chappy, Bill and I weighed ourselves. Bill was the winner at losing the most.Bill and I hoofed it to our new luxurious hotel where we will veg for the next three nights. Soft sheets, a bathtub and a huge TV with English channels. Not sure if we’ll get out of bed tomorrow. Chappy, Darrell and Roxanne stopped by to check out our new digs and we all walked to see the Trevi Fountain (along with 1,000,000 other people) to hug it out and say goodbye.Chappy is heading home tomorrow and Darrell and Roxanne are off to discover Italy by train.

Roxanne’s post and photos:

Completing our pilgrimage to Rome and receiving our Via Francigena Testamonium today means farewell to the Fab Five and hello to the positive memories we’ll share with each other back home in Nevada. Thanks Paige for sharing your blog with our loved ones! Luxury is clean cloths!Well done Pilgrims!

Day 39 the Final Day on the Via Francigena

La Storta to Rome – Sunday October 14th (Preston’s birthday – love you honey) – 13.3 miles in 7 hours 14 minutes.

The Fab Five made to Rome all in one piece and blister free.

What an experience! We’re so appreciative of our health, the ability to perform such a task and friendship.

Our walk today was…. well… you decide…. (photos are in order).Obstacles to climb over…95% was on pavement.We’re staying at the Vatican Garden Inn. Don’t stay here!

Roxanne’s post and photos:

The Fab Five have landed!
St. Peter’s Square, Rome.

Day 38 on the Via Francigena

Campagnano to La Storta – Saturday October 13th – 14.4 miles in 6 hours 45 minutes – climbing 1443 feet.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own (and with friends). And you know what you know. And you are the one who decided where to go (Rome). Dr. Seuss

It feels so good knowing that the Fab Five will be walking into Rome tomorrow. We’re smelling the barn. I think we’d gallop if we had the energy!

Hotel Cassia is where we will rest our heads tonight. Twin beds in a private room. Clean.

It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe. Robert W. Service

Roxanne’s post and photos:

Ladies and gentlemen, The Fab Five are now on final approach into Rome. Walked from Campagnano di Roma to La Storta. This last stage before Rome took us through pastureland, shady woodlands, 6th century BC Etruscan burial sites, a waterfall and an ancient water mill. Gluten free eating is easy in Italy!
There’s an APP called AIC (Italian Celiac Association) that shows where Gluten free meals and products are sold and those options are everywhere in Italy even in tiny villages.

Day 37 on the Via Francigena

Sutri to Campagnano – Friday October 12th – 13.1 miles in 6:10 climbing 897 feet. Shorter is not always better. To save 3.5 miles we walked along loud busy roads. My umbrella warded off evil cars until we safely made it to a quite path that lead us into town.We’re staying at  Hotel Ristorante Benigni.

Two more days until Rome.

Seven more days until we meet the new love in our lives – Graciella Faye.

Roxanne’s post and photos:

Leaving our Sutri apartment.Roman Amphitheater from 
1st-2nd century BC. Which way?After walking to Campagnano di Roma, we sat down to a fine late lunch and reunited with our fellow pilgrim from Denmark. 

Day 36 on the Via Francigena

Vertalla to Sutri – Thursday October 11th – 16.8 miles in 8:40 and we climbed 1375 feetHard to believe that a day that starts with a rainbow turns out to be nuts literally and figuratively.If we weren’t walking through a slippery, muddy rain forest with lots of obstacles we were walking thru miles of nut trees.Bill twisted a muscle in his back so we hired Bags-Free to transport his pack from hotel to hotel. Chappy quickly decided that was a great idea and signed up too. I have to admit I loaded Bill’s pack with my clothes so that I could carry a lighter load.There were spills and thrills today – not all for the faint of heart.

Darrell – Don’t drink the water here or you’ll get Giardino.

We’re staying at B&B Caseta di Vicolo Corto. The beds are so comfy and the place is beautiful. We actually have our own apartment and it’s new, clean and fabulous.

Roxanne’s post and photos:

Walked from Viterbo to Sutri.Snack at the base of a Roman tomb near Capranica.

Day 35 on the Via Francigena

Viterbo to Vertalla – Wednesday October 10th – 11.2 miles in 6 hours only climbing 874 feet.Fun day walking through an Etruscan Via Cava which I’ll translate as a road with tall lava walls.Followed by lush farm land – a Clydesdale horse and super friendly donkey – nut trees and olive production.We’re staying at Alberto da Benedetta. We’re happy to announce that we’ve ditched Ostellos (hostels). We’ve opted for more restful sleep.

Four more days to Rome!

Roxanne’s post and photos:

Humane Italy ♥️Walked from Viterbo to Vetralla.Gear off.Fellow German flip flop pilgrim.BreakfastOlive harvest comb.Picnic lunch.