We are now in one of the suburbs of Rome. Yes, I nearly made it! 15 kilometres left. Tomorrow I will finally reach my destination. I cannot actually believe this. Despite the imagined impossibility, I’m so glad that finally I can stop walking. My body aches in so many places, I don’t even know how to describe it anymore. And still, there is a part of me that’s kind of sad that this journey will be over tomorrow. It’s so simple if all you have to do is get up in the morning and walk. Then find a place to sleep and food. Take a shower… However, I’m really glad to finish too. And I’m looking forward to spend some time in Rome.
Today was the last day walking in a natural landscape. And it was so very beautiful. We finished with a supermarket dinner which we had in the gardens of the convent we’re staying at. It’s a nice, quiet and calming place.
Today it rained. That’s really all I have to say. The thing with rain on a pilgrimage/hike is that not only are you getting very wet (which s***s) but you also kind of constantly look down. I bought a rain poncho and I’m very happy about that decision. However, the quality isn’t great so it ripped in two places. But even without those wholes you’re wet. Your face, your legs, most of all your shoes. Rain is dripping down the hood…. It’s simply very enjoyable! As you can imagine.
When we left Pontremoli this morning, the Canadians were already gone and we were yet to make the decision if we wanted to do a 34 kilometre tour or not. Well, with all the water… Anyway. It was still ok when we started walking and we followed some beautiful paths and little villages (all extra kilometres but for once we didn’t mind). When it started raining the fun stopped. A group of Italian pilgrims we had bumped into a couple of days ago in Cassio and who had stayed at the same places every night since, walked past us. Apparently our detours slowed us down a lot. We saw that they were walking down the road now and made the choice to follow suit. It was wet and busy with cars. Unpleasant! But a little shorter. When we reached Villafranca we really only wanted to stay there. It took us over an hour to search for a place to sleep. Finally we found the “parrocchia” which turned out to be a hotel. The owner gave us a pilgrim’a discount which I’m sure is the normal price! We took the room anyway. After a nap and having put out the shoes for drying, we went for a tour around town since it stopped raining for a moment. Stocked up on food for tomorrow, we are now ready to have a pizza dinner (which we didn’t get yesterday. Everything seemed to be closed so we ended up having our own food on the convents roof terrace with a view over Pontremoli, which was quite cool.) We are gearing up for a long walk of 34 kilometres tomorrow. This part of the Via Francigena is a bit nasty since eventually we’ll have to do a long tour of over 30k. I personally think between 20 and 25 is enough. We decided it’s better to do this march without your skin being wet. So I’m holding my thumbs for tomorrow… Send out a prayer (or other note) for us, if you feel like it 🙂