Saturday, 11 August 2012

End of the Road...

The last two days have been a bit of a blur; a bit like a plane crashing my arrival at St Peter's in Rome all happened very quickly and within seconds it seemed I was catapulted into a maelstrom of taxis, porters, lifts, champagne and 5 star hotel rooms - the final seconds of the adventure dashed from my lips as I suspect I always knew they would be.

After 94 days, 1,411 miles (2,271 km), 4 countries, 3 mountain chains, through snow, wind, rain, fog and shine; 2 ferry passages, 1 boat ride, 47 maps, 2 pairs of boots, a couple of sprains, a lot of blisters and buckets of sweat, I ended up in the Vatican, one of thousands and thousands of pilgrims that morning all of whom had made their own respective journeys no matter whether it was by bus, plane or, in my case, on foot - in the Church's eyes, we were all pilgrims. And that, I think, is rather wonderful.

So, to all of you who have so loyally followed me this last few weeks, who have held me in the palms of your hands, I say the most sincere thanks from the very bottom of my heart. You can have little idea how much your words of encouragement have meant to me; they kept me on the road during the difficult moments - a constant reminder that nothing in this life matters more than human kindness, family and friends.

And with that, forgive me if I take my leave and go put my feet up... well, just for a short while anyway!

Photos: Monti Mario overlooking the Vatican; St Peter's and The Testimonium of Arrival.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Six days to run...

In tearing haste as another would say; this comes to you from the shores of Lago di Bolsena, a great sweep of a volcanic lake some 70 miles from Rome; the waves lap furiously at my side. Since Siena it has been an unrelenting few days, climbing up up to San Quirico and down into the Val d'Orcia which, in this punishing weather, was beaten dry and harsh unforgiving terrain to cross. The end of which was the severe climb to Radicofani, an impressive fortress that guards the entry to Tuscany from prying Florentines and Papal ingressions. What shall I say other than "great view" when you get there.

Now in Lazio, at Acquapendente there crept in a feeling of "job done"; the worst over and the rest a mere formality which, of course, could not be farther from the truth - I still have to walk every step of the way and there is no easy way round that!

Photos: Radicofani fortress (distance); Lago di Bolsena; Bolsena Castello; the road from Radicofani; Siena in the distance.