Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rome!

Ok, once again I have learned that you must not judge by appearances. We spent a torturous night at the Sisters of Poverty; between mosquito bites, a rock hard bed and the heat, it was cruel... We even left the door to our room open in hopes of a cross draft, but to no avail. Both Sylvia and Gisella got up twice each to have cold showers... I must have been sleeping then because I didn't even know they had gotten up. But as I mentioned, I have very good ear plugs so I don't hear much.

First View of Rome

We were up at 0600 anyway, and on the final leg to Rome half an hour later. As expected, our walk today was almost exclusively on the road and it wasn't long before I was dialled in to my music, paying attention only to the VF senales and traffic as required. There was really nothing to see until we got a park about 5 km from St Peter's Square and then....wow, from the height we were at, all of Rome lay before us. It was a nice moment for everyone and the last bit of peace that we would encounter all day. Soon we were making our way down and through the crowded streets for St Peter's to get our testimoniums and attend the Mass there at 1200. Not being a Catholic, for me it was more of a cultural observation than anything else. One of the things I noticed was the all folks working there. First, they were all men, there were a lot of them and, they were all very good looking!

St Peter's Square

The Vat Pack, as I thought of them, came by way of Vatican Police, Clothing Monitors (your shoulders and legs must be covered or you will be turned back), Administrative Officers, Lay Priests, Priests, Money Collectors and other general Dogs Bodies. They were all beautifully turned out, as well. A spiffy bunch and altogether handsome! Do you think it is intentional that they hire all these handsome men, or have I been on the road too long?

Miranda Gets Her Testimonium

After the rituals were over we walked to our Albergue, yet another run by the Confraternita di san Jacabo di Compostella, the famous foot washing hospitaleros. This time I was prepared for the rituals and immediately accepted the offer of refreshment from the Hospitalero who met us at the door. Bruno, who closely resembles someone from a painting by Rapheal and Father Christmas, served us lemon and mint water. As a result of compliance, the entire signing in process was much faster and I was able to get myself into the shower in a reasonable time. I am learning, albeit slowly. And, to my delight the 1 kilo package I posted from Siena was here for me, meaning I had something clean to wear! Maybe next time I will choose a hotel, but here there is the company of my fellow pelligrini, and a very nice meal prepared by one of the hospitaleros, not to mention a stifling dormitory. Much better than an air conditioned hotel room, and as it turns out, technology has prevailed here and we have a fan in the room. Perhaps tonight we will not be bathed in sweat afterall.

Inside St Peter's

Four Feet - Finished

For all intents and purposes, the walk is over. I feel happy, relaxed, sunburnt, blistered, tired and about 3 kg lighter than when I started. However, I still have 3 days before I return home to Canada and like any good adventure, there is still plenty of time for interesting things to happen. Tomorrow, the Colosseum awaits and then it is time for some sandal shopping. After that, who knows?

As I look back on this trip from its inception, I recall it was fraught with indecision and uncertainty. Should I go to Italy, a country I don't know anything about? Should I travel alone, again? Would I get lost? I had heard that the way was not well sign posted... And now, I understand that there was nothing to be concerned about. I like to think I have learned a little more about trusting both myself and others. Things have a way of working out. We meet the people we need to meet, and have the experiences we need to have. That said, I am enormously grateful to all the people who took the time to speak to me, to offer a word of encouragement, the gift of conversation or company. And I am particularly grateful to my my camino family; we have accompanied each other with care and good humour in four languages and as many cultural perspectives.

Thank you too, for taking the time and care to read my posts, and for all your comments. I am glad you enjoyed the writing and the photography and the words. Feel free to stay tuned for more postings... I will be checking in again before I go home later this week.

Ciao ciao... Miranda

7 comments:

  1. Congratulations Miranda, once again...YOU DID IT!
    I followed you all the way, sometimes with bated breath!
    Thank you for sharing your splendid photographs, and for all the comments, I felt as though I was an unseen hitch-hiker sharing your brave and interesting journey. Holding my breath so many times. I am so proud of you , my daughter.
    Love you xxxx Mum.

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  2. Yes to meet the people we are meant to meet and have experiences we are meant to have
    Thank you fir sharing your experiences
    Looking forward to October even mopre
    Vic

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  3. COMPLIMENTS!!!
    Another medal on the chest of Capitan Miranda!
    I'm glad you walked in the VF,you visit Italy,you met new places,you have new experiences but above all new friends.
    I would have liked to accopany up to Rome but this has not possible..
    Probably I would have been able to communicate better with you.(English language).

    Well,now Miranda can visit Rome quietly
    I wish you a good back home.
    ...and when you go in Italy,you remember:there are friends and brothers here.

    UN ABBRACCIO

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  4. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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  5. Mirnda
    I was slow getting to your blog, but it sounds like it was a good trip. I know the food is good and the countryside is beautiful but mostly it seem that you have gotten what you wanted from this trip and I hope that you continue on your journey of lifelong learning.

    The writning and photos are always wonderful, and I truly enjoy reading about your journeys. Will see you sometime in the future.

    Linda P

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  6. Miranda - I've greatly enjoyed following your exploits in Italy. Well written and as always - good photos! Didn't look like much of a line-up to get the final testimonium - not like Santiago!
    Hope it was a good experience overall. Well done!
    Cheers!
    Wendy

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