Monday, July 25, 2016

“Sono Felice”: From Spello to Trevi on the Way

Each day, the road offers new challenges. We had a lovely night’s dinner and recuperating after our first monster day of walking from Assisi to Spello. We ate at a family style Italian restaurant, laughing well into the evening.
The next day promised to easier going. The guidebook suggested we would only walk some 12 miles but it was much longer. Still the ups and downs would be less intense. The first day is always the hardest. Its hard getting back on the road and even harder walking up the Pyrenees, the traditional first day on the Camino. But we are not on the Camino. We rarely had hikes like yesterdays on the Camino.
Leaving, my arm is sore from my fall. I can’t stretch it straight. I was humbled by the road. Today, I am trying to respect it. The girls are my heros. But as we walk, each of us has a moment of despair. We can bribe the kids. Ours are a little harder to console.
But the walk is quiet. We wander to Foglia, a lovely little town. I get our credentials stamped and we meet a few other pilgrims, who’ve done the hike. One man shows us his tattoos for walking the Camino and the Francescan way from Florence to Rome. It’s a quiet little town, much different from the days during the war when the allies bombed it. Today, people sit in cafes, drinking coffee; others ride bikes. The pace of the city seems quiet. It’s a quiet day leading through small towns, many seemingly empty. Eventually the road leads us to a gravel road and a field of olive trees where we rest. A sign says we have 2.5 hours to go to get to Trevi. We eat some peaches. “Buon Camino,” notes the elder selling them.
Hopefully we’ll be there in an hour we think. But our view of time is different than the road’s. Its hours. We stop every half hour or so, snacking on peanuts and paninis we bought at the bar earlier in the day.
Looking up at the rows of houses in the hills, we wonder what it would be like to love there.
We rest by an old tree and a church. Its one pm and Caroline reminds us we are not in a hurry.
“Its lovely,” I smile and then I feel ants.
“Damn, lets move.”
We go to sit on a park bench.
What would Frances say about ants?
Do we really have to love the aunts?
This is the time on the hike when time slows down. No matter how far we’ve wakled, its always a couple more hours than we expect at this point.
So I daydream about books I am writing. I tell an editor in London, I can’t make corrections now.
Number two and I start to sing together as we walk further and further up an incline.
She’s our leader. When she’s happy, we’re happy. Number one is quiet and steady.
My bones ache. The road reminds me of the 47 years of wear and tear on my body. My sore arm. I’m lucky I didn’t break it. I am not in as good of shape as I used to be. But we walk.
“We’re got a way to go,” Caroline explains reflecting on the hot Italian sun. “It’s a ‘just keep swimming’ moment,” she declares adding her daily reference to Finding Nemo. So far neither of them have made a full day without a reference to the movies.
The town is in sight. But is like oil in the distance on the road, always approaching and disappearing when you reach for it.
So we walk. Number two and I sing camp songs. “John Jacob,” etc. Frances sang. We’ll sing. Some Germans scold us for making too much noise. And then a group of very very loud Italians and a smiling Francescan monk walk by, greeting everyone. This is their country. The Francescan monks always seem to smile in their hip robes.
WE walk more of an include. The town is half an hour away. We can see the medieval image in the distance. We’re gonna get there.
UP, up, up we walk. We sit and look at it. And we walk. And we get there.
“Sono felice,” declares the waitress after we love the beer she brings us when we sit for our 4 PM lunch, we enjoy on arrival. There is nothing more delicious than a beer after walking 14 miles in the hot sun, sitting in the campo.
We drink a couple of her Minebrea beers. We’re loving them. WE jump in the pool and play for hours. And heal our bodies after the walk. The medieval town is a dream.
We can always walk through the pain of the road if we keep on walking, just keeping on walking. This is quiet a journey. We have another ten days of walking to go. Today’s was a majestic one.

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