I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Friday, 18 September 2015

Walking Through Italy On The Via Francigena

A year ago I walked the first half of the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route leading from Canterbury to Rome. I crossed parts of France and Switzerland, and, six weeks and 900 km later, reached the Great St Bernard Pass on the Swiss-Italian border. Go forward twelve months, and it's Monday 17 August 2015, and I'm standing once more on the col next to the Great St Bernard Hospice. The second half of my long walk to Rome is about to begin . . .

 (The photo shows both hospice and customs post in their magnificent alpine setting . . .) 

For the first two days I would trek relentlessly downwards, descending from 2500 m to 600 m . . .

This was the view into Italy from the col. The temperature was chilly, but I soon took off my fleece as I made my way down the pass in full sunshine. The paths were steep and stony, and the exertion quickly created body heat. During a picnic lunch I watched colourful butterflies and grasshoppers, and heard the whistling of marmots. I was excited and very happy . . . 

10 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

Robert I am so pleased to hear that you are finding peace and tranquility on your walk. How far will you get by christmas I wonder.

dritanje said...

Delicious. I hope the walk continues well. I went over the San Bernadino Pass in winter, a long time ago. I had never seen anything so enthralling.

pilgrimpace said...

Good to read this Robert!
I've been vicariously following my friend and walking companion Roland who is on the Francigena at the moment, only a few days from Rome now. it's really good to see your photos as well as words, and I love the poem

Andy

The Solitary Walker said...

I reached Lucca, Pat, but then had to come back to England. I missed the Marmite and the Yorkshire tea :)

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, Morelle (see the comment above)!

The Solitary Walker said...

Roland was about a week ahead of me, Andy.

Laura said...

I would love to do this! Keep posting about it please!

The Solitary Walker said...

It's a tough but a great walk, Laura! Nice to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering where your lovely photo at the top of your website was taken? Is it in France?

The Solitary Walker said...

Not in France - it's Longsleddale in the English Lake District.

http://solitary-walker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/longsleddale.html?m=1