Random reflections in the rain

PandelPellegrinoAround midnight last night I started to become annoyed at the loud talking and laughter coming from the restaurant below my hotel window. I don’t think I wished any evil on the loud diners, but if my thoughts magically caused the midnight thunderstorms and torrential rains I feel only a little guilty. With the loud and sudden downpour the merry making quickly ended, and somehow amid the crashing thunder I fell into a gentle sleep.
I realized this morning as I was greeted by a dripping day that guidebook writing and rain do not mix well. My walking routine requires having my iPhone in one hand for dictation, my GPS in the other hand for directions and distances, and my borrowed camera strapped around my neck for photos. All these electronic gadgets don’t fare too well underwater, so I decided to take the train and bus to my next destination instead, Camaldoli village. Here I could catch up on writing and editing, do some of the map and photo work I’ve skipped, and send my sample chapter to my publisher as promised by June 30.
It was no small decision to skip ahead. This means sometime this summer I’ll have to return to this little town of Stia in the Central Apennines in order to complete this walking stage in better weather. My schedule pulls me ahead, though, since I’m meeting my pilgrim friend, Jacqueline, in three days at Della Verna for a week’s walk to Assisi.
Once in Assisi I come to the high point of my summer — walking for two weeks to Rome with my sweetheart, Theresa. She’s been training in Seattle for the walk and, given that’s she’s already in great shape, I know she’ll be a happy and fun partner.
In the meantime, the rain gives me a chance to do some planning, writing and thinking.
The planning part was very basic. Today my employment as a pastor officially ended and outside of some mixed feelings there is practical work to be done: I need health insurance. Before I left Seattle I’d signed up on the Washington health exchange but never heard anything back (except that they cashed my check). Today I spoke for over an hour on Google Chat over sketchy WiFi with the State of Washington and my insurer. The result? “Call back in a week while we figure out what happened.”
The writing part was also pretty straightforward. I worked on my maps of the first three stages, using PhotoShop to add a redline over the trail I had marked with GPS as I walked. Every time I use that little gizmo I give thanks to the First Churchers who kindly gave it to me as a going away gift. So after today’s efforts I have three draft maps — one for each stage I’ve walked so far.
The thinking part is the most complex of my tasks under these cloudy skies. I’m feeling disconnected from family and friends due to the distance and the length of my sojourn. I’m feeling a little sad to miss events like Seattle’s Pride Parade and First Church’s participation in it. I’m also feeling sad about the loss of a close working relationship with the great First Church staff members who’ve been colleagues and friends over these last years. I’m missing the congregation and the many familiar and loving people who filled my life. On a rainy day when I’m not walking, the distances feel bigger and the time away seems longer.
It reminds me of a feeling from my first camino, back in 2008. I’d thought I was looking forward to some solitude and I remember taking the last train before my walk, seeing pilgrims with backpacks, and resenting them for intruding on “my” solitude. Within a short time — about a day — I was reaching out to pilgrims of all nationalities, hoping for some basic, human contact to break through my newfound loneliness.
As much as I want to think I’m self-contained and self-sufficient I discover again and again on these pilgrimages how much I depend on human interaction. I loved my time in Perugia, mostly because of the new friendships with Italian language students from around the world. I seem to crave both adventure, which takes me away from what is familiar, and intimacy, which comes only with deep roots. I know this is the enduring contradiction of my life and I’m not sure I’ll ever be truly happy until I can both be on the road and in the midst of friends and loved ones.
So until I own my own jetliner and can transport everyone I care about along with me I’ll always be a little unsettled, a little restless. Gail said of me before we split up, “You are brilliant and restless.” The brilliant part, she liked. The restless part she could never accept, much less love.
As for me, I’ve come to accept the restless part. In my work its focus on the future has kept me unsatisfied with an unsustainable or unjust present. So I’ve held political office, hosted a TV show, unseated a mayor, led protest demonstrations and marches, started organizations, fought institutional inertia and publicly challenged unfair rules. I’ve sailed across the Pacific, walked over 3000km in Europe, skippered sailboats in the Mediterranean, led tour groups to Israel, Turkey, Italy and Egypt, and studied five foreign languages. I’ve completed a doctorate and raised two healthy sons. I’ve also had two unhappy marriages, both ending in painful and difficult divorce.
So much to think about, but the rain has ended, night has fallen, dinner is served in the restaurant below my room, and the sun will come out tomorrow. So enough of planning, writing and thinking. Tomorrow it is time to walk again, to take this restless me and make it so tired and happy that it has no choice but to rest. I’m walking now toward Theresa, toward home, and toward whatever rest or promise or hope the future holds.

A round of applause, please, for German pilgrims


From left: Jacqueline, Sebastian, Monique, Martin (missing Annina)

It’s been several days since I posted and a lot has been going on — all of it good. After leaving Perugia I stayed almost a week in Vienna, visiting pilgrim friends. Among the group from my 2011 camino were Sebastian (a German pilgrim and fireman), Jacqueline, (a German speaker from Austria who was our helpful host), Martin (an Englishman who speaks fluent German), Annina (another Austrian who speaks German) and Monique (a Swiss woman whose primary language is German). Yes, that’s a lot of German, and they were nice enough to speak in English for the one non-German speaker in the crowd. We had a fabulous time, full of memories and friendship and warmth. Our “camino family” meets for a reunion twice a year, but this is the first time I’ve been able to join them. Kudos to Jacqueline for her great job organizing our schedules and flights to get us in the same (beautiful) place for a great time.

After a quick trip to explore Salzburg, I headed to the airport and flew to Florence to begin my month of walking and writing as I make my way to Assisi and on to Rome. After I arrived I spent a relaxed time in preparation, and the next day (Friday, June 27) I headed out to retrace the walk Jacqueline and I took a few weeks ago to Sant’Ellero, the first stage out of Florence. This time I wanted to get a good GPS track of it and also catch up on some photos. The walk went well and I have good text, photos, a map and other materials to send as a sample to my editor. I took the train back to Florence to spend the night there and immediately headed to the Basilica of Santa Croce, which is the starting point of this walk, to see if I could get in, but I missed it by just a few minutes. This is the third time I’ve missed entry to Santa Croce, and sadly it was my last time in Florence. My photos from the exterior will have to do.

The next morning (Saturday, June 28), I toyed with the idea of waiting until 9:30 so I could get into Santa Croce, but instead jumped back on the train at about 8:30, got off at Sant’Ellero and walked from there to the little village of Consuma, near the top of the Passo del Consuma over the mountain ridge from Florence. On this stage I met other pilgrims! A German trio of women is walking as far as Sansepolcro, about a week from here. One of them (Christine) has pretty decent English and she apparently has been designated to speak English with me. We played leapfrog (figuratively) on the way up the mighty climb to Consuma. They stayed last night at the same hotel as me — the Hotel Miramonti, but had dinner on their own. I suggested we get together for dinner the next night (tonight) when we’re all staying at Stia.


My sunny hotel room in Stia, just above the main street.

I got up early this morning (June 29) and headed out of the hotel at about 7:15 so I’d have more time to rest and write at my next goal, the village of Stia. The 16km day was tiring, mostly because I’m not quite in “pilgrim shape” yet and my leg muscles were tired from the day before. When I arrived in Stia the waitress/front desk person greeted me and told me my passport was on the way. “Passport?” I said. “I have it right here.” It was then that I realized the front desk at the Hotel Miramonti hadn’t returned my passport to me — and I hadn’t asked for it. I’d walked all day without it. “I know more than you,” the kind woman said with a smile. “There are some German pilgrims who are bringing it for you.” As I was finishing lunch Christine arrived with my passport in hand. I didn’t really miss it, but it’s nice to have it back. I know I would’ve missed it later.

So . . . .I’m sitting here in my hotel room on Stia’s main street, procrastinating and blogging instead of writing in my book. I’ll have dinner later with my three new friends. It’s been a lovely day that ended well, thanks to some German pilgrims. (P.S. I’d take a photo of my passport, but in the European style the front desk at the hotel has it).


Some Goodbye Thoughts about Beautiful Perugia


Last night’s goodbye celebration with this wave of language students (from left: Esther, Anna, Jonna, Ibrahim, Roxanna e io).

It’s time to say goodbye to Perugia. Like standing on the beach with the waves pulling sand away from my feet I’m feeling the current that is about to carry me away. Four weeks ago I arrived in a wave of new students. Over the next weeks I watched as other students came and went in each week’s flowing tide. I’m catching tomorrow’s wave, so it’s time to say goodbye to this place I’ve come to call home. Tomorrow I leave for Rome, then I’m off to Vienna to visit friends, and then I return to Florence to begin my walk over 30 days to Assisi and on to Rome. I’m grateful, but also very sad.

Don Paolo Giulietti, fellow pilgrim and priest

Don Paolo Giulietti, fellow pilgrim and priest

Goodbye to the teachers and staff at Comitato Linguistico (Frederica, Flora, David, Luca, Ugo, Floriana, Giulia), goodbye to the friends I’ve made who live here in Perugia (Gigi, Chiara, Don Paolo), goodbye to my new friends among the waves of students from other countries (Flavia, Thomas, David, Anna, Roxanna, Ibrahim, Jose, Renate, Esther, Jonna, Yagmur, Christopher, Tamila, Patricia), goodbye to my Italian family (Graziella, Luigi and Alessandro).

And goodbye to this beautiful city. Perugia is a special place, a old and gentle city with a lively student population from all over the world, an earth colored town, set on a hill with farmland on one side and green hills on the other. It parties hard when the hot sun goes down, and it cocoons quietly when the weather is cool and wet. Its many hills test the feet and legs, but all exhaustion is smoothed away by its chocolate, its gelati and its wide rivers of Umbrian wine. Perugia taught me how to enjoy Italian food and how to drink like an Italian — from aperitivo to digestivo and beyond. When I get home, Theresa and I will have to do our very best to recreate the Limey served at Dempsey’s on Corso Vanucci.


We got the colors backward, but this photo with Patricia and Roxanna warmed hearts and raised eyebrows.

I learned to drink like an Italian, but did I learn to speak like an Italian? Four weeks is not nearly enough time to cram a beautiful and complicated language into my 56-year old brain, but I can have simple conversations now and I do understand a fair amount of what I hear. As is usual for me with a new language, I read much better than I speak or write. My four weeks have been worth every penny, and as I calculate the dollars I realize it’s been much cheaper to spend this four weeks here in Perugia than to spend it at hotels and restaurants in a typical vacation. My tuition, room and board for four weeks was under €1,600 (about $2,200). The friendships were free.

Some people — Italians even — asked me why I would study Italian before writing my guidebook. It was out of respect. Respect for this country, respect for this culture, respect for this people. I feel that after a month of language study I’m more than a tourist in Italy. I’m a student of Italy. As I walk the pathways between Florence, Assisi, and Rome I will walk with a greater appreciation and a growing love for this beautiful place and a more practiced eye to help me understand and learn.

Teacher Flora schools us in correct preparation of tortellini.

Teacher Flora show us what a tortellini should look like.

I found teachers at Comitato Linguistico to be impressively intuitive and extremely helpful in the process of immersing us in the Italian language. When I was puzzled in class, like the strong, happy, young mother she is, Flora would cock her head, look at me with a smile and loudly say, “Sandy! Capisce?” After a few questions and answers I would nod and she would smile and say, “Okaye,” the Italian version of our American word. I would then correct her and say, “Solo in Italiano per favore.” “Va bene,” she’d then say, with another big smile.

I had fun with “OK.” In feigned frustration over dinner one night I took a few minutes to teach people from various countries how to say “OK” in correct, American English. Today, my teacher David came to class with a big smile on his face. He called me over and in pen wrote this word on his palm: “Okè.” He looked at me to see if he had found a way to spell it to help in its correct pronunciation. “Va bene,” I replied, with all the pride of a first-time language teacher.

My teacher David, who mastered the correct pronunciation of a helpful English word.

My teacher David, who mastered the correct pronunciation of a difficult, but helpful English word.

I would love to come back to Perugia one day — to see these amazing people and to enjoy their beautiful city for at least a few weeks more. These people know how to enjoy life. People who come here, if they are open to it, may be taught as much about happiness as they will be taught about Italian. Every piece of chocolate (or Nutella®) seems to be eaten with a particular delight. Every bit of pasta is the best pasta ever. Every glass of wine has the bouquet of rural Italy. Things seem deeper and more connected here. More sensual. Even the people. I was a stranger a few weeks ago, and thanks to the warmth and hospitality of many, I’ve been made to feel at home.

However, this home is like a beach. The tide is coming in tomorrow morning and it will wash me away, the sands shifting under my feet until the current carries me onward. Here, on Monday, another group of students will arrive in the next wave, and then the next, and on. They will find joy and heart and laughter mixed with pasta and pizza and passato prossimo. They will come to learn Italian. They will leave with an appreciation for this place, like all of us this month who found a happy home for a brief time on a beautiful beach in central Italy.

Mambo #5 (+Uggo) at Spoleto

After class today we had a fun excursion to Spoleto, a great town here in Umbria with much to see. I took lots of photos of the town, but I’m saving those for some guidebook someone’s writing. Here are some fun photos that I hope you’ll enjoy. Ciao!

I get by with a little help from my friend


Jacqueline in a covered walkway along the Arno at the start of Saturday’s long walk.

As I sit on my bed with the sound of birds chirping outside the open window and the orange rays of the setting sun glancing off the floor of my room, I take stock of how I’m feeling today and ask the question, do I really get to do this for 30 days in a row?

Following yesterday’s grueling 30 km walk in the searing Italian sunshine I’m tired, my legs are sore from my hips to my heels, the toenail on my left foot is turning blue, I’m suffering from something called golfers’ vasculitis, and I’m missing home and loved ones. But I’m excited that I’ve finally hit the road and I’m starting to feel that pilgrim ecstasy that other pilgrims know. It is the joy of walking that pulls a pilgrim out of bed each day as the trail calls forward to each new day of challenge and progress.

The weekend began on Friday with a 2-hour train trip from Perugia to Florence, where I met Jacqueline of Vienna, a fellow pilgrim from caminos in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Jacqueline has already been a huge help to my guidebook project. She found a German book that describes this track and translated portions of it so I could more easily follow the less-traveled stretch from Florence to Della Verna, where the main trail picks up. In translating it she discovered the primary weakness of this route — there is no easy way to get out of Florence. In fact, the guidebook suggests starting in Florence by getting on the train for 20 minutes and then walking from a place called Sant’Ellero Sull Arno. From Sant’Ellero a person picks up a clearly marked trail to the next town of Consuma.


We stocked up on food at this excellent roticceria, assisted by a proud father and son team.

Well, Jacqueline insisted there must be a way to walk to Sant’Ellero, so she researched it online and decided to fly from Vienna to Florence with the express purpose of joining me for a walk, to prove her theory that the walk can be done without resorting to trains. Of course, we both knew that the primary requirement to end a walking stage is that there be accommodation. We also knew that the best way to see if there is accommodation is to go there and ask.

So…..on Saturday morning, June 7, we set out together from Florence’s Basilica of Santa Croce to walk to Sant’Ellero. A little overshadowed by its neighbor, the Duomo, Santa Croce is the largest Franciscan church in the world, which legend says was started by St. Francis himself. It’s also rumored to have relics of St. Francis — some of his clothes and such. Santa Croce is also home to the tombs of some of the most famous Florentines — Michelangelo, Galileo, Michiavelli, Rossini, and more.


Looking down to Florence in the distance, with the Duomo on the far left.

Jacqueline and I set out after a leisurely breakfast  at 9:00 in the morning. Oops, we missed the coolest part of the day. The weather forecast called for a steaming plateful of Italian heat, and even by mid-morning we had begun to sweat. The GPS track we downloaded from WikiLoc (thanks, Gigi Bettin), sent us along the Arno River, then out of Florence toward Bagno di Ripoli. After about 5 km we were beyond the exurbs of Florence and feeling good. We stocked up for lunch at a great roticceria and, seeing the mountains ahead of us, we began what we knew would be a hard uphill climb.

In fact, the road started to climb very steeply. At a settlement high above the valley called Bigallo we caught our breath at a very fascinating spedale (hostel) for medieval pilgrims who’d chosen to walk to Assisi from Florence and parts prior. This gave us extra confidence that Florence is a great place to begin this trek, after all, we were walking in the footsteps of pilgrims from centuries past.

After lunch we turned left, across from Bigallo, to begin the more remote section of our walk where we’d been told by a bartender in Bagno di Ripoli that we’d find a beautiful path along a Roman road. Sure enough, soon we were on gravel roads, climbing and climbing. Then we came across a stretch of what obviously was Roman pathway, given its ordered and rounded stones. We continued to walk. And walk some more. By olive orchards. Through olive orchards. Through forests of pine. Through forests of oak. Along gravel paths, along Roman roads, and only briefly along asphalt drives. All of the walk under the 90F (33C) Tuscan sun.

Even as very experienced pilgrim walkers we were a little overwhelmed by the distance. Part of it was the sun, another part was that I was stopping every few hundred meters to speak into the dictation program of my iPhone in order to take notes or I was pausing every little bit to take photos. By about 4:00 p.m. we’d already walked 7 hours, and we soon came across a sign that said the next town of any size — Rignano Sull-Arno — was still one and a half hours away. Our final goal of Sant’Ellero was another 3.7 kilometers beyond that. A little despair began to set in.

I started to drag a bit, and Jacqueline trudged on ahead. Finally we came to Rignano. After a tall iced-tea that perked me up a bit I began to ask in my two-week new Italian if there were any hotels in the area. Immediately two men in the bar were on the phone to find us a room for the night at the house of someone who lets rooms. I explained that it wasn’t for tonight we were looking, but for the future, and they left me with a phone number I could call for more info. We also noticed a campground here, as well as a B&B a few kilometers out of town. Progress.

By this time it was 6:00 pm and even Jacqueline was beginning to drag. Still, our goal was Sant’Ellero which also included a train station where we could catch an 8:00 train back into Florence. At a second bar we asked about foot paths from Rignano to Sant’Ellero, but were told the only way to get there was by walking along the highway. We scouted around a bit more before we left Rignano at about 6:30 p.m. for our day’s final walking goal.

All roads lead to Rome, but not all roads were built by Romans like this one.

All roads lead to Rome, but not all roads were built by Romans like this one.

The 3 km walk along the highway was every bit as treacherous as we feared. Cars whizzed by, while we had just the space of the white line and a few inches beyond it as our path. Thankfully, with 1 km left, a red brick sidewalk appeared and we headed off the white line and into Sant’Ellero, noting signs for a B&B 6 km out of town. Here we also found a map mounted on a wall at the train station that clearly spells out the footpath to Consuma, stage two of the grand St. Francis adventure.

Utterly exhausted and a little dehydrated after 11 hours of walking, much of it uphill in the blazing sunshine, we caught the 8:00 p.m. train back into Florence.

Over a dinner of pasta and salad, Jacqueline and I asked ourselves, would pilgrims really want to walk this hard and hot walk, and then pick up and do another hard and hot 25 km (15.5 mile) walk the next day? Especially in heat like this? On the plus side, there are amazing views of Florence and many panoramas of beautiful valleys and farms along the way. A walk along an ancient Roman road is pretty awesome, too. The lack of accommodation is a challenge, though, but a pilgrim can take the train back into Florence like we did — it’s just a €3 transaction and 15 minutes on the hourly train — and then return to Sant’Ellero the next morning by train for Stage 2.

Then we asked ourselves the more personal question: would we have the strength to go on after such a hard day? As I sat there on the terrace of the hotel with Florence active and loud below, I wondered what had brought me here and why I would even consider leaving home and family and church and community to walk a long, hard, grueling walk for 30 days in the hot Italian sun. Would I be in misery for the next month? Would my feet hold out? I laid on my bed after dinner, a beer, and two sips of red wine, knowing I’d sleep well.

When I woke up this morning something strange happened. I found myself asking, where will I walk today? Is it really true I don’t get to continue on the path? Do I really have to wait another three weeks before I pick up at Sant’Ellero and walk to Rome?

My body is tired, but my heart is full. I’m ready to go. I’ve caught the bug again. All those tourists I can hear outside my window in Florence are seeing some amazing sights, but adventure is up the hill in the distance, down it again, across the river and beyond to Assisi and then to Rome. When language school is done, when camino reunion in Vienna is complete, when June 27 finally arrives, I will be ready for the road. And I can hardly wait.

Today I’m thankful for my great camino friend, Jacqueline. She has been a huge help on this project and I can’t begin to say share with her my gratitude for her assistance and inspiration.

Sixteen Miles and one blister — welcome back to pilgrim life


Pilgrim chic — road ready at 6:45 a.m.

When I got up this morning I wasn’t really sure I wanted to leave my bed, it being a national holiday and all that. But I’d already told Graciella and Luigi that I’d be heading out at 6:30 and I knew they’d think I was a slacker if I didn’t go. So…..out the door I went at about 6:45 for a day of adventure.

Today’s goal, of course, was to research this pilgrimage walking stage — Perugia to Assisi — for my upcoming book. That meant that I’d be walking and dictating in my iPhone while taking photographs and trying not to get lost.

Matter of fact, I didn’t get lost at all, mostly thanks to my GPS. I did discover, though, that I have much more to learn before I’ll be able to figure out the intricacies of this amazing little device. A big thanks to the folks at First Church Seattle who gave this to me as a going away present. I learned too that it’s a different way of walking when you’re walking as a pilgrim guidebook author rather than simply a pilgrim.

Anyway, I made it to Assisi by about 3:00. It’s a great town, truly beautiful. I’ll be back in mid-July to research and write my chapter on Assisi, so for now it was just get some photos and get back home.

Rather than entrust myself to the train schedule on a national holiday I opted to take a spendy ride back to Perugia by cab. As I was driven back to my temporary Perugian home I had time to reflect on the difference between walking 16 miles and riding the same distance in a car. The walk to Assisi was about smells and colors and discoveries and miniature hardships and thoughts of St. Francis who walked this way 800 years ago. The trip back to Perugia by car was mindless. And completely insulated from the world, which I sped through while gazing out the window.

Below: Photos of today’s walk

More snapshots of Perugia, and tomorrow on foot to Assisi


Yes, the dressing is pink and yes that is popcorn on my salad.

Some days ago Patricia of Holland had said, “Since we’re both in town on Sunday, let’s go to the Steve McCurry exhibit that day.” I said, “Sure,” then completely forgot about it until she texted me this morning as I sat in the sunshine at a café on Corso Garibaldi. I was there, waiting for my clothes to finish drying at the Bolle Blu, a nearby coin-operated laundromat.

When I packed for Perugia I was in something of a quandary about what to bring. I knew I’d bring my hiking clothes for my July/August walking adventures, but I didn’t want to wear hiking clothes for a month of language study in Perugia. I also didn’t want to have a big suitcase I’d have to park somewhere while on camino. Theresa offered a modest sized — though flamboyantly Hawaiian — L.L. Bean duffel bag with wheels and it seemed just right for a modest amount of street clothes to wear while in Perugia. I realize now that having just two pairs of jeans, four t-shirts, three pairs of socks and six undershorts means I need to do wash about every 5-6 days.

Graziella, my Perugian mom, is happy to do my wash, but on the Sunday of a three-day weekend I just couldn’t bring myself to ask. So I loaded up my clothes and wandered off to the Bolle Blu, where it took just an hour (and €8) to have the machines wash my clothes.

With Patricia’s text I now had a somewhat more grand way to fill the day. After dropping off my clean clothes I met Patricia for a rather elegant lunch (see pic), and then headed down the hill with her to see the beautiful photographs of Steve McCurry. We all remember him as the photographer who captured the startlingly purple/blue eyes of the beautiful Afghan girl some years ago. I think the Umbrian Tourist Office commissioned him to take photos of Umbria for use in publicity since, though they were gorgeous, they did have a somewhat Chamber of Commerce quality to them. Still, I’d recommend the exhibit as a celebration of the art of photography and the beauty of Umbria.

After gelato I dropped off Patricia with Esther of Holland and Ibrahim of Canada and headed out on my own to complete the Porta Sant’Angelo Itinerary from the Perugia walking guidebook.

I walked toward the tall tower at Porta Sant’Angelo, noticed the familiar blue/yellow Via di Francesco way marks along the way, and as I walked I began to think ahead to my new plan for the rest of the weekend. Since tomorrow is my last free day in Perugia, and since I promised my editor I’d have a sample chapter to her by the end of June, this is my last chance to research a day’s walk. If I walk from Perugia to Assisi tomorrow I can get the info I need to create a sample chapter on this stage. This means 25.2 km (about 15.6 miles) on foot. I’ll walk there, take notes and photos — especially of Santa Maria Degli Angeli and the Basilica of St. Francis — and then find some way back.

As I returned home late this afternoon I stopped at a tiny store and bought some crackers and fruit for the journey. This evening I’ll pack for tomorrow’s day of walking to the city of St. Francis. I feel a sense of satisfaction and joy that tomorrow, at least, I’ll be a pilgrim again, with the road under my feet.

Below: photos from today’s walk through the medieval market, to the Steve McCurry exhibit, and off to Porta Sant’Angelo.