There was a feeling of anticipation in the air when we woke this morning. Being the organized pilgrim I am it was straight into some last minute packing.
It was strange walking the couple of hundred meters from the B&B to the Vatican, as it was the same walk I did to finish my pilgrimage from Canterbury six weeks ago. What a different feeling today! Now I am taking the first steps of what will be a 5000km marathon to Jerusalem.
Steph seems excited and also a bit nervous, and I think I am pretty much the same. But I am also feeling slightly detached. I know what I am getting myself into this time, which probably isn’t helping ;)
We picked up a coffee and some rolls for breakfast and interviewed each other on the steps of the Vatican.
It was a bit later than we had originally planned but there was still time to squeeze in our first game of backgammon. Steph and I have had a constant rivalry ever since she taught me to play when I was twelve. It has been years since she has been able to beat me and today was no exception :)
And then there was nothing left to do other than walk…
Not having learned anything from my previous 2000kms, we left without a map….and of course were lost within half an hour! A perfect way to start.
I was impressed with Steph’s patience (not one of her strong points), as she blindly followed me through the backstreets of Rome without a word of complaint.
Luckily we came across a hotel and they pointed us in the right direction.
My computer’s disk drive has been playing up so when we past a Mac shop I couldn’t resist the chance to get it fixed. It was going to take a few days but it would be worth the bus trip back to have it fixed.
Our goal was to leave the city limits before calling it a day, but after getting lost we weren’t holding our breath.
To make matters slightly worse, all the hotels we were coming across were full. I remember my first day as a pilgrim and I could see that Steph was ready to drop.
We did manage to finally stagger out of Rome and the first village we came to had a big church that was calling to us. The priest was just about to hold mass so couldn’t come down to talk to us, but from the conversation over the intercom it wasn’t looking too good. He told us to come back in an hour and Steph was saying that if they didn’t have a place for us to stay she was sleeping on the steps!
After talking to the man at the café next door, we were informed there was a hotel in town so I went down to suss it out. At first they also said they were fully booked but after finding out what we were doing they managed to make room. Thank God for that!
I have also been impressed with the change in Steph since our last pilgrimage together on the Camino De Santiago. During that month she had tried to get by without eating meat or wheat. It basically left her with a diet of cheese and fruit juice and by the end of the month she was definitely looking a little worse for wear! Thankfully she had a change of heart for this journey and is now eating almost anything…