Day 80: Viterbo

Number of kilometres today: 18.1

Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 1,923.7

Total steps since Canterbury:  2,678,351

Number of kilometres to Rome: 104

Despite a relatively early nights sleep last night partly because we were locked inside the convent from 8.30pm and partly because we were so tired, I found myself low on energy today.  Breakfast comprised coffee with warm milk and small toast-like biscuits that I covered in generous amounts of nutella and was perhaps not enough to give me the boost I needed.  The Via Francigena trail followed farm tracks all the way to Viterbo and so there were no bars for a coffee and second breakfast stop today. The closer we came to Viterbo the slower I walked as my energy waned.  Fortunately we were all in agreement that we would stay in Viterbo for the afternoon and rest.

I have found my patience tested at times walking with others.  If I was walking alone, I probably would have already made the decision to stay in Viterbo before I left Montefiascone and knowing it was a short walk I would have meandered my way out of town and had a good look around especially given it was dark when we arrived last night.  However, Paulius, my Lithuanian comrade, is always impatient to keep walking. Peter and I are happy to stop and enjoy a coffee without any hurry and Paulius is always the first to ask if we pay so we can start walking again. He would keep walking all day without any breaks if it wasn't for us wanting to take a 5 minute break every hour and stop for a long lunch.  I daresay we test his patience too. 

We arrived at the Convento Cappuccini at 1.30pm.  In my excitement at arriving somewhere early, I decided to take the opportunity to hand-wash my clothes that I have worn for a week straight feeling optimistic that they would dry. It is now 4.30pm and I am sure it is colder in the room than the 10 degrees it is currently outside.  I suspect my clothes will still be damp in the morning. 

I am grateful to have an inexpensive roof over my head but I do miss having heating and a hairdryer to dry my wet hair when it is cold.  Lucky I have a beanie with me in my well-equipped backpack and another set of hiking clothes to wear tomorrow if my clothes are still damp.

We are now 104 kilometres from Rome.  I feel excited, relieved and sad. The journey is almost over and I feel ready to stop walking but at the same time I don't want it to be over. I am not sure I am ready for it to end. Rome is an amazing city but I don't feel to be in a city and I definitely don't feel to be a tourist. 

 I am not sure I have all the answers to my questions.  All of my experiences and insights feel like a one big messy hotpot and my tiredness is making everything foggy.  Part of the pilgrimage process is to return home and I suspect some of my insights will not be clear until I return to Melbourne in February next year.  In between now and then my pilgrimage will continue beyond the Via Francigena as I will visit Scotland, the birth country of two of my grandparents and I will return to Phuket a place that has been so pivotal in my awakening and which is sacred to me.

For now, Rome is just around the corner.

 

View from the kitchen window in the convent

View from the kitchen window in the convent

Our room

Inside the convent

Piazza Vittorio Emanuelle in Montefiascone

Exiting Montefiascone 

Lake Bolsena

One last sneaky peak back into Montefiascone towards the castello before leaving

View back to Montefiascone

Muddy farm tracks heading towards Viterbo

Thermal springs. If anyone is wondering, there are changing boxes and toilets if you want to stop along the way. We didn't. Too cold and tired.

Entering Viterbo then no more photos because I needed to sleep :)