What St Francis Said: the Road to Monterotondo

This was our longest day and our most unpleasant so far. We are getting closer to Rome and so the roads are more road-y, the people in a greater hurry, and the heat fraying our nerves more. It is possible that our feet hurt and we were already tired when we began.

Of course we had plenty of beauty!

One of the sweetest trails ever

Balanced by one of the roughest

I think…wild cyclamen

He looks sweet here, but this dog was snarling and barking his head off just before I got my phone out to snap his photo

It’s been gorgeous, and under 80 degrees fehrenheit the entire time. But we folks from the Pacific Northwest think that any sunshine is a bit suspect. And just about all of it is hot.

The fact is, after about thirteen or fourteen miles, our stamina suffered. Our only (and early)  Fanta of the day was refreshing, but the snooty bar had no toilet paper. After that, there was nowhere else to stop. It was hard to find a rock, let alone a chair in a caffe.

Lunch was along a ditch by a busy road–luckily in the shade.  I’ve been packing in Kind bars and pepperoni sticks, so we never starve.

At one point we were attacked by a couple of dogs. Luckily the owner was right there and called them back–and they obeyed. But it was scary. By the end of the day, I wasn’t sure I LIKED dogs in Italy. That makes me so sad..

After that, it got worse. A youngish Italian woman stopped us and asked in excellent English about where we’d come from, where we were going. When we bragged about the distance (this was after 13 miles or so) she commented on how that wasn’t far, was it? We said, “Yes it’s far for us!” She then shrugged, pursed her lips and nodded. “I suppose it is something you still can do.”

I need to learn some Italian swear words.

Beauty soothes even my crankier reactions (usually).

We were told to look for a Roman ruin. We thought this was it, but it turns out it was merely a very picturesque dilapidated building

THIS is the ruin, in the distance above this intriguing statue out in the middle of nowhere.

At the end of the day, the busy road we walked became a highway. To get under an overpass, our tour led us into a series of weeds. We got totally lost in the directions, then found the markers and came back to the same highway about 50 feet further down. Argh!

The entrance to the city (it was getting dark and we’d been walking for eight hours, pretty straight) was just a terrible slog uphill, busy busy on a Friday night, cars zooming to get home in time to make dinner for a hungry family (I was so hungry), we didn’t really know where we were going, where the hotel was, it was taking forever. Did I mention my feet hurt?


Not exactly a castle, but man we were happy to call it home!

But we found it finally, our room for the night, with a shower whose doors barely slid open wide enough to fit a large American woman, but they DID open wide enough. And dinner was wonderful, and we were done with it in time for me to crash hard at 8:30.

This became our mottto for the day:

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Not a bad way to live life! And it got us through our 17 miles.

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4 Responses to What St Francis Said: the Road to Monterotondo

  1. Margery Reading says:

    Congratulations on making it through the day. You’re doing the impossible. Hope the rest of your journey goes well.
    Lots of love,
    Marge and Dad

  2. Elizabeth Reading says:

    Hi Til,

    It turns out it is much easier to respond to emails. Loved reading the blog. I am looking at much through my phone these days. Anyway, I go back and forth with “wish I was there with you” to “oh, I am not sure I would want to be on that hike!” As I have started my Roman history block with the kids, I get excited when you speak of the Roman ruins. Loved St. Francis’s words. Hope you are in good spirits now. Nice to be in Roma?

    • WW says:

      Thanks! It’s not terribly easy for me on my phone either, so I totally understand. Rome is wonderful–but maybe even more exhausting than the trek! We are not walking as much, but the crowds and the impact of so much human history is huge. I hope to post on the Rome experience too, and soon.

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