Number of kilometres today: 19.0
Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 2,005.0
Total steps since Canterbury: 2,794,404
Number of kilometres to Rome: 17
"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This was how I approached today. We walked 4.5 hours in almost constant rain. There was nothing we could do about except to decide to take shelter or to cover up as best we could and take one step after the other. We chose the latter.
It was raining. It was 5 degrees and I was cold. My pants were wet from the knees down and cold against my skin not to mention that my camelbak hydration bladder leaked one litre of water inside The Devil this morning and my butt was now saturated to point of being soggy and cold. The cold I had evaded for more than four weeks has finally caught up to me and is bear-hugging me tighter and tighter. I accepted it all and settled into a happy walking rhythm through the flooded roads and the mud. Nothing phased me. It was my second last day of walking to Rome. I wanted to enjoy it and I did.
I walked alone for half the day by myself not wanting to take on the guys fast pace but once we started walking along the busy Via Formellese which we took to avoid a river crossing that I anticipated would be flooded and too difficult to cross given all the rain over the last few days, I found that place within where I could go and keep going. I kept up with the guys and we smashed out 10 kilometres in 90 minutes to arrive in La Storta by 2pm.
We were welcomed warmly by a nun at the Istuto Palazzo Suore Povarelle and shown straght to our dorm room which felt deceivingly warm at first. However, I soon discovered the heaters were not on and they did not come on at all that night. Another cold room but not such a cold sleeping night thanks to the thick blankets we covered ourselves in.
The nun explained to us in Italian that there was nobody there between 4 and 7pm so we went out for lunch and made sure we were back before 4pm. We used the afternoon to catch up on some sleep. However, she didn't tell us about a curfew. We enjoyed a long dinner and didn't make it back to the convent until 11pm. We rang the bell at the gate twice before it was finally answered. The nun told us we were too late. We waited expecting that she would let us in bu the gate did not open. We rang the bell again and eventually the gate opened. We left very apologetic notes in the pilgrim guest book apologising for our late return.
One more day until Rome. We cannot see Rome from here but know we are very close. It is so surreal to think we are almost there and that the walking on this journey is almost complete.
(Thanks to Joni Brennan-Hazlett for sharing the quote above).