Thursday, August 27, 2015


And so, my next pilgrimage is soon to begin.  This year I will walk into the Holy city of Rome in October, almost a year to the date I arrived in Santiago de Conpostela!  Although my current plan calls for a shorter trek, it will certainly be a challenging adventure as 1) I am starting this walk alone 2) Although limited, my Spanish vocabulary far  out weighed  my current Italian .....Bring on DuoLingo!..... And 3) Well, the Via Francigena offers a far different infrastructure from the Camino of last year......

My flight to Rome will leave home, Seattle, on the 22nd of September arriving around 9 AM the next day.  I'll collect my trusty  back pack and head for the traíns, north to Lucca.  Once in this famous walked city I'll lay low the rest of the day, and the  next, letting my body adjust and soaking in the remarkable history of this 2000 year old hilltop town!  September 25th I am Off!

As some  of you have asked, here is a short history of the VF as snagged from Wikipedia:

The Via Francigena [ˈviːa franˈtʃiːdʒena] is the common name of an ancient road and pilgrim route running from France to Rome, though it is usually considered to have its starting point much further away, in the English cathedral city of Canterbury. As such, the route passes through EnglandFranceSwitzerland and Italy. The route was known in Italy as the "Via Francigena" ("the road that comes from France") or the "Via Romea Francigena" ("the road to Rome that comes from France").[1] In mediaeval times it was an important road and pilgrimageroute for those wishing to visit the Holy See and the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul.

        History of the pilgrimage to RomeEdit

        Sign showing the path near Ivrea, Piedmont, Italy.
        In the Middle Ages, Via Francigena was the major pilgrimage route to Rome from the north. The route was first documented as the "Lombard Way", and was first called the Iter Francorum (the "Frankish Route") in the Itinerarium sancti Willibaldi of 725, a record of the travels of Willibaldbishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria. It was "Via Francigena-Francisca" in Italy and Burgundy, the "Chemin des Anglois" in the Frankish Kingdom (after the evangelisation of England in 607) and also the "Chemin Romieux", the road to Rome.[citation needed]
        The name Via Francigena is first mentioned in the Actum Clusio, a parchment of 876 in the Abbey of San Salvatore al Monte Amiata (Tuscany).[2]
        At the end of the 10th century Sigeric the Serious, the Archbishop of Canterbury, used the Via Francigena to and from Rome in order to receive his pallium;[3] he recorded his route and his stops on the return journey,[4] but nothing in the document suggests that the route was then new.

        Friday, August 21, 2015

                                           ...... harsh burning summer light sinks to the sea, cooling ....
                                    blue taffeta waters sparkle lavender as lingering beams of light explode
                                                    .........   splashing galaxies into the heavens......
                         Shooting crystal stars ignite indigo night draped across the horizon
                                                                             as  I Sleep
                                                          breathing gentle winds of a new dawn



        Tuesday, August 11, 2015

        MY CAMINO.......

        My Camino.....

        In 2014 I walked the Camino Santiago d Compostela.  I walked after knowing for three years that I would walk. At the time, when people asked why, all I could say was " I am supposed to".  Their puzzled faces were nothing compared to the confusion in my own mind, yet I knew deep in my being that this Camino...this 500 mile walk across northern Spain following in the footsteps of centuries of pilgrims before me. ...was mine to walk.  It was a deep “in my  soul” knowing which made absolutely no logical sense based on my current  life, commitments, finances...It just was.  
            One peregrino, when I answered  his question of "Why?"  With " I'm supposed to" said with a sarcastic grin "Ah, pulling the GOD card!”. I am sure it sounded that way. Not at all my intent. I never felt like God tapped me on the shoulder one day and ordered " Kate, you will walk the Camino...I say this is your calling". No, it was not that at all. It was a simple truth in my heart, in my entire being, that for whatever reason, I was meant to do this. And so, I planned forward.  
            That was three years earlier in the fall of 2011. 2011, a year I spent several months with my Mom as she battled the decisions and inevitably the surgery she would face upon learning she had a very aggressive form of breast cancer. 2011 was also the year I began to face the inevitable.... my marriage was crumbling and had reached a pivotal point a few months prior.
            Perhaps that time spent with my Mom spurred me on to start growing.... stretching spiritually.  Perhaps it was this innate knowledge that my marriage was doomed to fail after 17 years together if we did not get some professional help. Whatever it was, I started reading and stretching and growing,  And, upon reading " The Pilgrimage"  by Paulo Coehlo once again, a second time inside 3 years, and re reading Wayne Dyer's " Power of Intention" and " Wishes Fulfilled" several times each that summer, I started a new life experience of learning to trust the Universe.  I began to understand the concept of co-creating my world…. learning to practice bringing into my life a sense of calm...  expecting that events will unfold as they are meant...In the time and manner in which they are meant.
            By September of 2012 I knew I would make this trek... my Camino de Santiago... the following year.  September was a perfect time and would give me long enough to get a slightly overweight 55 year old body Into shape for the venture. Did I yet know WHY I was supposed to walk the camino.?  No, I still just Knew.
            September 2013 came and went.  For whatever reason, my walk across northern Spain did not occur that year. My belief was still as strong....perhaps I had not worked the body into shape, perhaps as I look back, the faltering marriage seemed to be healing and leaving was not the right thing to do....I really cannot say.  What I can say is that by November of that year I had a walking partner lined up and we had set a timetable of September 2014.   We contemplated walking in the spring, but I had made earlier commitments to be traveling with another friend and attempting to tie in the  camino was just too much.  And,in hindsight, I felt after the summer would be best...dryer trails....cooler weather...less potential rain.
        And so it was set. September 2014 was the timeframe. Interestingly enough, in April of 2014 the faltering, maybe it is healing marriage, hit its' final boulder and began the crashing tumble.  Without the specifics, suffice it to say a divorce would be in my near future. How interesting the timing of the Universe!  I would be walking my Camino as a marriage was ending and when I likely needed that solitude the most.
            In September of 2014 I followed my heart ... listened to my soul…. and started to walk the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied d Port in the French Pyrenees to Santiago d Compostela in northwest Galician Spain.  I was blessed with a friend who stepped in to start the walk with me....a joy for both of us. We met people from Seattle, my home area, on day one and within a couple days formed a tight knit camino family. When Liz, my walking partner,  had to leave us in Logrono, I was walking with people I had now known for a week....lived with 24/7 ….and they had become true friends.  If there had ever been a concern of walking alone, there certainly was none now.
            My camino, the day to day, was marvelous.  It was filled with social camaraderie; it was filled with my share of blisters, but nothing like some I saw on many others. It was filled with laughter, pilgrim food and places to stay. And, magical moments.  My Camino Frances d Santiago was completely and utterly joyful. And it brought me to a place of complete comfort and understanding that the Universe was truly conspiring on my behalf. Everything in my life was happening when and how it was supposed to happen in undeniable precision.
            Now, coming up in September of 2015, I am preparing to embark on another pilgrimage walk.  This time, the Via Francigenia in Italy.  My trek will take me from the beauty of Tuscany beginning in Firenza to the heart of the Roman Catholic world...the Vatican in Rome.
        It is my sincere hope you will join me on this next adventure!