What incredible weather to begin this long awaited trek! Brilliant blue skies dotted with puffy white clouds .....just a touch of breeze..... as I headed out, a tad later than I had planned, to make the 20 km. Walk. Last night's sunset was truly magnificent....early evening light tinged the surrounding hills a golden hue, skies opening pink with splashes of bronze as the sun set over Lucca. An omen to the lovely day ahead!
Today not one fellow pilgrim in sight, which I semi expected, but I still feel a bit surprised at that reality. It was a day of kilometers of tarmac making for extra tired feet. A highlight came shortly upon leaving the outskirts of Lucca at the small local church of Ste Michele. Two women and a chatty local gentleman made sure to inform me that I could stamp my passport right there outside the Chiesa doors. Pleased to be chatting, I told them where I was headed and that I had walked the Camino Santiago de Compostele last year ( they were impressed.) One of the woman, a locale who now lives in New York, gave me I an English speaker to translate. Perfect!
Magic moment of the day: walking into Altopascio I spotted the local priest, rosary in hand, taking an outdoor fresh air break on the steps of famed San Jacabo Chiesa. Seeing my backpack, he smiled as I passed. Later this evening, in search of my timbre ( stamp) for my pilgrim passport from this town, I wandered down to the church and caught him just before locking the doors. Holding my passport, just forward enough he would see it, he smiled in recognition and asked " Timbre?" He guided me back to the rectory where he asked where I was traveling and stamped my passport.
A warm smile and " Buon viaggio" sent me on my way into the evening light.
Tomorrow, San Miniato......if I decide to go that far.....we shall see....no hurrying!