What a day! The final day of this trek had me wandering heavily trafficked streets, cars whizzing by, for most of six hours. Of course, had I contemplated where I was, the immense size of the grand city I was entering, there would be no surprise at hours of suberbs to be crossed before arriving at Vatican City.
Signage, which had been plentiful and correct this entire journey, disappeared for the most part. The welcomed brown and white Via Francigena signs which had guided me for weeks were nowhere in sight. Red and white Via Francigena stickers wrapped on lampposts and traffic light posts were few and far between. Challenge....definitely the word of the day!
I was blessed, however, with relatively dry conditions.....a Godsend, really, as the weather forecast had been for a very wet and grey Monday. And, to top it off, the sun shone bright and beautiful as I exited the remarkable city park of Monte Mario, down into the streets of Rome itself.
St. Peter's Square, jam packed with tourists, was empty of other Pelligrini......at least none having just arrived packs and poles in tow. I was intently aware of eyes watching this tall, tired woman standing in awe of the glory surrounding her. With more and more pelligrini on the trail, the sight of heavily laden backpacks and walking sticks are becoming more the norm.....yet, for this brief time, I was the anomaly.
Upon checking in with the Swiss Guard, I was directed to the office in the square which would issue my final stamp and the Latin Testimonium document certifying I had completed my journey. Watching the young woman carefully write my name, I found myself wanting to swing around and shout to the tourists behind me, "Look! I made it....."
All they really wanted was my time with the agent to end so they could buy their tour tickets.The line was growing.....and impatient.
I decided Silence was best.
So I quietly watched her complete her task as a rush of emotion touched my heart. A year later and a third major walk complete.
What will come next?