Monday, May 16, 2016

Into the woods

Day begins
This morning we said farewell to our hosts at Il Beccafico, Masako and Ivo, and set out under clearing skies for Valfabbrica. Robin and I were still under the spell of Il Beccafico, their home, as we started down into another beautiful Umbrian valley. The day was warm and seemed to offer a better than average chance of a dry day. And so so we moved on. Tight muscles gradually got the message that there was work to be done and it was time to get with it. And so off we went ready and open for what the day would bring. We wound around through rural lanes and soon came upon a monastery, the Eremo di San Pietro in Vignetto. We walked in and met an Italian hospitalero, Stephan, who welcomed us and gave us a tour of the grounds. It is now a a donativo pilgrim hostel, that can accommodate 50 people. He showed us the chapel with a fresco dating back to the 1300's. A beautiful guy and a beautiful refuge. He did say he is open all year round. After bidding Stephan adieu we moved on and continued enjoying a gorgeous morning. We soon encountered a group from the USA who were traveling with REI, The huge American outdoor outfitters. They were all part of a hiking tour and were coming from Assisi and heading for Gubbio. We chatted a for a bit and then went our separate ways. In short order we entered the woods. While yesterday's walk was on on leafy country lanes today's took us into the woods and on to forested paths. We had the usual mix of ups and downs, stream crossings, and mud slicked climbs that drained us. But we moved through it all joyfully and still found ourselves marveling at the beauty of it all. We felt particularly strong. A gimpy knee that rose from wherever, seemed to retreat to from whence it came and life was indeed much better. Robin and I just putted along at what I felt was a comendable pace. There really was nothing to it. We just set out for a good walk and there it was. No magic involved, just lots of gratitude. We have found beautiful caring people all along the Way of St. Francis just as we have in Spain walking our various caminos. It is this kind of connection with people that continues to draw us back. Of course we also try to do our best to measure up, but that is another story, for another day. Life goes on, regardless. Eventually we popped out off the woods in the early afternoon and found ourselves on a paved road that with a few twists and turns led us to a quiet path that took us into Vilfabbrica. This day is done. Tomorrow we will be in Assisi. Thanks be to God.     
Chapel along the way
Pilgrim hostel in church
Chapel fresco from 1300
Stefan the hospitalero
Creek crossing

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