Sunday, May 15, 2016

Now this is peace and quiet

St. Francis and the wolf
Gubbio was bursting at the seams with festival goers as Robin and I made our way out of the city. We dodged traffic and crowds as we closed in on the Chiesa di Santa Maria Della Vittorina (dedicated to St. Francis and where Legend has it he tamed a wolf). We paused and offered our prayers to this wonderful saint and then continued on our way down the rifle barrel straight Via Piaggiola to the village of Ponte d'Assi and then onward to our destination for tonight an agriturismo, Il Beccafico, which is about 13 kms from Gubbio. As each day's walk begins there is always some time required to settle in to the challenges of the day whether that be terrain, weather or whatever. I thought today's hectic start would require a bit of time for Robin and I to find our groove, but oddly enough by the time we reached and paused at the Chiesa di Santa Maria Della Vittorina, a moment of quiet settled upon us. It was surprising as we were still well within the city limits, but St. Francis offered us his peace and we grabbed it. As we ambled down the Via Piaggiola (today we mostly ambled) we simply enjoyed the silence that followed along with us. The day's walk proceeded uphill and down. We met two Austrian pilgrims, who sensing the peace of the day dropped back, and allowed us all to enjoy the silence being offered to us. Rain was in the forecast but it held off as we made our way through the Umbrian hills. Spectacular views appeared as we gained elevation. Prayers were said and all God's gifts were well received as we continued on reluctant to have this day's walk draw to an end. It was simply a unique time of quiet beauty and reflection. Robin and I fell into and out of conversation as each of us had things to ponder on this remarkable day. Topping our final hill for the day we once again were gifted with spectacular vistas as went as slowly as we could down leafy lanes towards our bed for the night. Today's walk redefined peace and quiet for me. We found ourselves alone on this beautiful country road with lush valleys to the right and left. My head could not spin around quickly enough to take it all in. It was a bit of never never land found in Umbria. It was just too perfect to believe, but there it was. What a day. Eventually we arrived at the turn in for our lodging for the night. A barking dog (a small one) greeted us and then our hosts. They are a wonderful couple. She is Japanese and he is Italian. They have a large home with a view that Walt Disney could not have improved on. So Robin and I are now relaxing and awaiting dinner (8pm). The laundry is done, a cold beer is in hand, and the miracle of this day continues to resonate. As a footnote, peals of thunder are now echoing off the hillsides and the rain, that was held in abeyance is now washing away our footprints. Were we even here? Was this even possible? Could it be just a dream? I think I just saw St. Francis wink at us. Peace and quiet indeed. Assisi is now one day nearer. All is well. 
Chiesa di Santa Maria Della Vittorina  
Il Beccafico    
View from the front yard    
View from the front yard      
View from the back yard
Back to the front yard    
Day's end

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