Q: What prompted this latest adventure?
Michelle – After watching the movie “Much Ado About Nothing”, we decided that we should honeymoon in Tuscany, but due to the schedule, our honeymoon fell on the Christmas holidays, which is not the best time for cold and dreary Tuscany. Fast forward to 2022, this year we are both 50 years old, we wanted to do something epic and celebrate our 15th anniversary at the same time, so Italy immediately came to mind.
Brian – We heard about Via Francigena (VF) on other pilgrimages and we both liked the idea of exploring Italy on foot. We may be a bit old for a “summer break” in hiking in Italy, but why not?
Question: Why was it important for you to make this journey?
Brian – Many people go on pilgrimages for spiritual purposes, but you don’t have to be a Catholic or a religious person to take the Camino or WF.
Michelle – A long walk is good for the soul and the health of our relationship. Escape from the hustle and bustle of life returns a spark to our soul like nothing else. I found that we both connect more with each other, are more creative in our work, and we return home full of energy, which is not the case on a regular vacation. Not to mention, who doesn’t love pasta?
Q: What kind of reaction do you get when people hear about your trip?
Michelle- People who know us are not surprised, but they already think that we are a little crazy. Some people think we’re trying to “top” one adventure after another, but that’s not the case. We strive for diversity in our lives and push the boundaries of what we are comfortable doing. Many often wonder how we have time. We are grateful that we have the same work schedules and empty nests so we can afford this time together.
Brian “Here in Italy we got more than a few Mamma Mias!” from the locals who hear that we are going to Rome. A surprising number of people here are unaware that this trail runs right through their town. Many Europeans will walk a week or two at a time and complete the VF over many years rather than in one long trek like we do.
Question: How does this compare to your first pilgrimage? What lessons have you learned?
Brian- Climbing to the top of the Grand Saint Bernard pass in the Alps was probably the biggest hike we’ve ever done. Then coming back down for two days was also very hard on the body. Looking ahead, walking through Tuscany, we face huge climbs and height losses every day, even if the hills are not that high. We have a few days when we reach over 3,000 feet. We have more trials ahead of us.
Michelle – Morally it’s easier because we know what to expect. The more we travel abroad, the less onerous it seems. Physically it…