In Florence, it’s raining, and I feel pressure
I’ve always had sun.
But I say to myself, there are still two days before we start walking. Today is officially the first day, yes, but it’s the day that we all meet up at the Hotel Roma, in the Piazza Santa Marie Novella. It’s not a walking day.
And tomorrow, we drive to the monastery at della Verna – the place where St. Francis experienced his stigmata – and that isn’t a walking day either.
It’s only on Wednesday we start our walk proper. So I have two day for the rain to clear.
You have to understand, I have an obligation to the farmers.
They need rain.
And also to the municipal councils, for their reservoirs.
They need rain too.
But on Wednesday, enough is enough.
You guys will have had your fill.
Now it’s time to walk, so… sunshine please.
Patti, a professional pastry and cake maker, presented Jennifer and myself with a tin of ANZAC bikkies that she’s baked for us, and had brought all the way from the UK, which is where she and her husband live.
What a wonderfully thoughtful gift!
And what a beautiful lady!
It was raining and we walked to our restaurant for dinner.
Elena led the way –
Marie enjoyed her walk under her umbrella.
We had the best time at dinner. A tiny hole-in-the-wall local place with beautiful food – a place that Elena’s father, who knows Florence well, had recommended. Trip Advisor has recently discovered it, and we were lucky we booked, because the staff were turning people away constantly.
I introduced Peter Landers (the sole surviving half of the Landers Express, the other half, his wife Julie, holding the Fort in Melbourne) and Ken Mitchell, who pretends to be a man of moral propriety, but in fact in the corruptible presence of my humble self quickly reverts to his true nature – where was I – oh yes, I introduced these two “so called” pilgrims to the joyous fires of Vin Santo, which in easy parlance is the Italian equivalent of White Port.
Say no more…
It was a fun evening, and a wonderful start to what promises to be an extraordinary two weeks – a time for a lot of laughter and ribbing, but also a time of talk and discussions about all things spiritual and esoteric and religious, and a pilgrimage walk that will have, in all seriousness, profound resonances.
Ken Mitchell and I started one of these deepish chats while walking back to the hotel. We talked about Uluru, and the magic presence there.
Ken pretends to be a bit of yobbo but truth be known, he runs deep.
Kind of like a stormwater drainage pipe…
Tomorrow we head off into St. Francis territory, and into the heart of an energetic vortex that I believe will affect us all most deeply.