This morning we packed up early, hopped in a mini-van, and left Florence –
Our driver took us out past the famous Ponte Vecchio,
and up into the hills. It was overcast and drizzling – and there was a thin mist hanging.
We stopped for lunch at a small restaurant at the base of the La Verna hill – on the top of which sits the Santuario della Verna – the Franciscan monastery of La Verna.
After lunch we decided to walk up the hill to the monastery –
Angie and Ken had a little kissy kissy moment, which given the proximity to a monastery was probably inappropriate.
(note the phallic symbol coming into the left of frame… )
The walk up was steep at times, but beautiful – in the mist, and along the ancient path, walked by monks for centuries.
We arrived at the monastery with the mist still swirling –
– and in time for the 3pm hymns in the Basilica, which is the prelude to the procession of monks to the St. Francis chapel – a ceremony which has occurred daily for centuries.
After the ceremony we went back to the Basilica, where St. Francis’ relics were on show, including the robe that he wore when he experienced his stigmata.
The monastery is virtually empty, and in the mist it has a very special energy.
Tomorrow we begin our walk – a fairly short day of about 16kms, but up and down some big hills evidently.
It might rain, it might not – I don’t worry about the weather. It will be what it will be. Irrespective, it will be great to start walking. And the countryside here is beautiful.
Right now we’re about to go to dinner in the monastery.
I don’t do gruel….