I Would Walk Five Hundred Miles and I Would Walk Five Hundred More

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…just not along a canal.

Actually I only tonight caught up on our statistics; we actually crossed the five hundred mile point a few days ago. So we are definitely more than halfway there, both in time and in space! Today also marked 40 days on the road—a number of great biblical significance—and the noonday devil struck with a renewed fury.

At least we weren’t car-dodging, and had a more or less dedicated pedestrian/bike lane to follow (though at least once we had to climb through a construction site again to keep following the lane). But it was straight—flat—unvarying—boring boring boring! We think that walking on an unchanging path also causes something like repetitive stress injuries; it’s strangely hard on the body. The scenery around and about didn’t have much to offer, either. The one exception was our first glimpse of rice fields and rice harvests. The fascination factor there ran out pretty quickly.

After lunch we passed the time reading aloud from Dante’s Divine Comedy—starting with hell, of course, as it seemed to match our environment best. By some inexplicable turns of events, my seemingly endless years of liberal education managed to omit this great classic. So, since I’m spending this long stretch in Italy and am a great fan of Dorothy Sayers otherwise, I thought it was time to give it a go with her translation. The slavering miseries of the damned were certainly a helpful distraction from the torments of the canal.

The other great distraction of the day was an attempt to lance a blister with cotton thread soaked in rubbing alcohol. There are no words to describe how painful this was (except maybe words that Dante has already put to good use in describing the sufferings of the underworld). That slowed our progress for awhile.

And then almost as a matter of course we had rain in the evening, almost up to our arrival at 7:30, which is the time it gets dark now. As the sun was setting it peeked through the clouds even as it continued to rain, so we looked for a rainbow. But we didn’t see one. Some days are just like that.

3 thoughts on “I Would Walk Five Hundred Miles and I Would Walk Five Hundred More

  1. Sounds like y’all need some cheering up, hiking through flat sections of Italy. Though weeks ago, I thought of chorales that would be natural to sing, I’m now thinking of a curiously ecumenical spin by St Francis on a medieval antiphon. The text follows:
    Adoramus te, sanctissime Domine Jesu Christe,
    hic et ad omnes ecclesias tuas, quae sunt in toto mundo.
    Et benedicimus tibi quia per sanctam Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
    My impression is that the second line was the part that Francis contributed, and I can’t sing it without thinking of ecumenical themes. The melody I’m familiar with is by P. Joh. Schneider OFM.
    All the best.

  2. How does one read and at the same time continue hiking and dodging traffic? Isn’t this dangerous?

    Eugene Mossner
    Saginaw, Michigan

  3. On the Camino De Santiago, everyone grumbles about the “meseta,” the hot, flat, unvarying expanse of central Spain– well, except for the large number of pilgrims who skip it all together. For those who stick it out, it ends up being the unpleasant via purgativa… because, well… there’s nothing else to do apart from facing those noonday demons and clinging to the mercy of Christ.

    But I suppose that’s a necessary step on the way to the via unitiva- union with Christ, and through him, union with our brothers and sisters in the faith.

    Our prayers continue with you as you near your destination! Thanks for letting us tag along virtually.


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