11 September 2017
Departure: Cassino – 6:00 am
Distance: 45,2 Km
Moving Time: 8h 08m
Elevation gain: 1.344 mt
The reason of my pilgrimage to the Holy Land was because a vow i made to GOD. I am very grateful for everything I had in life, and this was my way to show my gratitute to the FATHER, a sacrifice of my energy and my time. A pilgrimage is made for vocation, and never for vacation.
I left my hometown without money and creditcards only counting on GOD’s providence, and people’s solidarity, all my “tracks” are recorded by two Apps (Strava and View Ranger) that I always had turned on.
“Peregrini enim sumus” is a latin phrase that means “we are all pilgrims“, we are all crossing the land, all foreigner and all strangers, because the Earth, the creation, belongs to the CREATOR, and not to man. During this short journey that is life, we soon realize that every life is short and transitory, so it will be good to spend the time we have available to do something of value.
Abraham is consider the first pilgrim, he left his family and his hometown following his vocation, and trusting GOD’s Plans. My pilgrimage was never part of my own life’s plan, the decision to take my backpack and leave was already written in the Book of Life, but i needed to be ready. I had a large amount of studies before my departure appened; not only Theology, languages, history and sociology, but also routes and geography.
Of course GOD’s provides, but knowledge is a key that opens many many doors…
The first day was hard mainly due to the cloudy weather alternated with short storms that forced me to find shelter before getting back on the road.
The walk was easy, although I felt on my legs and my lungs the 18Kilos backpack on the uphill.
During my first stop in Portella (first picture) something happened to me that really encouraged me. About 4 km away from home, I interrupted my walk to refresh and recharge my camelbak with the water of the municipal fountain. As I was catching my breath, a middle-aged man approached asking me if I needed anything. I thanked him and replied that I did not need anything, but he (very cordially) insisted, stating that anything I needed was enough to ask. Naturally I refused, I leterally just departed and I really had everything I needed for at least the next 2/3 days of walking. But his insistent cordiality came to me as an encouragement from Heaven for my departure.
In the early afternoon my father reached me by car and offered me tea at a roadside bar. After the recommendations made and the concern that I read on his face, I returned (I believe) comforted by my explanations and my determination of the departure put into word the important research reasons of my pilgrimage. We left after being twenty minutes together, and after he provide for me with an offer that allowed me to manage the needs of the first days on the road. At first I didn’t want to accept it, (since one on my research purpose was to find out if solidarity really exist in human being) but then he convinced me saying that he was one the solidary humans being tha GOD put on my path the very first day of my pilgrimage.
Towards sunset, along the road, tired and very close to my first destination (Picinisco) a Carabinieri patrol stopped me. After they asked me where I was going (my answer was: “I take a walk to Picinisco”, omitting my final destination, Jerusalem not to create unnecessary alarmism) they checked my documents and kindly let me go back on my track.
In the evening I was joined by my sister with her husband and my grandchildren, they offered me a dinner at a city center restaurant. I washed myself in the bathroom, (I was extremely sweaty and wet from the rain) cleaned up and after spending an hour in great serenity, my sister began to get a bit of melancholy. Reassured her also on the very important reasons of my trip, we said goodbye to each other under a big rain storm.
I spent the night in the sleeping bag sheltered in the atrium of the Town Hall of Picinisco, but I didn’t sleep much… Lonely, cold, in the dark, with rain, and extremely tired… Everything absolutely as predicted, hard, very hard, but GOD was with me.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your GOD.”
Isaiah 41, 10