“I’m a soul in wonder… I’m a soul in wonder… I’m a soul in wonder,” Van Morrison chants. It’s the finest description of the pilgrim I know.
~ Phil Coussineau
I am a soul in wonder. This is the pilgrim song. To set out each day with nothing but beauty and a destination in mind is such a privilege. To commune with nature and whoever crosses your path. To open your mind to all possibility. What wonder it is.
One of the ancient functions of pilgrimage is to wake us from our slumber, says Phil Cousineau in The Art of Pilgrimage. He calls it the art of waking up.
We left Aulla after an early Italian breakfast of coffee and croissants at a nearby cafe that was open at 6.30am for pilgrims. Just €2.
No doubt I was physically awake today. I was soon climbing to Bibola and eventually to 500 metres. Sweat dripped, my quads ached.
At Ponzano we excitedly came upon the view to the sea and La Spezia, where beyond, the exquisite Cinque Terre lies. We were halfway on our 22km leg and found the only cafe about to open for refreshments. This is where Christian departed and we said our goodbyes.
Sylvie and I made our way down the dirt road towards Sarzana when a man pulled into a driveway and asked if we were “the Canadians”. He had his nose to the ground! We introduced ourselves to Michael, who is a Dutch man and retired biologist living in Italy and producing 1000 litres of wine a year. He gave us a bunch of spray free merlot grapes each for the road, first offering the pros and cons of wine production and living in Italy. An hour further along a man tending a vineyard gave us each a bunch of green grapes.
The distance between Sylvie and I grew in the afternoon, and before long I took a wrong turn while on a call to Australia. I followed my location on the VF app noticing my phone battery dying. I hastened along to our B&B accommodation just in time, where Sylvie was waiting.
What bliss to shower and wash our clothes. Sarzana awaited. Soon we were in the town square drinking Proseco and sharing pizza and seafood spaghetti. Just another day of wonder, exploring the art of pilgrimage.