Via Degli Dei – stage 4
From Passo Della Futa (Fi) to Bivigliano (Fi)
Via Degli Dei signage
Friday 4 June 2021, 5.46am.
The sound of roosters overhangs the campsite after what has been one of the most exciting nights of the walk.
That morning I was the first to wake up; I dragged the zip of my tent open it cautiously so as not to wake the other walkers and slowly popped my head out of my canvas: it was wonderful.
I allowed myself a few minutes to relax a little more, staying wrapped up in my sleeping bag, lying down and with the tarp open to savour that magical moment of silence and nature. It was very cool that morning!
Savouring the morning calm
I then began to roll slowly in the "bed" of my shelter and found the strength to get up when I felt that something was moving in Simone and Andrea's tent.
I started to get ready and waited for the other travellers to get up so that we could all have breakfast together.
I saw Andrea and Simone come out first, then immediately after Elena and Altea, who had slept in the same tent. Matteo, on the other hand, was a bit more of a sleepyhead and we let him rest.
Photo taken by Elena on waking up
I don't remember how many degrees there was that morning, but I do remember that I walked with my sleeping bag still wrapped around my body and sat at the outdoor table in precarious conditions. Those who know me know that I have a big problem with the cold.
Andrea and I sat down at the table first, while the others got ready.
Andrea proceeded to "assemble" the stove and prepared a few steaming and regenerating cups of coffee. I, on the other hand, ate my usual wholemeal and skimpy croissant, two pieces of dark chocolate and a delicious energy bar. I felt that this breakfast gave me the energy I needed (at least for the first couple of hours of walking).
I finished quickly and sat down to wait for the other walkers who joined us shortly afterwards.
I vividly remember Elena's laughter at the sight of our faces that morning: we were surprisingly sleepy and dressed in a worrying way, but Andrea's distinctive face and his unmistakable expressions could not help but make us smile. I remained jealously wrapped in my sleeping bag as we chatted at the table together.
That morning, we had finally woken up really early and we were quite happy about that, since that was going to be the longest stage of the whole walk and we didn't know what was waiting for us.
But waking up early was too surprising an achievement for us, so we ended up relaxing and congratulating ourselves on the early rise. The problem, however, was that after a good hour and a half we were still sitting on that table telling each other stories.
It was already half past seven when we saw Tania and Lorenzo ready with their backpacks on their shoulders, walking towards the exit: "are you leaving already? When did you wake up? – Elena asked.
They answered that they had had breakfast in the tent and that in half an hour they had already prepared everything and were ready to leave.
They laughed sympathetically about us and set off; at that point we realised that we were really bad at timing, we just couldn't do it. It is also true, however, that seeing Tania and Lorenzo walking along so enthusiastically gave us the energy and motivation we needed to get up from that table and start preparing the last things, before finally leaving.
The last preparations
We got up, half-frozen, from those hard benches that at that moment seemed the most comfortable in the world. I don't think we were really ready psychologically that day at the mere thought of having to do (theoretically) at least thirty-three kilometres.
So we all went our separate ways and settled in for the start.
I rinsed the moka and threw away the rubbish, put on my shoes and was ready, so I went back to wait for the other guys around the table.
It took them a while but I didn't care, the important thing was to have their company another day and continue to share emotions together.
Then Simone, Elena and Matteo joined me. Slowly we saw Altea and Andrea arrive, who laid out the map on the ping pong table and began to consult it, trying to assess which were the best "roads" to take.
The boys consulting the map
In total confusion, they stood consulting it for several minutes without reaching a conclusion, and then Elena (as a wise walker) decided it was time to leave. Well, actually we had got up at a quarter to six, it was now eight fifteen and we were still there, at “La Futa” campsite.
Camping "La Futa" – restart point
Andrea put the map back in his rucksack we all gave each other a glance of encouragement, took a few deep breaths and started our fourth stage, saying goodbye to the friendly staff at "La Futa" campsite.
The exit from the campsite was uphill, of course, and Simone made a spontaneous comment: "if we start this way, however..." – we all burst out laughing. We had to take it philosophically, we couldn't afford to be in a low mood that morning with all those kilometres ahead of us!
We continued walking for a short distance on asphalt and then we went into, again, guess where? Into the forest!
I was obviously extremely happy about this, especially because of the warmth that the day had in store for us, and also because we could admire beautiful landscapes from the forest.
We covered several kilometres of pleasant wellness between the light dry breeze that stirred the leaves and the beautiful rays of sunlight that filtered through the bushes, creating wonderful beams of light.
Walking in the beautiful forest
In all this, of course, there was no shortage of steep climbs. And another thing I learned on "Via Degli Dei" was this: if you don't know where to go, take the uphill route.
I had read this phrase on a Facebook group some time before and it was confirmed, those climbs killed but were almost always also a good excuse for a healthy laugh!
Between winding little roads tucked away in the middle of the forest, we arrived at a certain point at a small diversions indicating "viewpoint two hundred metres away". I admit that we pondered for a long time whether to take the diversions or not, because every little change would have made itself felt, but in the end we decided to let ourselves be tempted because it would probably have been worth it, besides we were still very fresh having just left!
Once again we walked up a steep slope to the viewpoint and once we were there the view was simply incredible!
The marvellous view from that vantage point
We lay down on the ground and enjoyed the view while savouring a few energy bars and getting some souvenir photos taken by other travellers there.
Still the mood was high!
We spent a good handful of minutes up there and then resumed our walk when the sun called – it was literally baking us.
The marvellous shining forest
We went back down the ramp and reentered the green forest.
That forest had a different flavour to the others, although they were all beautiful.
The paths were winding, the colours of the leaves extremely green and bright, the trunks of the trees so brown and so tall that they contrasted perfectly with the colour of the leaves.
I felt small in front of such beauty and the power of nature.
The marvellous forest
I let myself be enchanted and, once again, I decided to leave the group for a few minutes so that I could savour this magical moment alone. The air up there was extremely pure and fresh – I was enjoying everything about that day!
After a few minutes I reconnected with the usual group and followed their steps under the pleasant and relaxing sounds of nature.
The route was now a mixture of forest and patches of light in the open air, and every now and then we noticed some travellers passing us or being passed by us.
As we continued our march through the rich vegetation we took a short break at a focal point of the path which made me think.
That point was special because we encountered a simple stool with a box on top that read: “take what you need, leave what you want".
These were the things that made me smile along the way
It made me smile and reflect; I understood even more the true value of that path and what it was giving me. The path was sharing; fatigue turned into rewards among travellers and they helped each other. The solidarity between travellers was evident and that magic box made me certain of it
Everyone stopped to take photos and admire that beautiful moment. Altea also took the opportunity to leave some objects and exchange them for some tasty sweets.
We noticed that inside the container there was everything that could come to the aid of travellers: plasters for blisters, tissues, ointments, some snacks, pens, paper.. I was moved by such beauty, it was a symbol of sharing and solidarity: that journey was driving me crazy.
Especially after the period we had spent in lockdown: being able to share and reconnect was a beautiful moment that I savoured to the full, reminding myself once again not to take it for granted and to treasure it.
I took a souvenir photo with my sign, which perfectly reflected the concept of sharing – then we put our backpacks on our shoulders and headed back on the "straight" path.
Getting lost in the quiet of the forest
We continued walking through the thick, wild, shiny, shady bush. There was a magical contrast between the bright green of the leaves and the shade that the trees offered, preventing the sun from filtering light through them.
In all of this, we ploughed through the brown soil between the shrubs, which led us towards Bivigliano.
Here the silence was deadly, not even the birds could be heard singing, so much so that at that point I decided to extend the group and make a recording of that magical, surreal atmosphere.
In the midst of that wonderful landscape we found abandoned fortresses and nice road signs to break up the pleasant monotony of the landscape.
Road signs in the middle of the forest
Where nature takes back what belongs to her
We spent several hours in the middle of the forest as time went by without even realising it.
We were not even halfway through the stage and it was already thirteen o'clock in the afternoon, while our guidebook still showed several kilometres ahead of us!
A sad loss
We slowly emerged from that wonderful vegetation and began to taste the marvellous Tuscan landscapes. I remember this stage with great pleasure as the landscapes of the Florentine region were truly splendid and left me speechless!
Here valley after valley in the blazing sun accompanied us; they were our only rewards as the sun and the gravel roads were literally baking us!
The beautiful Tuscan valleys
It was on those stony uphill and downhill paths that I realised (now too late) I had lost the sign I was carrying. I stopped my companions and told them.
They thought it was a joke but then found out that I was serious and then said that it was not possible to continue without it: they were really sorry but I could have lost it five hundred metres or four, five, six kilometres earlier and the idea of going back to look for it was certainly not a good option.
So, as sorry as we were, we reluctantly decided to carry on hoping that some good soul would find it and return it to us.
And then, as if that wasn't enough, on to the asphalt again!
Walking under the scorching afternoon sun
That stage, especially at that hour, was literally crushing us. We were sweating litres of liquid and trying desperately to save water.
At that point we met two Florentine girls whom we had glimpsed in passing in the previous days, also on the road. We got to know them and told them about my lost sign, asked them if they had seen it and received the most painful answer: "yes, it was on the ground a few kilometres ago".
At which point a legitimate question arose, how on earth had they found it when they were right in front of us? That question remained a mystery, but the fact is that they told us that they thought we had tired of it and had left it there on purpose.
We couldn't believe it, but it certainly wasn't their fault.
Small signs of hope
So another nasty blow hit us but there was no time to let the mood take us down.
Walking along the tarmac in the blazing sun of 2.15p.m, which was leading us to the now nearby "Sant'Agata", a small, colourful caterpillar crossed my path.
The beautiful and colourful caterpillar that crossed my path
Nothing special, you might think, but in that moment of extreme tiredness and exhaustion it was a nice sign of hope. I stopped to look at it, beckoning to Elena, at that moment the leader, and took a photo at it. I found it extremely cute and friendly! After that brief forced stop, however, we resumed our journey because by now only a couple of kilometres separated us from the fateful village of arrival, which according to the guide would have been the end of the fourth stage.
We gritted our teeth and let the sweat slowly trickle down our skins like sewing needles: we were really exhausted and that asphalt was killing us.
By then we'd split up because everyone was trying to think about their own thoughts to distract themselves as much as possible: any words thrown to the wind would have cost us dearly.
Arriving in Sant'Agata
We wore down that annoying concrete between winding roads until we came out, very slowly, in front of the entrance sign of the next village, which read: "Sant’Agata” – we were almost moved at the sight.
We crossed the bridge over a small river and watched for a few minutes a man that was fishing alone: the relaxed way he was doing it made us a little envious.
The man fishing relaxed in the river
Then we continued on when we also met Chiara with her beautiful dog, who were taking a short water break in the cool shade of the village gates.
It was nice to meet her again and we ran the last few metres together.
We made one last sprint trudging and almost crawling on our knees when we finally came out into the village square: it was desolate, with only a few old people in sight and all the shops were closed.
I, Elena, Chiara and her dog sat down on the benches to wait for Simone, Andrea and Altea who had remained behind and I, in the meantime, took the opportunity to air my feet since they gave off a really terrible stench.
After about ten minutes, they arrived: tired and hurting just like us!
We had the decency to let them rest for a few minutes and then decided to walk to the local supermarket to stock up on water and some energy bars and fruit.
The heat, that day and time, was breaking us down.
Regenerative break in the park
We arrived at the local supermarket after a handful of minutes being (luckily) only a few hundred metres away.
After restocking our backpacks, we decided to make a "short" stop in a quiet little green park just nearby; that was our downfall, but it is also true that we really needed it!
We threw our rucksacks down viciously and lay down like dead bodies in a war, the situation was as follows:
We, exhausted to the ground
At that point our energy was really low and the pains along the body were starting to make themselves felt a lot! At that point Andrea kindly asked Simone if he would give him a massage with some "Osteo Dolor" ointment (which was never missing, of course). We burst into laughter at Andrea's ambiguous question and Simone's subsequent reaction.
That laughter encapsulated all our tiredness but also our amusement.
At that point Simone gave in to poor Andrea, who was really in pain, and proceeded with the massage.
Andrea in pain and Simone having a laugh
In the meantime, Elena posed a fateful question to the group: "so what do we do? Do we continue towards Bivigliano or do we stop here?" The question none of us wanted to hear at that moment, but we had to face it.
There was a moment of awkward silence accompanied by Elena's biting smile.
None of us really wanted to go any further, and we suddenly considered stopping. But then we considered that, if we stopped, those kilometres would have to be covered the following day and we sincerely preferred to arrive earlier in Florence so that we could arrive more relaxed and enjoy our dinner, rather than arriving late and struggling.
It was already four o'clock in the afternoon and we didn't have much time to choose: there were still about fifteen kilometres to "Bivigliano" and the weather was not on our side.
Then, partly out of desperation and partly to give us courage, we decided to continue on to "Bivigliano". It was a decision that hurt everyone, but it had to be done anyway and we decided not to think about it. We still didn't know what was coming next.
The magic of Tuscan landscapes
That's why I love Tuscany!
If life had decided to give us a gift, it did so at just the right time.
Shortly after we set off again towards the destination of the fourth stage, in fact, the Tuscan landscapes left us incredibly open-mouthed: from the wonderful colours of the surrounding countryside, to the beautiful paths and the ornate houses scattered here and there in the middle of total nothingness. It was truly impressive.
The landscapes amazed us more and more!
We made our way along a few kilometres of asphalt and then took a small cobbled road that followed the sky: it was so steep that it looked like a path to heaven. We walked uphill for God knows how long and in the meantime we tried to beat the fatigue by talking about the more and the less; it was there that, chatting with Elena, I discovered that "Via Degli Dei" did not take that name because it was travelled by ancient Gods (Dei) in the past (as I believed), but simply because it crossed various mountains dedicated to ancient Gods. I was embarrassed by my ignorance and we had a healthy laugh!
Climbing and climbing, trudging to the top we finally began to see the summit and waited for Simone and Andrea, while Altea was just ahead of them.
When they reached us, we slowed our pace and let ourselves be enchanted by so much beauty. Up there it was full of beautiful rocks growing in the middle of the green, where nature was the protagonist together with many animals.
I still remember that path as one of the most beautiful on "Via Degli Dei": enchanting, because there was this beautiful gravel road with these beautiful houses on one side and a beautiful green meadow with a splendid view on the other.
We were pleasantly enchanted and took a short break to refill our water supply from a nearby fountain.
It was now half past six in the afternoon and there were still several kilometres to go.
I had no idea how many kilometres were left, so I was in an extremely good mood. So much so that I didn't feel tired anymore and I told Simone that the landscapes and the enchanting nature were really helping me to enjoy the walk and to reduce my exhaustion. He chuckled but then agreed with me, got carried away and started playing his favourite songs on his mobile phone playlist.
At that point we all reconnected in the absence of Matteo, who had left us a few kilometres before because he too sometimes liked to break away from the group and enjoy the journey alone (we found out later in the evening that he had stopped in "Sant'Agata" and that he would have done the longest stage the next day).
So now we were all together, walking to the notes of Simone's playlist, which gave us a not inconsiderable charge.
The light was slowly starting to go down, which made it all the more special.
The immense Tuscan valleys radiated an infinite beauty and we were all extremely fascinated by the wonderful landscapes we were admiring.
Wonderful gravel roads in the middle of nature
Surprises along the way
It was now almost seven o'clock in the evening and several kilometres still separated us from our destination. The winding roads immersed in the vegetation and the idea of being in the middle of nowhere, however, were too much for us (at least for me) and I was enjoying that day to the fullest, which had so far proved to be the best.
There was infinite peace!
Walking along those magical paths, then, we encountered another beautiful surprise typical of "Via Degli Dei" that we had noticed in the morning: a small table that contained food and water for the benefit of travellers. It was exciting once again to see how much goodness and spirit of sharing there was on this path.
I could not help but smile and be extremely grateful: at that moment I regained faith in the human race and thought once again: "how beautiful life is".
The beauty of the path!
Altea took the opportunity to take a small packet of "Tuc" and some beverages, as did Simone. We took a picture of each other, in the sweet company of some beautiful horses in the stable next door; it was a beautiful country place lost in the void. I didn't know who was behind that beautiful surprise but I was extremely grateful for it.
We continued as the sun went down, while Elena and Altea began to speed up the pace, telling us that if we didn't hurry we wouldn't get there in time.
In the meantime, they contacted the arrival campsite to make sure there would have been room for us even if we had arrived late.
Under the light that was beginning to fade, we left the beautiful countryside for a short distance, travelling a few metres along a cemented road which, once finished, put us in front of a fork in the road which proved fatal.
On one side were signs for "Via degli Dei" suggesting a left turn, and on the other a straight road with no signs. Obviously I would have followed the signs but Andrea and Simone looked at the map and noticed that it showed the opposite route, that is to say going straight on and ignoring the signs.
There was a peaceful debate in which I did not participate because the idea of getting lost, did not affect me at all, in fact it excited me! In the end we had enough food and water for the night and the idea of charging the mobile phone was not at all on my list of priorities.
For some strange reason we trusted Simone and Andrea and continued straight ahead towards that unknown road with no directions.
This was the exact point where we got lost
7.45p.m: now, since we had taken a different (wrong) route, we didn't even know how many kilometres we had left and we had about an hour and a half of daylight left.
At that point I was extremely happy and smiling and just dying of laughter, as Andrea kept complaining about his knee pain and I kept telling him that we would be there soon.
His looks of hatred towards me made me laugh out loud and put me in a good mood, although I admit I was obviously tempting him a bit too much!
Eight o'clock in the evening: we ventured along this gravel road up into the Tuscan hills surrounded by beautiful green valleys at sunset.
There was only us and nature
I commented on that beautiful moment: "bad luck, let's pitch our tents here!", with an ear-to-ear smile.
Andrea continued to look at me with deep hatred while Elena, like me always positive, supported me and raged against Andrea. We began to enjoy ourselves even more.
At that point we had confirmation that we were indeed lost as we could no longer find the point on the map.
The phone had no reception and we had no idea what we were going to do and as always, almost on purpose, a guardian angel came to our rescue. We heard the sound of a car's wheels on the gravel: someone was coming up the path.
We were blessed with good luck when we stopped the lady and asked her for information, she told us that we were not too far away and that we should go straight on to an abandoned farmhouse a few hundred meters away. She was our salvation.
At that point, I had no choice but to make some more sarcastic remarks in Andrea's favor: "come on, we're almost there! - I told him. He petrified me with his eyes and told me to piss off.
The light was disappearing faster and faster!
At that point of the journey we really needed to give each other strength and I thought about how sharing was what had always saved us until that moment. So I took out the bar of "Novi" chocolate that I had previously bought at the supermarket and told everyone to stop for a minute and take a piece (at least Andrea, perhaps, would have forgiven me).
Elena and I were leading the way, keeping up the mood and the pace, and then something magical and unexpected happened!
We heard some strange calls coming from somewhere in the woods and were a little alarmed, then we heard some sounds coming from the leaves. We regrouped and continued slowly.
The sounds intensified and we soon discovered where they were coming from. Suddenly, a small herd of wild boar crossed the path, just a few meters away from us! It was a thrill for me, unaware that they can be dangerous.
It was exciting, but it also made us think that maybe it was not such a good idea to pitch our tent there, in that hilly countryside.
The mammals disappeared in a hurry and holed up somewhere on the side of the path. Andrea then took the reins of the group, stamped his feet on the ground trying to scare them off and, very cautiously, we continued behind him with fear rising from our backs.
I was terrified and extremely excited at the same time!
Everything went smoothly and there was no sign of the boars. I was extremely happy because I had never seen one in my life and I had read that on "Via Dei Dei" they could be encountered, how exciting!
That lifted our spirits even more and we continued on for a few hundred meters, until another wonderful surprise awaited us.
A gift on the way
Elena and I were once again facing the group that was a bit detached from us.
We were in silence, enjoying the sounds of nature, the infinite calm and the incredible horizon that was fading away as the sun set.
Once again, I heard something move rather quickly in front of me on the left side of the path: I didn't have time to process the information when I saw in the blink of an eye a beautiful and very tall fawn scampering very quickly across the meadows among the trees of the hilly forest.
I was petrified and shivered in my back and arms: I had never seen a fawn in nature before!
Rimasi senza parole per qualche istante finchè gridai silenziosamente ad Elena: “oddio! Ma l’hai visto anche tu?” Con un estremo sorriso presente sul volto.
She was astonished because she had missed it. I told her and from that moment on, she began to perk up her ears and her eyes. So we went on a little further and she caught another one! This time I missed it myself.
Meanwhile, the light disappeared behind the mountains!
We proceeded to ask the group if they had seen anything: negative.
So we informed them and they were quite astonished, at which point they too became more attentive and joined us again.
We proceeded together at a brisk pace under a dark blue sky with the sun slowly disappearing; we had to hurry.
Eight forty-eight in the evening, the sun was disappearing behind the mountains and we were feeling the pressure to reach our destination; it wasn't too far now, but the fact that we were still in the middle of the woods worried us a little.
We tried to ignore the thought and carry on quickly but we couldn't help but stop and take a few photos of that magical moment and enjoy it to the full.
I was experiencing so many wonderful emotions that day and once again I said to myself: "ok, this is the best stage so far! There is nothing that can beat it".
Arrival in Bivigliano – destination fourth stage
We continued under the dark glow of the trees in the middle of the forest for several minutes when a glimmer of light appeared before our eyes!
Was this real? A great astonishment came over us, especially as our bodies were really feeling the fatigue after almost forty-three kilometres of walking up and down the hills.
So we quickened our pace, stopping only briefly to pet a few sweet ponies in a small stable near the entrance to the road and the exit from the forest.
We had made it! (Or almost). At that point we headed straight for the winding road to Bivigliano.
We were beside ourselves with excitement at the prospect of eating our way through and sleeping blissfully on sweet ground. At this point we were trudging along but proud of what we were about to accomplish; a few metres later we saw the sign saying "Bivigliano" and couldn't believe it.
We increased our pace, quick as hares at the excitement of having arrived. It was 9.08 p.m: the longest stage of our lives. On the left we could see something that looked very much like a campsite: it was ours.
Ugly and exhausted but extremely happy!
We had arrived!
Screams of joy and shivers! We took a few selfies in front of that damn sign that had cost us forty-three kilometres and thirteen hours of walking. We were exhausted but incredibly proud of ourselves.
Entrance to the campsite
We continued to walk the last few meters of road that would take us to the entrance of the campsite under a sky that was now completely dark and with the glow of the orange lights provided by the public lighting.
We reached the entrance (which was obviously located at the back and therefore cost us another two hundred meters of walking) and and entered like war winners.
We threw our rucksacks viciously to the ground and waited for someone to come to our rescue: we didn't have the strength to go looking for him.
That someone soon arrived, seeing our torn faces.
"Are you the people from La Futa campisite?" - the manager asked us.
"Yyyye..s, weeee are" - we answered exhausted.
We looked at him with sympathetic hatred and he smiled at us, saying that, in exchange, he could open the pool just for us.
With that answer he had made it up to us.
We reached the pitch: it was full of stones. Since we had not brought a mattress to sleep on, the night would certainly not have been comfortable, but that by now was the least of the problems, I only cared about eating and sleeping.
The guy asked us if we needed anything else and we told him to book a table at the restaurant; he proceeded and we, meanwhile, lay down on the ground exhausted but satisfied.
We didn't have the strength to wash ourselves, let alone put up our tents, but someone had to do it. We decided to pull ourselves together and help each other.
It took us a few minutes, after which Altea started the bets on how many kilometres we thought we had covered. The answers varied between thirty-five and forty-five kilometres; she told us: sixty-one thousand and forty-one steps for a total of forty-three point sixty-two kilometres.
We couldn't believe it. We smiled exhausted and an extreme feeling of satisfaction pervaded our bodies and minds. We had done well and we congratulated each other.
It was only at that point that we limped back to the table at the restaurant, which would close in half an hour.
We sat down at the table and the waitress, out of compassion, immediately brought us natural water; then we interrupted her by asking her to bring us the usual pilgrim's drink: beer! (we had to reward ourselves somehow).
We sat down at the table exclaiming a common "ahhh" of relief to rest our butts on those chairs that seemed to us the most comfortable in the world.
We read the menu with half-closed eyes and ordered food in industrial quantities: we were really, really hungry that night. So it was on to starters, cold meats and cheeses, plus giant and over-stuffed pizzas for each of us.
There was a dead silence: we were too busy devouring every crumb that appeared in front of us on the table, but I can assure you that we really enjoyed that food and that dinner, even if it was not of the best quality.
These below were our faces during the meal:
Hungry and exhausted
Dinner went on and ended rather quickly, at which point the tiredness had multiplied and we just wanted to run to sleep. We slowly went to pay and headed back to our tents, with Simone staying at the table to digest the kilos of food he had swallowed with us.
The idea of the swimming pool at that point quickly faded from our minds, as the idea of sleeping was too appealing.
I had no more energy to do anything that evening and neglected to update my travel book, which I would have done the following morning.
Tears of gratitude
I apologized to the guys and told them that I needed to sleep, they told me that it was no problem and that they would soon be asleep too.
It didn't take me long to slip into the comfortable sleeping bag and lock myself in my den. I turned off the torch and left my mobile phone somewhere.
I lay down on the ground noticing how uncomfortable it was to sleep on that pitch full of stones that stung my back but, once again, the important thing was to sleep and I was sure I would have done it anyway!
I stretched my bones with a slight spontaneous smile and half-closed eyes, typical of when you get into bed after a long and tiring day, happy to have made it and to be finally leaning against the mattress: I had been waiting for that moment for a long time that day.
That stage, that evening, was the icing on the cake of "Via Degli Dei".
I stood in silence listening to the sound of the leaves swaying in the trees and let myself shed a few spontaneous tears.
It was a cry of gratitude, joy, satisfaction, bliss and also a little melancholy, in fact a lot of melancholy. I knew that this would be the penultimate day together with those people, with Andrea, Simone, Elena and Altea.
I thought that life had decided to give me a gift and I thanked it for letting me meet those people at that very moment, on that very path and for having shared "Via Degli Dei" with them.
We had shared laughter and pain, herbal teas under the stars and chocolate bars. For some reason we had met each other by chance on the muddy roads of the camino and had decided that we would connect immediately and join in. None of this had been planned and I couldn't (can't) help but be extremely grateful for it.
I wiped my tears with the tip of my shirt sleeve and closed my eyes in a state of happiness and infinite gratitude, realizing that this was only the beginning of a long series of walks.
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