October 20 – Ferrara

October 16 concluded with an evening talk and film presentation was made for a local group with Luca Lombroso from Modena, a meteorologist offering an explanation on climate change. The next morning, with Sam now with us, we walked under grey skies, but thankfully no real rain, to Ravenna. Early the next morning we met with Legambiente volunteers who were working with a group of immigrants from North and West Africa, and one young man I met was from Bangladesh, who regularly assisted with street clean-ups (see photo) which also helped them to become part of the community while they studied. (The pilgrims also helped for about one hour before leaving.) Here I met with Monika, a woman from Katowice who now has lived in Italy for 21 years and volunteered with Legamiente; I hope to stay in touch as we walk towards her home. Monika commented that life in Italy was much better where there was less pollution and people here smiled more – and there were more sunny days than back home. The political atmosphere however in Italy is to limit refugees – it’s a current ongoing crisis with nothing certain. I learned that younger Italians were far more accepting of immigrants.

As we left Ravenna, the day was warmer as we proceeded to Sant’ Alberto. We are now nine walkers: besides myself there was Sam (pictured arriving in Forli), Berenice, Patrick, Yeb, Albert, AG with Claudia and Eva from FOCSIV. As was the following day, the roads were long, flat and it was just step after step – the day from San Alberto to Comaccio was along Valli di Comacchio lake where we encountered flies in particular buzzing us most of the way. Sam left us after about one hour into the journey. Arriving in Comaccio late Friday October 19, we’d covered three days walking of 23 to 26 kilometers each day. Our hosts met us and provided a meal before we offered a film presentation and answered questions about the pilgrimage. For the overnight stay we were driven the 10 kilometers to the Adriatic town of Mare e Pineta where beds were provided.

(Photo at left – Claudia and Eva from FOCSIV leading us on). At this point it’s notable to mention Patrick who has put together quite a few short films of the pilgrimage in 2015, and here included subtitles and addition material to convey why Yeb and many of us make these pilgrimages. As we departed the Comaccio region (by bus to Ferrara) Patrick pleased the walkers by announcing he would be able to stay now until we reach Poland, able to do further editing as we progressed through Slovenia and Austria. (Patrick, like me, is from England, but he has lived in Berlin for quite some time and considers that home at the moment.) Sadly Yeb was obliged to leave us for a while to return to the Philippines; his time on this journey cut short because of Schengen restriction to 90 days at a time in the EU – he will be returning to complete the journey. Other Filipino walkers hope to join us after we leave Italy pending visa issues.

So, Saturday afternoon I am now at an internet café to post this blog, and hope to file another one or two before reaching Trieste on November 2, our next rest day. Just as I discovered on the previous two pilgrimages, internet access for me is difficult considering the time spent walking, meetings, catching up on sleep and limited WiFi.