November 3 – Trieste

November 3, a rest day in Trieste, is our last day in Italy as we are about to cross into Slovenia. As Andre, Nadia and Paolo once again join us, we are so grateful for the assistance provided for us by FOCSIV who have been so committed to this pilgrimage and the significance of such endeavors. The months of planning and preparation from them and their team of volunteers in Rome have made everything possible for our journey through Italy, and we are all so grateful. Eva, Martina and Frederica also joined for some days and we are lucky to have shared part of the walk with them also. Now it is time to part with two amazing Italians (photo left) that have brought us so far since early October in Rome. Claudia, a FOCSIV volunteer, has been our guide, translator, navigator of routes, meetings and countless other tasks, and always a real part of the pilgrimage walking every step with us. We’ll remember and miss her laughter, and warm affection. We also say adieu to our driver, Peppe (Guiseppe), also a volunteer. Peppe took over from our old friend Paolo from our previous pilgrimage on October 14 in Citta di Castilla , and has not only transported our big baggage, arranged food along the way and been involved with route selections, but frequently cycled to meet us and join much of the walking also. Without their commitment to so many details the pilgrimage would not be possible – we will truly miss them as we trek onwards to Poland.

November 3 – the climate walkers join with Greenpeace to petition largest Italian insurance company to disinvest from fossil fuels– read more

November 3, our final day in Italy, we joined with Greenpeace staff for an important meeting at the head offices of Generali Insurance Company, Italy’s largest insurer, to request they withdraw from funding fossil fuels. With their next board meeting coming up in 4 days’ time, we leave post-cards filled out by pilgrims which show images of climate damage in our respective countries. I am able to fill out two – first for the UK and also to a photo of September’s flooding in the Carolinas which claimed 36 lives. We are able to give our views to the insurance company’s spokesperson, and our cards showing devastation from the countries we came from were offered: we are informed they will reach the highest levels before their board meeting. Greenpeace leader, Luca, is fairly optimistic our words may be heeded and will report back. (Update: We learn from Luca shortly afterwards that the new board decided to divest which is meet with jubilation on the pilgrimage.)

Also this is an important occasion in Italy as November 4 commemorates the ending of World War One a hundred years ago. With Peppe I watched the military rehearsal for the following day’s event when the Italian president would be in attendance. (We depart early for the Slovenian border.) Others in the group attended a cathedral service as today is part of a 4-day holiday in Italy following All Saints’ Day. (See Climate Pilgrimage Facebook page for more photos.) At left Greenpeace volunteers join us in Trieste.

Back to the evening of October 30 in Udine where we met with the mayor’s sustainability staff and representatives of CEVI, (Center for Volunteers of Udine), the Coalizione Clima Udine and the Associazione Climazione. These organizations helped put together a report on how climate change will impact the Frioli region in the next century. They projected rainfall will decline by 10-30% by the end of the century, which could seriously impact agriculture considering 30% of Frioli’s agricultural land is irrigated. Here Jane from Dublin, Ireland met up with us; her plan is to walk to Katowice with us giving reports back to Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM). October 31 was an opportunity to sight see in Udine while the weather was kind for us at last. (Above – newspaper interview on arrival in Trieste)

In Monfalcone where we arrived November 1, three families welcomed and hosted us overnight before our walk into Trieste. An evening presentation of Patrick’s film, before an audience of 46 local people, was met with enthusiasm and followed up with questions to the pilgrims. (I interchange between walkers and pilgrims – forgive me.) From Monfalcone we drove to Sistiana on the Adriatic coast and joined with mostly young people from a variety of organizations to walk to Trieste coordinated by Paola,a worker for ACCRI, an organization affiliated with FOCSIV. The 20 plus kilometer walk is along a mixture of road and track in mostly light rain (see photo above) , but one short heavy shower before a coffee break half-way at Santa Croce. On arrival on the outskirts of Trieste we were interviewed for a newspaper, and later that evening a radio program was recorded where we stayed for two nights.

On next blog – hopefully from Ljubljana in Slovenia, I will add final comments on Trieste support.