Travellers’ stories

It’s cold at night, so high up in the mountains (we are over 1000 metres up!)! The stove is going all night and yet it’s really chilly the moment I stick my toes out from under the duvet. It rained a little during the night and there is a new dusting of snow on the nearby mountaintops. We stay in bed until the sun has done its work of warming the van before we greet the day. It’s too cold for Yoga outside, so we ask if we can borrow a room in the leisure centre for half an hour. The mother of the family kindly leads us into the inhalation room. So today’s Yogic breaths are filled with a light scent of rotten eggs from the sulfuric spring. I’m sure it’s doing us good!

Later on in the day, we are in for a treat – they have decided to let us into the spa for half price – and in fact, we spend a good hour all on our own in this lovely spa with great showers, sauna, steam room and thermal jacuzzi. We feel all clean and relaxed. Frank tries very hard to offer a massage in return, but it seems that in Italy, or this part of Italy, people don’t like the idea of a male masseur. We hang out a little longer, inviting the daughter to come and see our van, and in the intimacy of our Emma, she opens her heart about her life. We have come across a number of heart-breaking stories on our journey; sometimes it’s easier to pour out your grief to a passing stranger than to confide in the people around you and people feel safe with us. We seem to be spreading happiness wherever we meet people… for those in great emotional pain, it doesn’t quite reach the stage of happiness, but it nevertheless seems to lighten their load a little. We feel honoured to be trusted and we hold the stories and the people in our hearts. Sometimes when this happens, I feel like we’re tapping into an ancient profession here, as if it may have been the job of a traveller in old times: we meet people, we bring a little light into their lives and we take a little of their burden away with us. This work of the heart is difficult to explain…. the stories that people gift to us gradually weave themselves into a tapestry of experiences that informs every subsequent meeting and experience along our journey.

 

It is 4pm by the time we are ready to leave. From Rivisondoli, we have a long descent past Sulmona all the way to Popoli, where we meet the river and carry on along the valley for a while before reaching the mountains at the other end and climbing up, using the old N17 and stopping off just as the road levels out at the top.

This is another overnight stop with spectacular night sky and deep and spacious quiet.

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At dawn the next morning, we feel all refreshed and full of beans, so we chase the sunrise to the top of the hill, enjoying spectacular views of the Sasso mountain range before returning to Emma for our Yoga session and a leisurely breakfast in the sunshine. As always, we also keep an eye out for wood to pick up for our stove…

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There are a couple more photos on this link

 


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