Almost there. After today, we walk towards Roma. And Isola Farnese is where we spend our last night prior to qualifying for the Testimonium. I imagined Isola Farnese as a suburb of Rome. What do they call them these days? A commuter town, where residents work elsewhere (like Rome) and go home to sleep. Having said that, I imagined Isola Farnese as a quiet town without much activity until its residents come home after office hours.
Before Isola Farnese, we first reached the old town of Formello just 8 kilometers out of Campagnano di Roma. What a relief to stop here to nourish and hydrate ourselves. Day 4 was a clear, sunny, humid day. Most of us soon did away with our windbreakers, sweaters, or jackets. Stripped to our shirts, we could have likewise done away with our backpacks if only to let our backs “breathe”. That pack on our back made it too warm for comfort. I sweated like an ice melted. While we passed flower fields and gardens, it didn’t make sense for us to circle around Veio Park when we could have gone straight from point to point. Our sense of aesthetics was badly impaired and our sense of humor nearly dried up. Must be the heat. Or the long, dry, monotonous walk. At one point, we cut across the field seeing that the path winds around a big patch of peonies. Cheats! 😜
It was HOT. And hardly any shade. I ran out of sunblock here. The view’s awesome but at a certain point (or temp), it’s difficult to appreciate Nature. I walked faster, sweated profusely, wished to be in our hotel soon. I walked on grassy fields, dismissed all thoughts of stepping on snakes, cut corners and did everything wrong. I was anxious to be in the hotel, dreaming of a bath and a cold beer before dinner. I only stopped when we walked by this mini-falls which we found so refreshing.
We arrived early enough. For a bath, a visit to the neighborhood church and for early evening cocktails. The parish priest looked so pleased to find all 11 of us. He stamped our pilgrim’s passports and even gifted us with rosaries which he used to bless us. Though very near Roma, the church volunteers reminded me of devout Catholics in the provinces. Busy, clearly with assigned chores and eager to please the parish priest. The altar boys’ vestments and the practicing choir attest to a very participative parish community.
Our hotel is not much to look at but it has a small garden where we were allowed to have our happy hours. All that while waiting for our clothes to dry in the clothesline. Soon after, we walked to this restaurant where we found a Tagalog-speaking Italian waiter. And I kid you not. His Filipino girlfriend taught him well and he amused us so while serving us well. Mind you, he’s a good salesman too. We ordered our steak or seafood dinners, desserts and drinks. Buon Apetito!