Welcome to Left then Right: Via Francigena pilgrimage in Italy. Buon Cammino.

This is about a long walk I took to celebrate the exquisite perfection of being alive.   I have written a simple account of my walk from Switzerland to Rome on the Via Francigena pilgrimage which I traversed July-September 2017. Rather than being a travel blog, it instead describes my feelings and encounters along the way. ‘Left then Right’ may be interpreted as ‘Wrong ‘(way) before ‘Right’ (way) as was the typical course I took due to my directional-dyslexia disorder. Or it may be interpreted as purely putting the Left foot ahead of the Right foot, step by step. Both of these could be considered accurate of my trajectory along the 1100 km which culminated in my arrival in Rome. Walking is the most mindful, often painful, but definitely meaningful, activity I can think of to align body, mind and spirit with the universal forces of humanity and divinity. Buon Cammino Laura. T. Rust

Quotes and Poems for walking and wandering

As I went walking that ribbon of highway I saw above me that endless skyway And saw below me that golden valley This land was made for you and me. I roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps To the sparkling sands of the diamond deserts And all around me a voice was sounding This land was made for you and me. When the sun comes shining, then I was strolling In the wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting This land was made for you and me.  I have never thought so much, existed so much, lived so much, been so much myself; if I may venture to use the phrase, as in the journeys which I have made alone and on foot. Rousseau I like to walk at my ease, and to stop when I like. A wandering life is what I want. To walk through a beautiful country in fine weather, without being obliged to hurry, and with a pleasant prospect at the end, is of all kinds of life, the one best suited to my taste. Rousseau


                                                 Afterthoughts Italians will still drink coffee when it's hot and eat Gelato when it's cold. Everything in the backpack must be of use and used along the way otherwise ditch it. Bars open at 0530 and sell alcohol, coffee, snacks, croissants and little else. Italian is a very sexy language. Default language is French. All Italian women wear bikinis. Showing a lot of leg is OK but cleavage less so. Definitely cover shoulders, neck and knees in churches. There are many opportunities to interact with Italians on the VF. It is vital to have WiFi, GPS, various sources for navigation and the phone number of at least one other pilgrim if traveling alone. A whistle is imperative for safety if out of phone coverage area and wounded/lost/stuck (particularly on a never-used river-bed). Pharmacies are air conditioned, staff speak English and the floor tiles are so cool and comforting to ease swollen, achi

Venice to Switzerland following the VF- photos only


Rome to Venice following the VF- photos only


Rome 20/9/17

20/9/17 Wednesday 6 th Anniversary of my father's death In Rome I attend the Papal Audience with my Danish comrade. How apt to see the Papa of Rome on a day when the memories of my own father are so poignant. It is momentous, sublime and surreal.

Rome 19/9/17

19/9/17 Tuesday Day 46 To Rome 20 km Sun and clouds 0630 Departure from the convent. Find our way to Monte Mario using Sloways. The first vista towards the Vatican is exhilarating and calls for a Quiet Moment. The sun is rising over the city. The park itself is unmaintained: graffiti, weeds, damaged paths and signs. We step on, feeling a lightness of spirit as we reach St Peter's Square. Of course I feel triumphant; this is Rome. I am here. I have walked a very long way-mostly alone. I am awash with a feeling of warmth and peace which I recognise simply, as, gratitude. The morning is bathed in a mellow glow as we sit on the ground in the square quite unfazed by the frenetic activity of tourists amassing. We make our way towards the police guard, wishing to collect my reserved ticket to the Papal Audience the next day. I am met with brash rudeness and not allowed to pass through. I then approach the Swiss Guards who shake their heads at th