The Via Francigena Day 13: A Contemplation Bench

The Via Francigena Day 13: A Contemplation Bench

Jun 13, 2022 | All Blog Posts, Via Francigena | 2 comments

Sometimes we all need a spot to rest, to think, to regroup, to pause, and of course, to contemplate.

Considering how I felt about the long downhill walk into Aosta, Italy

When we did our practice Camino on the Little Miami Scenic trail in March, see blogs here, I needed more benches then I ever saw along the trail. The trail is more designed for cyclists so there were plenty of benches, just further apart. I’m not complaining, it was way too cold to sit and consider anything other than, “Dang, I’m cold!”

It was while I was reminiscing about my feelings from March on our first day of walking the Via Francigena when I saw a bench and said to Brian, “I need a minute to contemplate.” What I wanted to say was, “I’m tired, I can’t believe we’re doing this, what were we thinking, I’m too fat, I’m not ready, this is hard, Rome is far away…” You get the idea. It was one big holy cow moment.

Taking a moment to contemplate on our 2nd day of walking

Ever since that day, when we pass by a bench I say to Brian, “Do you need a minute to contemplate?” Unless of course I have already told him I need a minute. There’s a lot of value in acknowledging your emotional state, sitting down to think about what you need, how to say something, or what you can do about what you’re feeling, before just pushing onward. It’s definitely a metaphor we can apply to how we communicate with our partner.

When we push through our emotions, trying to ignore any pain we are feeling, we are doing a disservice to others who have to be around us in that state. Emotions are a tricky beast. One minute we can be dancing in the streets, having that I’m on top of the world feeling. The next we trip over a rock on an old Roman road and are mad at the world for putting us in that position.

We know the Roman’s didn’t come back from the past to move the rock so we trip over it, but sometimes, if we aren’t managing our emotions, it can feel that way. Sometimes that top of the world feeling is genuine, other times there is something we are trying to suppress, so in turn, we need a contemplation bench.

We don’t need to stop at every bench we see but we do intentionally contemplate our feelings before they get out of control. Brian and I are together 24/7 as we tax our bodies to their maximum during the hottest days of summer.

We’re together this much most summers so it’s not like it’s something new but it’s not every year that we decide to backpack over 900 kilometers in 50 days. Wow, I need a contemplation bench.

A beautiful place to rest or contemplate provided by someone who lives on the Via Francigena

I will leave you with this, contemplating your emotions before they explode will help you and the ones you love. Just pull up a contemplation bench and rest in what you feel until you understand it yourself. Your relationship will thank you.

Stats walking from Roppollo to Santhià – 16 km. Check out our YouTube video too!

  • Lodging for 2 nights at Hotel Ristorante Vittoria– €144 – what we liked about this accommodation was that patrons of the hotel had full access to the bar and restaurant even though it was closed to the public on Monday.

*Listing our accommodation is not an endorsement. This is just a point of information for fellow pilgrims. See our reviews on, the guidebooks, and fellow pilgrims for more details to make the decision best for you.


  1. Cathy

    Hi Michelle and Brian Are you doing blogs about your actual walks.
    I am wondering if I am missing something

    • The Colemans

      Hi Cathy, I’m blogging as we walk the Via Francigena. My topics are random thoughts as we walk with specific stats about mileage and money. We’re also posting videos on our YouTube channel if you’re looking for more of a play-by-play of our walk on the Via Francigena. Does that help?


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