VF Day 31-33: A Pilgrimage of Exceptions

By on July 5, 2022

Besides the incessant heat, our greatest struggle is decided if we should rest on a rest day or seeing what’s all around us in whatever city/village we are in.

We have to decide, is it important to have a rest day in a small village with nothing to see or stay in a medium village with a bit of life but not too much so you don’t wear yourself? Or do you just rest when the body says it’s time? Everyone is different. I think ultimately the body will tell you what you can and cannot do.

Our dream rest day is a medium sized village, with a lively (but not too lively) piazza near us, a few interesting things to wander and see, but not too much or we won’t rest. 

There is one more critical piece to a perfect rest day – the accommodation. We have had all types on this trek, from the absolute most uncomfortable, stinky, hot, and nowhere to work accommodations to the magical little place we have here in Lucca. The room is small but it has all of the essentials, air conditioning, a decent bed, nice size shower, and a gorgeous courtyard.

Working and resting on a rest day

It was like our bodies said, “enough” and they called a time out. We just took a rest day in Marina di Massa. However, we were on the beach in the sun all day like tourists and our accommodation was the worst we have had the entire trip.

Here in Lucca, we did what we do best when our bodies feel they way they did coming in. We wandered around the piazzas near us and visited a couple of churches, but that’s all. Last night we didn’t even go back out for dinner. This was not how we saw our time in Lucca but alas it’s what we needed.

A rest day is completely different from being a tourist. When you are a tourist, you walk a lot of kilometers to see as much as you can of a town before you leave. We will have plenty of time for tourism after we make it to Rome.

Have you ever come home from a tourist vacation only to feel utterly exhausted? This is the feeling we try to avoid because our walking days are exhausting enough.

Then there are exceptions, like a beach, because it sounds utterly wonderful and relaxing. I have no regrets about that day, it was magical despite the accommodation and feeling exhausted the next day.

Life is full of exceptions and we need to embrace them. It’s a big part of why we are not purist trail hikers. We tried that and it wasn’t as much fun. We are on a long adventure and the days of waking lots of kilometers is not always fun. It’s hot on the trail in the summer. The trail is extremely tough at times and the days are long. We are making memories of all types, including a few we are creating when we make exceptions.

For the first time while on a pilgrimage we fully own our choices and will not be bound by what others think we should or should not do, where we should go or not go. They are our memories to create and it feels outstanding.

We will have to come back to be tourists in Lucca someday, along with other villages we have made note of for the future. 

The exceptions will continue again the day after tomorrow when we leave the trail for a day and a half to visit Pisa. The reviews of Pisa are mixed but there’s that famous leaning tower thing, you know, and it has to be seen. Haha! If we don’t go, it’s a town we may not come back to see and the town everyone will ask if we visited. Alas, we’re going to be tourists for a day.

It does mean losing a day on the Via Francigena but we are looking forward to the distraction. After Pisa, it will be time to buckle down and finish the last few weeks of this trail. Rome is calling and we are excited to tour it!

Take the time to enjoy the cappuccino

If you take anything from this blog, please remember your life is yours to live. Be happy with your path, your choices, and your exceptions.

Click here to enjoy our YouTube video from our walk from Sarzana to Camaiore.

Click here to enjoy our YouTube video from Camaiore to Lucca!

Walking stats from Massa di Marina to Camaiore – 11.5 km with a bus for 14 km

  • Lodging at Ostello del Pellegrino – €40

Walking stats from Camaiore to Lucca – 16 km with a bus for 9 km

  • Lodging at il Cortile di Elisa for two nights – €144

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



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