The first day while walking along the Swan River we bunched together, it was as if we were uncertain as to where we were going and whether we were up to leading the group. But by the second day we had settled into our own walking pace with some jostling to lead and others very happy to be the tail.
I had imagined that a pilgrim walk would equal some hardship and going without some of life's luxuries but on this walk we really didn't go without. The first day we visited St Charles Seminary at Guildford where we were served an amazing afternoon tea and meet some very interesting seminarians. The following day we gathered at The Chocolate Factory in the Swan Valley for morning tea; this theme continued and I'm suprised I haven't put on any weight.
The country side continually changed as we wandered through vineyards, along side rambling rivers, through farms, forests and cannola fields. As we got to know each other laughter and chatter filled our pathway, then at the end of each day the hospitality of our hosts was wonderful and we had plenty of stories to tell.
When we were approaching New Norcia there were mixed feelings, sad that the our special time together was ending but our feet were very happy. As we walked into New Norcia the bells were tolling to welcome us and this was followed by one of the monks symbolically washing two of the Pilgrims feet. Later that evening we gathered together, celebrating with a fine dinner and drinks at the hotel, then slept peacefully at the old convent.
Since returning home I have found it to be very quiet and the house empty as last week I had quickly adjusted to having so many lovely people around me - I'm now looking forward to the reunion next month.
|The group of Pilgrims before we set off Sunday 26 August|
|Thursday morning tea at Stringybark Vineyard|
|Walking through Kelly's Farm|
|Symbolic washing of the feet|
|Waking up Sunday to a misty morning at New Norcia|