Italy 24 September: Norcia - Assisi

NORCIA TO ASSISI - PEACE BLOSSOM - PEACE MILE

Final strech to Assisi

We met the runners from Norcia Run on the main square of Norcia for the first stretch of the day.

...and exchanged t-shirts.

Dima running by an earthquake-destroyed house.

The Norcia Runners picked a very nice 6k trail through the forest.

New friends.

For some reason nobody wanted to jump...??

Time to say goodbye!

Natalia shining.

The next few kilometers were along quite a busy road.

But no problem for our team captain.

Dima had found some spooky tunnel on the way and is sharing the experience.

Introducing Mary.

Mary is all about disobeying her owner, running around and playing.

Catch me if you can!

Darina up the hill.

Speed I need!

More scenic landscapes

Run and eat...

...and eat...

...and run!

The first sign of Assisi.

First time in Assisi? Here is all you need:)

Our guide through the city.

Peace Run reaches its final destination in Italy for this year.

Beautiful city, wish we had more time to discover...

Meeting the monks.

Good time together.

These young monks were (like our team) very international. One came from as far as Mexico!

We received our official pilgrim certificate from the Padre Custode Mauro Gambetti.

It does not look steep, but it really is. Really!

What goes up must come down. See the happy faces?

Next on the program is the inauguration of the Forest of St. Francis as a SRI CHINMOY PEACE BLOSSOM. The Peace Blossoms are landmarks of special significance, mountains and even countries that are dedicated to world peace and serve as a reminder and inspiration towards this noblest goal of humanity.

Peace Run is naturally in perfect tune with this philosophy and we felt more than at home.

Dignitaries from various walk of life shared their inspiration and goodwill at the ceremony.

We also had a wonderful musical program Sri Chinmoys songs on the topic of peace

Special thanks to the lawyer Nives Maria Tei Coaccioli representing FAI (Fondo Ambinte Italiano). FAI are the caretakers of the forest and who decided to contribute to world peace in such a significant way.

PEACE has many names.

Unveiling of the plaque.

Moment of silence.

...like in the good old days...

Peace between religions.

Here we are at the next ceremony: Unveiling of the SRI CHINMOY PEACE MILE in Cannara. The Mayor, many officials and many villagers came.

....aaaand here it is! The peace plaque.

To be frank we have to say that we are kind of used to ceremonies. And we love them. But usually the team runs in and runs out.

Not so in Cannera: We drove in. (Because the run officially ended in Assisi and we already had ran 80k and we were bit late) Then we had the ceremony... And then EVERYBODY ran the one mile that we just dedicated to peace.

And I mean everybody!

This was overwhelming!!!

This is the stone that marks the spot where St Francis spoke to the birds

Yes, this is the famous peace torch!

It was simply amazing: after running together the spirit of friendship, brotherhood and oneness was so tangible.

When people are peaceful and happy together it makes you realize what a wonderful place this world could (and certainly will) one day become.

Offering a prayer together.

We then walked to the official end of the Peace mile.

To unveil the second plaque!!! Note that the plaques are not the same, but have different birds and different quotes on them.

Holding the torch is Domenico Ignozza the President of CONI Umbria. Every runner got a nice bag of onions - which this region is famous for.

Our captain felt much more captain with a proper hat!

And that´s it. The end of an incredibly rich Peace Run in Italy. These four days felt to us more like two weeks and will stay in our hearts forever.