August 7, 2010.
They say “All roads lead to Rome”. And well, Anna-Marie, Joseph and Gregory Treolar can really appreciate that. The two brothers and their sister have embarked on a very special trip, travelling the 2,000 kilometers which separate Canterbury from Rome.
Although it sounds easy, it’s another matter when you travel the distance by bicycle.
The three were very clear that they wanted to journey via the 'Via Romea ", also known as Francigena route. This is a famous road that links medieval Canterbury to Rome. After crossing the Channel, the road passes through France, Switzerland and Italy, finally reaching the Eternal City.
"I supose we could make the trip just as a tourist trip to Rome by plane, we chose the way of going by bike because it was a long journey and we had time to....a journey of prayer on the way really"
It’s a trip bringing together a passion for cycling, and also another ingredient – that of faith. A true pilgrimage the Treolar family has undertaken to reach the Eternal City, the place where the Pope lives.
"It's been good for my faith because we have been taking, I mean in reverse, the road of many english martyrs which have taken to England whetever they have been killed during the reformation at the time. So it's been quite expecially uplifting for us too, so we experienced what martyrs..."
It’s an uplifting experience, but also a difficult one. In addition to the physical effort and resulting fatigue, they’ve also suffered a few setbacks during the journey. From flat tires, to a visit to Gregory hospital after hitting a utility pole. Despite the accident, he says it was all worth it.
The adventure culminated with the Treolar’s the arrival to Saint Peter’s. 20 days endured on a bicycle, journeying on roads from the tenth century, ones which so many pilgrims have travelled before and do so still today on their way to Rome.