Being thankful in Rome … virtually

I did it! This Canadian Thanksgiving weekend I completed the Conqueror Challenge called St. Francis Way, virtually travelling from Florence to Rome.  I last posted about this personal quest in March, so it’s taken me quite a while, but it’s fun to be “visiting” my final destination – the antiquities of Rome – via the Challenge app as I sit here in eastern Canada enjoying the spectacular fall colours.


As I explained when I posted about this challenge early on the “journey”, whenever you run, walk, cycle, skip, or crawl and you’re tracking your movements with some activity monitoring device, the distance is automatically sent to your Challenge app and, ta-da, an updated map showing your new virtual location appears.  Also, the Google street view of where you are (virtually) appears, so you can get a bit of a sense of being there.  This is where I ended my journey, as I approached the Vatican.


There have been a number of wonderful views as I’ve “wandered” through Tuscany, but there have also been some pretty mundane views as the route passed through extensive flat agricultural fields.  And as I’ve come home from each run/walk and checked out my new distance on the map and the new street view of where I “was”, I’ve reflected on just how beautiful the real, local views are that I’ve just run or walked past.

This is one of the many things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend … and always: where we live.  We live in a smallish, friendly city that straddles both sides of a beautiful river – called the St. John River by the European colonizers and known for millennia as the Wolastoq to the Indigenous peoples.  Our city is graced by a host of walking trails on both sides of the river, connected by the Walking Bridge, a former railway bridge that was repurposed a few decades ago, as the former train tracks had been some time before that.  The trails are widely used in all seasons, busy with walkers, runners, cyclists, dog walkers, skate boarders, scooters, roller bladers, powered wheelchairs, you name it. And I am lucky enough to live right on one of the trails along the river.

As my Thanksgiving gift to my friends in the blogosphere, I thought I’d share the bounty Mother Nature has bestowed upon this part of the world.  It’s beautiful in every season.  (OK, a few of you might mind the cold of winter, but there’s no time more beautiful, really!).  When I’ve been running virtually through Italy these past many months, this is what I’ve been experiencing each and every day.


  1. Downtown Fredericton along the river



  1. Northside, views of/from Walking Bridge and the University of New Brunswick on the hillside




  1. Marysville Trail



  1. En route to the Walking Bridge, one of my favourite treed spots


  1. Behind the Lieutenant Governor’s Residence


  1. The Lincoln Trail



  1. Near St. Peter’s Church and Hartt Island


If you can’t make it to Italy, try New Brunswick instead.  Beautiful trails AND lobster, you can’t go wrong!

As I continue to enjoy the scenic delights of my hometown, I’ll now also be virtually run/walking the rugged highlands of Scotland.  Yes, I’ve just signed up for a new Conqueror Challenge, the North Coast 500.  Anyone care to join me in this quest??!


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Image credits: Howard Fritz, Jane Fritz, Tourism Fredericton,, Pinterest

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39 Responses to Being thankful in Rome … virtually

  1. Wonderful, thanks to Rome 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fredericton, Tuscany….both fabulous! Well done Jane! Happy thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Inkplume says:

    Beautiful photos! Our pre-Covid plan was to visit Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Hopefully we can do it next summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Inkplume says:

    PS: Congrats on completing your challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If I wasn’t busy in reality I would love to join you but that is yet to be! On with my work and challenges of the farm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Lol. You’re definitely too busy, Rita. Mind you, you could always track your movements during the day by wearing a Fitbit or Garmin. I bet you put in the miles without realizing it!! 😊


  6. BernieLynne says:

    Wow! Outstanding local views. The thing I miss the most about living in Saskatoon are the trails along the river. And if I met a friend for a walk or a bike you can bet that’s where it is. Thanks for taking me along on both spots. We were to bike Tuscany in April of 2021. Not sure when it will happen now. The Canadian seaboard provinces we have ear marked for the year our youngest grandson starts school so hoping in 4 years things will be safer. So looking forward to seeing a lot and plan to spend at least a month. Happy trails in gorgeous hilly Scotland! You’re in for some beautiful scenery but it won’t be in the cold and the rain!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Yes, I remember being impressed by Saskatoon’s river trails. And the pelicans that inhabit that region. Seeing pelicans on the prairies blew my mind. Gosh, I sure hope it’ll be safe for travelling in 4 years! Should be good timing.


  7. Well done, you! What a beautiful walk. In all seasons, I bet, but fall is spectacular in our neck of the woods. Someday, perhaps I’ll come to New Brunswick. If my knees weren’t so creaky, I’d join you in your new challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. barryh says:

    The area you live looks great for walking, Jane! But I think there’s maybe more snow than in the pics?
    Oh, and we did the real North Coast 500 some years before it got that name. There are some really beautiful stretches and some great detours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Aha, you noticed the absence of snow! You are correct, and I will admit that not everyone embraces the serious cold of winter, although I love it. BUT, the great thing about our trails is that the paved ones get plowed, and the sun melts the remaining crust so that they’re bare most of the time. The trails are happily used year round as a result. People also have bikes with big fat tires that work well in snow. 😊🏃🏽‍♀️🚴🏼‍♂️ Looking forward to “exploring” the Highlands, even if it’s only virtually.


  9. I seem to recall your doing something similar last year, yes? Beautiful scenery for sure. If it’s going to be virtual, then it should be pretty to see. Happy Thanksgiving, Jane! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  10. boblorentson says:

    Congrats on your “journey”.
    I remember traveling all through N.B. years ago, twice, a beautiful province.
    And good luck on Scotland. That North Coast 500 route is the one I hope to get to drive some day.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As you may well guess 🙂 I enjoy looking at other’s photo Blogs, the leaves in Fall are an often a forgotten about pleasure, then again when the leaves turn rustic shades of brown it’s then an unexpected pleasure……………oh and well done on your virtual trek, something I’ll consider lol when I’m retired!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Andrew. Yes, fall colours are one of those fleeting treasures of nature. Blink and they’ve fallen from the trees and winter is here! By the time you retire there will be virtual challenges to virtually everywhere. 😊


  12. heimdalco says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Jane! Beautiful photos, lovely views, amazing country. In Virginia, USA we only have some yellowing leaves … no real color yet, so I enjoyed particularly your autumn colors. .Thanks for the amazing visuals & tour

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Congratulations on completing your Italian journey! And thank you for sharing the photos of Fredericton. Although I’ve been to Italy, I’ve never been to New Brunswick. It looks absolutely beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Beautiful pictures, it’s interesting. Happy Thanksgiving dear Jane.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dr. John Persico Jr. says:

    Congratulations Robin. BTW, how did your ten best work out? Did you get much response to it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Well, that post had a lot of hits, etc, but the comments were mostly that they liked the idea but that there was too much “weight” for them to wrap their minds around individual suggestions. When I started working on the first few of my ten categories I could see what they meant! But, as I slowly work my way through the ten, I’m learning a lot, even when choosing the “greatest” contributors to some categories is pretty well impossible. 😊


  16. Beautiful photos. I love your bridge!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Roy McCarthy says:

    Wow it is beautiful there Jane, lovely golden colours, riverscapes, views, nature. Very runnable as well 🙂 Not for me those virtually challenges but I wish you well in the wilds of Scotland. I have a friend who has just bought, with her new husband, a combined house/sheep farm in a small village on the east coast. Apparently there’s some planning law which says you need to run the farm if you buy the house!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Roy. Yes, we both live in beautiful, runnable places. We can count our blessings. Maybe I’ll virtually run by your friends’ sheep farm! Fun. We went through our farming phase with our first home (and barns and 100 acres) here in New Brunswick. And we had Scottish Highland cattle! I’m hoping to virtually encounter a few on my challenge over the next 12 months. 😊


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