The Peripatetic Historian walks 650 miles to Rome following an ancient pilgrimage route

The apostle waits to greet pilgrims in Rome. All photos by the author.

It was a long walk.

In the summer of 2019, my wife, Mary, and I hiked 650 miles along the Via Romea Germanica. We started in the alpine town of Brennero, right on the Austrian/Italian border, and proceeded south, down the spine of Italy, to the city of Rome. …

The Oystercatcher, Coupeville, WA

Historic floating dock, Coupeville, Washington. All photos by author.

The pandemic interrupted my ongoing quest for the world’s best oyster burger. For more than a year I have been unable to search small towns along the west coast, categorizing, classifying, and ranking purveyors of this sublime dish. Plans to add the east coast, from Boston to Novia Scotia, were…

Why it may no longer be the sure path to literary success

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Conventional wisdom suggests that if you want to earn a living arranging words on a blank page, you must develop an “author’s platform.” The platform creates a bond between you and your dedicated fans; it forges a relationship, and keeps you in the heart and minds of your audience.


Bolzano, Italy to Termeno: Led into a trap, skipping the mountain museum, two lakes and one lovely glass of prosecco.

Castel San Firmiano, Bolzano, Italy.

Led astray by my GPS on the outskirts of Bolzano, we had ventured through an open gate in a high chain link fence. The trusty GPS indicated we just needed to walk to the other end of a short dirt road, and we would emerge back upon our designated route.

Bolzano, Italy: Shopping in an 800 year old mall, dodging Otzi’s spear, and a gruesome meeting with a former pilgrim.

Otzi, Bolzano’s Neolithic Iceman. All pictures by author.

“Stand back,” I shouted.

The neolithic hunter fixed us with his hostile eyes. He brandished a threatening spear.

Mary was mesmerized. She walked closer.

“No!” I gargled…

Welcome to the…

Collalbo, Italy to Bolzano: Strolling with Sigmund Freud, amazed by the Pyramids of the Earth, footsore after a long descent.

“Have you ever seen anything quite so strange?” I asked Mary.

She shook her head, mesmerized by the forest of inverted pink clay cones, each capped with a small stone. These arresting geological formations, a highlight of the hike into Bolzano, Italy, flanked the trail like stone Christmas trees. …

Chiusa to Collalbo, Italy: Lost in the mountains, the Church of Santa Verena, and a quick glimpse of the Pyramids of the Earth.

A day in the mountains. All photos by Richard and Mary Goodrich.

We awoke, miracles and wonders, to a rain-free morning. In fact, by the time we finished our breakfast, a few swathes of blue sky played overhead, and…

Dooger’s Seafood and Grill, Warrenton, Oregon

Cannons set to resist invasion, Fort Stevens, Oregon. All photos by author.

Warrenton is a small Oregon town set in the corner made by the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. Traveling north on Highway 101, it is the last stop before Astoria, and the bridge that crosses into Washington. It is also the home to a former military complex, Fort Stevens.

What drove three women to hike across the country to San Francisco in 1915?

Photo by Austin Ban on Unsplash

“We’ll foot it to the fair or faint.”

On March 18, 1915, three young women, Ruth Harsley, Ethel Rockwell, and Maud Bridson gathered in front of Chicago City Hall. Accompanied by Frisco Jack, a Scotch Collie adopted from the local pound, the trio were about to hike west on the…

How one small word changes the meaning of your actions.

Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash

This August, I submitted a letter to my department chair, announcing my intention to resign from my position as a history professor. My resignation will become effective May 2022, the end of our university’s academic year.

A day later the dean responded that I should alter one verb in my…

Richard J. Goodrich

Author and history professor. Monthly Newsletter, “What’s New in Old News” available at:

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