10-year-old boy makes 2,800-km journey from Sicily to London by foot, bicycle and boat "just to see Granny".
Romeo Cox, a 10-year-old Italian-English boy, was born in London but moved with his family to Palermo, in Sicily, a few years ago.
Earlier this year Romeo had looked forward to spending his summer holidays in London with his paternal grandmother, who is in poor health, however the coronavirus lockdown and travel restrictions at the time prevented him from flying.
After much heartbreak and pleading on the part of Romeo, it was decided that he would make the 2,800-km journey to London by foot, along with his father Phil, a journalist and documentary maker.
Their adventures were documented along the way on social media, under the title Romeo's Big Journey Home, with Romeo inviting his followers to raise money for the Refugee Education Across Conflicts Trust (REACT), a charitable association run by his mother Giovanna.
The pair set off from Sicily on 18 June, with their journey across Europe taking them along the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrimage route between Canterbury and Rome.
They rose each morning at 04.30, walking around 20 kilometres a day, occasionally fending off stray dogs and wild boar, and staying the night in tents as well as in convents, churches and hostels.
Romeo says that on arrival in every new place he looked for other kids with a football, saying: "In Italy that is the best way to make friends and I can hold my own with the ball—even in Naples where the kids play really tough!"
On 20 September the two pilgrims arrived in London, where they were applauded in Trafalgar Square by people who had followed their epic journey via social media.
Romeo says he must complete a two-week quarantine before he can hug Granny Rosemary, who is counting down the days before she can greet her intrepid grandson with cakes and English tea.Photo: Rome's Big Journey Home
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Romeo's Big Journey Home: 10-year-old boy walks from Palermo to London to see his granny
Palermo, Province of Palermo, Italy