Camino di Assisi: free guide inside!

In the summer of 2012 Andreia and I went for a little stroll of 300Km. It took us 12 days.

Day 00

We ate in a little restaurant and there were only 3 other persons around. Very cosy.

In the hostel we found Veronika, she was the only person also doing the walk at the same time as us. The hostel was very hot.

Day 01

Along the way we got a credential stamped. While we waited for a mass to finish, we could look around:

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At night, we stayed in a refuge (from a Brazilian named Sílvia). We are Portuguese, so the coincidence was interesting.

She had cats, dogs, chickens, bees, honey, raspberries, flowers. A very nice farm. She makes onion jam and homemade pesto.

Day 02

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As usual, walking through the nature is great. We stayed in a agro/horsey tourism place. We went to a river close to it and before going to sleep we laid down on the grass in front of our bungalow.

The food was great. It was the first day that we ate bread without salt. Very nice!

Day 03

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We started the day with a strong climb. The views made us feel as if we were inside a postcard. We had done a considerable walk and by that time everything was tasting better.

When we reached the town where we stayed the night, I noticed a boy studying math in a coffee house in a Saturday afternoon in August. Am I the only one finding this unlikely?

We ate in a little nice restaurant. We had “pizza bread” for starters and banana liquor for… dessert. And with a view to the mountains.

Day 04

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The day started with a big storm. The last time it rained was two months before.

We had to stop. We found a refuge called S. Agostino where local boy scouts were doing a show about The Lord of the Rings. They gave us hot chocolate together with a private show.

In the afternoon the weather was good but it got really foggy because of the previous heavy rain.

Andreia and Veronika:

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Almost reaching the highest point of the journey:

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Day 05

This day was very hard. We were lost for about 2 hours. The maps were not the best and it shouldn’t be hard to find a better colour than green for the arrows in the woods.

To compensate, the three of us drank 1.5l of wine for dinner. Very nice!

image

Day 06

We reached La Verna. But before that we went through a fascinating forest just below La Verna.

The pictures I took are not good enough to represent the place. It’s like an enchanted wood with tall trees. It’s a really isolated place. When we were exiting the forest, we went down some little steps next to a closed gate with a big lock. It was like we were coming from a secret passage.

After La Verna we met an old lady from Alaska that was travelling alone. She was going to sleep next to a creepy empty church in the middle of the woods.

La Verna:

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Day 07

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The straight roads were very long. The maps had bugs again. One time the river appeared on the wrong side.

We found a truck selling fruits. While we bought the fruit we found out that the daughter of one of the old men sitting close studied in Portugal. People are always very friendly in these little places.

Tobacco leafs drying:

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Day 08

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Not the best of days. It’s a good idea to stay at the Somaia refuge instead of going directly to the next refuge. There are no shades and a lot of tar roads.

To reach our refuge we started moving faster at the end of the day. Not a good idea. Andreia injured her knee and I injured my Achilles’ heel.

Day 09

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It was raining a lot! And we had to recover, but we didn’t want to lose the day. So the master plan:

  1. Wake up.
  2. ???
  3. Profit!

And by ??? I mean, we took a bus. The bus driver was crazy! He was singing while driving, telling people to get close to him so that he could talk to them. He described the history of the place, complained about the politics, talked about his family. You name it!

Day 10

The fucking hunters day. I hate hunters… They go into those little holes in the ground and start shooting. We could hear guns from all sides. It was not relaxing.

We arrived in Gubbio. Beautiful place. Truffles are found by pigs in this region, so at night we ate some. Not the expensive ones, but not cheap either.

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We saw a Pandamyc. Fiat Pandas everywhere! One time we saw 5 of them in a row waiting for a green light.

During all this time I had no internet access and couldn’t feel the difference between the weekend and the other days. My phone sometimes would show me notifications of meetings that I should go if I was working. They were like little memories from another life where I had responsibilities and boring stuff to do.

Day 11

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We walked through a swamp with a post apocalyptic look and we reached a little village where we assisted to the Palio. It’s a party where there are games played by guys on  horse.

The locals are really supportive of their teams and the winning team partied all night.

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Day 12

The final day. In these journeys, the end feels more like a pause until the next one. Even so, it’s a great feeling!

Zig-zagging to the finish line:

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And here it is San Francisco di Assisi:

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Miscellaneous pictures

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A lake:

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“Bestiame”:

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“Don’t take the dogs with you! pretty please.”:

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“Danger! Do not cross during mating season!”:

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“A cat”:

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That is a big log right there:

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Here too:

image

Michaelangelo’s masterpiece in his hometown Caprese:

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WC stop:

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The same lake:

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Duck crossing:

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Bonus Picture

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Bonus picture: San Marino, not very far from San Francisco di Assisi

Tips

What worked for us: Go light, practice before with the shoes you are going to take, stretch when you finish the walk and use a decent map. It’s a free guide, what did you expect?

And this is how our honeymoon went.

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