What is the Way of St. Francis like? After 117 miles in Italy, we have walked on busy highways, country roads, city streets, forest roads, paved farm roads, gravel farm roads, a long levee and wide gravel paths.
We have sometimes had to walk on busy roads because there has been no shoulder. Drivers here do pull over a bit, but it must be a sign of weakness to take their foot off the gas pedal.
On windy, narrow roads, we cross to avoid being on the inside of a blind corner, as Sue did today in Assisi before a white van zoomed around the bend. In cities, roundabouts pose special challenges. Also, drivers do not stop at crosswalks unless you are in the crosswalk.
Our boots have done some trail walking, but that has been a minority of the trek. Some of the trail portions have been in good condition, but considerable parts have been rocky, muddy, or rutted. Trekking poles often come in handy, especially on steep, slippery parts.
Once we were beyond the crazy streets of Assisi, today was relatively relaxing. There wasn’t much traffic, but Sue had to walk on the road next to a guardrail. We far prefer non-paved farm roads and forest roads, when all we have to do is enjoy the scenery — and walk uphill or downhill, most of the time. The Way of St. Francis is rarely flat.
Trekking is not a walk in the park. The challenge is one reason we do it. This trek has scenery to rival any, but our boots and bodies would be happier with less asphalt.