Henri Craemer |
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I sit at the crossroad, looking back on part one of Stage 9 of the St Francis Way. I have five alternatives, with no idea which one to take. Is Niels assuming that I will carry on with the road? Apart from this, I can...

  30 August 2017. One of the advantages of improved fitness, plus a good night’s sleep is that it makes getting up in the morning so much easier. Throw into this the fact that we’re going to do one of the shortest distances on an easy...

29 August 2017. We have to wait to settle the bill with the innkeeper of Buca di Michelangelo. While doing so, someone brings us a typical Italian breakfast: a jam tart, croissants and biscuits. We top it off with espresso. The others having breakfast with...

28 August 2017, after 15:00. Soon after settling into Albergo Buca di Michelangelo clouds start moving in. Until now we’ve been very fortunate to avoid rain, although it may well have brought welcome relief from the heat. The now familiar post-hike routine has not only...

26 August few minutes before 15:00, I approach the gate on the path into the lower reaches of Santuario Della Verna, after walking through one of the most incredible forests I’ve ever had the privilege to visit. Niels waits for me on the other side. “If...

26 August 2017. Rimbocchi seems to be a crossroad for a number of places – Badia Prataglia and La Verna being two. We see a number of cyclists passing through. Cycling seems to be very popular in Italy. The occasional group of around five bikers...

26 August 2017, before sunrise. Niels and I leave our backpacks in reception for portage on Stage 6 of the Francigena di San Francesco from Badia Prataglia to Santuario della Verna. This will be the first time I walk with my little red daypack containing...

In a previous piece, I discussed fitness for walking a Camino, or the Way of St Francis. I soon saw the flaws in my argument when I started walking with Niels, my super-fit hiking partner. I was right about two things. Firstly, one only gets truly...

25 August 2017. The day's trail from Camaldoli to Badia Prataglia beckons. After my day of healing in Camaldoli, I’d like to stay for a very long time. There is precious little to do, but the place has an atmosphere of deep peace about it....

August 24, 2017. After a very good night’s rest, I wake up. It’s just before sunrise when I get up to do my first daily routines. During the pilgrimage, as on any other day, I do a morning meditation. The only room in which I...