The hardy band begins to assemble and plan for our trip

With the inclusion of dear Camino 2011 friend, Andreas, our Via San Francesco group now number four hardy and experienced pilgrims. Each is known for his or her own unique strengths:

  • Jacqueline — Walks at the “Austrian pace” which we’ve learned is fastest among all pilgrim nationalities;
  • Sebastian — Provides the humor — often understandable to non-Germans, and also makes us aware of all fire fighting technology seen along the way;
  • Andreas — Amazes all with his mastery of all things Tolkien, as well as his musical gifts and friendly spirit; and
  • Me — The √©minence grise who supplies wisdom — whether it’s welcome or not — and who obsessively insists on walking into any church that happens to have an unlocked door.
PilgrimsatPalasdeRei

Here’s my one photo with all our 2013 pilgrims together in one place. From left: Jacqueline, Catia, Nikki, Andreas, moi, Sebastian, Annina, Alex.

As well as setting the pace, Jacqueline has been the primary researcher for our walk, hunting down blogs, websites and the occasional (though rare) travel guide. This task has devolved to Jacqueline since most of the materials are in German. She’s set up a plan for us that follows this itinerary of a fairly disparate group of resources, from websites like this for guidebooks like this. Next month the newest edition of the primary guidebook, by Angela Serrachioli, will be published. As with the Camino de Santiago the best guidebooks seem to be in German. So having two German/English speakers (plus Andreas speaks German pretty well) will be an important plus.

Right now our daily itinerary looks like this:

ViaSanFrancescoMap

  1. Assisi – Spello (24km)
  2. Spello – Trevi (14km)
  3. Trevi – Spoleto (18km or 28km?)
  4. Spoleto – Ceselli (16km)
  5. Ceselli – Piediluco (27 km)
  6. Piediluco – Poggio Bustone (21km)
  7. Poggio Bustone – Rieti (18km)
  8. Rieti – Poggio San Lorenzo (21km)
  9. Poggio San Lorenzo – Pontecelli di Scandriglia (26km)
  10. Pontecelli di Scandriglio – Monterotondo (28km)
  11. Monterotondo – Monte Sacro (18km)
  12. Monte Sacro – St. John in Lateran – St. Peter in Vatican

However it’s very likely we’ll head to¬†Poggio Bustone, Terminillo, Piediluco and La Foresta which are important St. Francis sites and apparently in quite beautiful territory. These are off the track, though, which means we’ll either walk them twice (to and from) or find transport to take us one way or the other.

In the next few days I’ll buy airline tickets, plus I’ll read a couple of the new biographies of St. Francis that just this week were reviewed in the New Yorker. Four months of waiting (sigh) and planning (smile).