I’ve now been writing and editing my walking guidebook, The Way of St. Francis, for five days solid and thought I might share some additional examples of life at my temporary hangout in this charming town of Perugia. I’m coming to love it very much and will miss its warmth and charm in three weeks when I leave. When I do leave I will have completed the entire first draft of the book.
The writing and editing are going well. Essentially I’m changing my dictation transcriptions — painstakingly typed from voice recordings made during each walking stage — into actual book chapters that contain walking directions for each stage. By tomorrow morning I’ll complete my first draft on the walking stages I’ve already finished — 22 of 29 total. Then I’ll hit the road and walk or re-walk the remaining stages, returning to Casa Sandy each night to write and edit the day’s results. The process is a little tedious as I reconstruct some of the transcriptions that are now a month old, but at least my notes became increasingly specific and much more helpful the farther I walked last month.
So, when I’m not writing I’m simply enjoying life here in this town of 150,000 or so inhabitants. My daily routine in Perugia is simple: each morning after completing a chapter I walk to the grocery store to pick up the day’s supplies, carrying my cloth grocery sack. Afterward I return to my apartment and write some more, and when I’m done with that I write some more. This month there’s a nightly organ concert at the cathedral, so that becomes the highlight of each day. But the second best thing is my daily walk to the store.
Today is Saturday, so people are strolling about or having a slow coffee at an outdoor cafe, enjoying the coolness of the morning before the sun makes everything a little too warm. For fun, I decided to take a photo every 50 steps of my walk to the grocery store so others could see what my neighborhood is like. The results are in the gallery below.
This walk highlights for me what makes these medieval towns so wonderful — they are human scale, mostly free of cars and even mostly free of bikes. Back in the U.S. there are very few places where you can take a 15 minute walk to the store, pass restaurants, shops and churches, and never cross an automobile road.
More quotidian details: today I’ll have pasta for lunch at my apartment, so I bought a fresh loaf of bread, some fruit and, anticipating completion of the first stage of my book, I found a bottle of Sicilian limoncello to celebrate. That’s enough to last me a year, but what is Italy without an evening glass of that delightfully sweet, tart digestivo?