We stayed in a quiet and quaint village by a rocky river. After a small sleep-in we walked slowly out of town, glancing about us at the ancient buildings huddled together while a few locals nodded with a ‘bongiorno’. Always older men walking about, with a few younger ones earnestly off to work and shop shutters being noisily raised. At all times, when leaving a village, we are aware of our noisy poles on the cobblestones so use them sparingly usually for balance and … we’re used to using them – they almost never leave our hands.

Narrow paths through backstreets took us past quite large homes with dogs greeting us with their varied pitches while cats sat or moved stealthily across the pathways. I passed one barking dog and waited for the others to round the bend. The dog’s owner did not know I had stopped and let her dog out. This now snarling dog headed straight towards me so I went into self protection mode and found yet another use for my walking pole.

Out of town along a main road for a few minutes then up once again into the foothills – across rocky rivers searching for stable round stones beneath our feet – gradual climbs then a sudden short steep section, autumn leaves cushioning our feet, a quick rest as we wait for each other, a drink and then off through dark rainforest areas with thick moss covering rocky edges of the path.

A halfway visit to the bar where young vibrant youth sat also with their coffee, their dogs entertaining us with their play rather than treating us as a potential intruder. Into the bushes once more, up, down, around, chatting or quiet, depending on the climb and the desire. Once more a final stretch into town, asking passing locals for directions to our sleep place which took us down the usual and varied back lanes.