France

Sacrilige On The Camino:

First let me provide a definition of “sacrilige”: Pretty bad stuff right. Well here is what happened a few nights back on the Camino in Pimbo, France about 138K from St. Jean Pied-de-Port. I was staying at the communal Gite there but found out they surprisingly did not include wine with the evening meal. So …

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Starting The Camino in Lourdes Instead of St. Jean-Pied-de-Port

Yesterday was the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes. For anyone considering a Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage here are 9 reasons why it is a wonderful starting point. While a high majority of pilgrims wanting to do the Camino de Santiago for a month or longer choose St. Jean Pied-de-Port (SJPP) as a starting …

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HOW THE VIA FRANCIGENA CANTERBURY TO ROME PILGRIMAGE IS DIFFERENT FROM THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO.

This is one pilgrim’s perspective from a single pilgrimage ending in October and biased. However it will hopefully provide future pilgrims and Camino de Santiago veterans a sense of what to expect on Via Francigena (VF). 1. Longer Distance and Time: Of course the length is variable depending upon where one starts but the full …

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VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Day 33

Pontarlier to Jougne. Last day in France! Nice walk up into Jura mountains and then spectacular views of Chateau de Jous, a castle fortress protecting the mountain pass since 11th century. Continued great forest walking on a pleasant day. Even though we got lost lengthening the day it did not damper our spirits as it …

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VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Days 31-32

Days 31: Chapelle des Buis to Vuillafans Day 32: Vuillafans to Pontarlier After a long stretch it is wonderful to be in the forests and mountains as we approach Switzerland. Loved the changing terrain going from corn fields and flat rolling hills to the Jura Mountains following the Loue River to its source. Be careful …

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VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Day 30

Montboillon to Chapelle des Buis: Stopped in Besançon to take in some very impressive Roman ruins and the Cathedral St. Jean as well as a tour of Victor Hugo’s house. About 3:00 we headed up mountain which was a great feeling after 30 days of mostly flatlands to Chapelle des Buis, a Franciscan monk center. …

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VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Days 27-29

Days 27-29: Torcenay to Champlitte to Sevoux to Montboillon: One important point about this or any pilgrimage is not to be too rigid in your plans. We are growing a bit tired of the relatively flat farmlands since Reims and looking forward to the mountains. It is difficult realizing that after 4 weeks we are …

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VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Days 25-26

Day 25 Blessonville to Marac 24K Day 26 Marac to Torcenay 31K From Blessonville we walked on historical route road 8k to Richebourg and then veered right into a forest on the VF for a nice walk to Mormant and Templar abbey. Final stretch is historical route which closes with another forest walk and then …

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VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Days 23-24

Day 23 Unienville to Bar-Sur-Aube 20K Day 24 Aube to Blessonville 39K An interesting 2 days as the weather has broken and it is pleasant walking even in the afternoon. Although 39K was a bit of a stretch we hopefully won’t repeat. We ran out of water on the long day and trudged through a …

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VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Day 21

Coole to Donnement: We left Brigitte’s and Jean-Claude’s at 7:30 and Brigette walked the first K with us. What a lovely end to our beautiful stay! Then we walked hard as it is supposed to reach 37C today. Best to get done early. We continued on the historical route due south. We were welcomed in …

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VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Day 20

Day 20 Châlons-en-Champagne to Coole 28K Today was the kind of day that makes this pilgrimage special. We once again were welcomed by a kind and hospitable pilgrim friendly husband and wife. From Châlons we decided to take the alternate route due south as the terrain is a bit redundant and we can make up …

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VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Days 18-19

Day 18 Taissy to Conde-sur-Marne Day 19 Conde to Châlons-en-Champagne A nice day walking through the wine fields of Champagne. In Marne on a whim we stopped and visited Laurent-Perrier winery which was a favorite of Lord Montbatten and Prince Charles. Day 19 was an easy 18k walk along a canal. We reached Notre Dame …

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VIA FRANCIGENA: Canterbury to Rome Day 17

Rest day in Reims with Japan 88 Temple/ Camino buddy Patrick. It was such a nice afternoon with Patrick and Pascale that we could hardly decline their offer to stay and take a rest day. Patrick took us to the Foujita Chapel on the Mumm Champagne grounds. Foujita was a Japanese born artist who after …

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VIA FRANCIGENA: Canterbury to Rome Day 16

Laon to Corbeny. Drive to Reims. We could not find accommodation in Corbeny so our friend Patrick Puech from Reims came and picked us up and took us to his house. After the 10 days or so of intense heat this was a Camino blessing. A chance to get some rest and be treated as …

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VIA FRANCIGENA Canterbury to Rome Days 14-15

Day 14 Seraucourt-le-grand to Bertaucourt 32K         Day 15 Bertaucourt-Epourdon to Laon 27k Day 14 was one more tough walk on a hot day and we had to go 1 1/2K off trail to find a supermarket as there are no facilities in Bertaucourt. However, the experience in Laon was exceptional. We stopped …

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VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Day 11-12

Day 11 Perrone to Trefcon                 Day 12 Trefcon to Séraucourt-le-Grand The heat at around 35C/95F for a week now is growing wearisome. But a thunderstorm last night is the start of a front coming through. Tomorrow’s 30 will seem cool by comparison I suspect. We walked through Cartigny …

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VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Day 10

Bapaume to Perrone: The 4th consecutive day of heat around 35C/95F so we started out early at 6:45 and were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise. As we walked, cemeteries were increasingly common. German as well as Allied graveyards. At one point in the middle of nowhere we came to a small Australian Memorial. These small …

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VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Day 9

Arras to Bapaume: Left at 7 trying to beat the heat. For the 3rd day in a row the temperatures were in the 35-38C range. Passed 3 small Allied graveyards but missed the German one. Had nice chat with local on his bike who was very glad to see pilgrims from USA and Japan. He …

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VIA FRANCIGENA: Canterbury to Rome Day 8

Béthonsart to Arras 25K This was definitely a dog day of August. Someone said the temperature was 37C/98F. We were on an unmarked alternative route the last day and half and reconnected with Via Francigena marked path near Etrun, about 10k before Arras. The views were more of the same. Still pleasant but very reminiscent …

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