Bon Dia , I'm from Somerset, Massachusetts,


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I'm in the " Planning " stage of walking the Via Francigena. Most likely start in the Spring, time it to Arrive at Bernard Pass when it is open. open to any suggestions,
Gracias, Cliff


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Hi Mark,
Yea figure I’ll start in canteberry , not sure if I’ll have time to walk the entire way through france. Definitely will walk from Bernard Pass to Rome,
sounds like you’ve walked this route, how many days would you recommend? I’ve seen some suggestions at 65 to 90 days. Tent necessary through france ? Rather not carry one if I don’t have to. I’m open to any suggestions
Where are you located ?
Hi Cliff.
I currently reside in Baltimore. If you are ever in the DC/Baltimore area, we can get together.

I took about 88 (i don't remember the exact was just short of 90) days to walk the whole route from Canterbury to Rome. I'm a slow walker. Averaged around 15 miles per day. Sometimes more (max was 23) and sometimes less.

I did take a tent. Used it a lot in France and Switzerland, but not as much in Italy. Main reason was to save money and to also stay close to the trail. Plus I enjoy nature.
Italy has lots of affordable pilgrim accomodations (10 euro)....but not so much in France and Switzerland.

Most folks do not take a tent.

I'm glad to help you any way I can. It is an amazing pilgrimage.



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What tent did you use. I only speak English, is that a concern?
Did you Carry cooking stove etc?
What guide book did you use?
Ciao Cliff.

Good questions.

I used the Duplex tent from Zpacks (21 oz). Also used the Zpacks Arc Blast backpack (also 21 oz.), and the Zpacks sleeping quilt (20 oz.). You can see that I'm a fan of Zpacks. Their stuff is very light. I wanted to keep my pack weight as low as possible.

I did not carry a cooking stove. I bought food from the local grocery stores along the way that did not need refrigeration. Local aged cheese, local dried sausage, fresh baked bread, nutella, pre-washed greens, nuts, etc. But I did carry a little pocket burner that screws onto a gas canister to make tea.

I used the Lightfoot Guide by Paul Chin (pdf version on my smartphone). It was okay and would use it again.

My best tool was the smartphone with the Project Fi phone/data plan. I use it everyday here in the US and it also works all over the world with the same sim card. Same charge rate no matter what country (US, UK, France, etc.). Only had a few dead spots the entire 2000 kilometers!

One note on camping: I mentioned earlier that i camped in order to save money, stay close to the trail, and enjoy nature. But it also provided me piece of mind knowing that I always had shelter. There were only three concerns during the pilgrimage - food, water, and shelter. So in reality, I only had two concerns.

I do not know any languages other than english. But I did teach myself basic words and phrases in french and italian. And I always approached people first speaking a simply word or phrase in their language. I also used a lot of hand signals. This was enough to get by. The more I tried the more I learned new words. It was challenging but fun.



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Hi Cliff
I walked from Reims, in France, to Italy, last September. Not a good time to walk because of the grape picking! Spring should be a lot easier. Accommodation was fine, although I did sleep on a bench one night:) There are often families who provide accommodation. The main thing that you need to plan for, I think, is which route to take in France. There is now a signed route, which is part of a route to Santiago but is not the historic Sigeric route. I followed the Sigeric route as far as possible, it is probably less well signed but is a great route. It was a wonderful experience and I met some fantastic and friendly people, though i do speak French, which was a great help.
If you care to see my route it is in my blog: August/September 2017
Enjoy your planning!