Celebrating my 70th birthday!!!

sulu

New Member
Hi, I'm planning to celebrate my birthday in style and walk from Reims to Aosta. I will start at the beginning of September and have booked a super hotel in Langres for the big night. Having done that I'm afraid I will be skipping a bit of Switzerland as it is soooo expensive bit I do really want to walk from Sembrancher to Aosta. If all goes well I will return to walk the next bit next year. Maybe I will be lucky and meet someone but usually I find myself completely alone. I'm enjoying the planning :)
 

sulu

New Member
Nearly ready for the off :)
I thought I had gone for overkill with guide books as I have both the Cicerone and the Light foot guides for a big part of the journey, fortunately I have plenty of time to plan and, with the help of googlemaps I have devised my own guide. I will carry the Cicerone with me, as it is lighter, I have taken bits of the lightfoot where it seems more appropriate to my needs and I have maps from Langres onwards. I don't camp but neither do I do hotels, unless I'm really desperate, I will be doing this as economically as possible.
My plan is:
Reims – Trépail
Trépail – Châlons en Champagne
Châlons en Champagne to either Vitry le François or Le Miex
Brienne-le-Château
Bar-sur-Aube
Châteauvilllain
St-Loup-sur-Aujon
Langres
Champlitte
Gy
Besancon
Chapelle des Buis
Vuillafans
Pontarlier
Yverdon
I know that plans very seldom work out so what will be will be, and I don't do technology and will only post something if I come across a computer somewhere. I think the biggest problem will be the 2 long days, especially as they are both on a Sunday, I've taken note of where the various bus shelters are so I can sit down on a seat for a rest!!!

 

Blanca

New Member
I just came back from walking Lausanne to Aosta August 13. Will be flying out again to Milan to pick up from Aosta to Rome. I have both Lightfoot guide and Cicerone. Lightfoot guide was not useful to me as I have no GPS. But from Lausanne to Aosta is well marked and didn't even look at the guidebook to find our way. Met a Dutch pilgrim who has the new book Via Francigena and he said it is fantastic. I live in Canada and can't find book here and really hoping to find a copy when I go back to Aosta and a good map of Italy.
 

sulu

New Member
I just came back from walking Lausanne to Aosta August 13. Will be flying out again to Milan to pick up from Aosta to Rome. I have both Lightfoot guide and Cicerone. Lightfoot guide was not useful to me as I have no GPS. But from Lausanne to Aosta is well marked and didn't even look at the guidebook to find our way. Met a Dutch pilgrim who has the new book Via Francigena and he said it is fantastic. I live in Canada and can't find book here and really hoping to find a copy when I go back to Aosta and a good map of Italy.
True Switzerland is very well signed, France is another thing entirely there are also many alternative routes of different lengths e.g: in the Lightfoot guide the route from Reims to Chalons-en-Champagne is 59 kms, in Cicerone it is 51; from Chalons Cicerone uses the route through Le Meix, whereas Lightfoot also explains the route through Vitry, both are long and either could be the preferred route in different weather. All roads lead to Rome, I imagine that the routes in the Lightfoot guide are the ones that have been signed but I'm all for going the shortest possible. The maps in the Lightfoot are good so I have had great fun comparing and contrasting, I don't think GPS is necessary for using some of the information.
 

simonshum

New Member
I just came back from walking Lausanne to Aosta August 13. Will be flying out again to Milan to pick up from Aosta to Rome. I have both Lightfoot guide and Cicerone. Lightfoot guide was not useful to me as I have no GPS. But from Lausanne to Aosta is well marked and didn't even look at the guidebook to find our way. Met a Dutch pilgrim who has the new book Via Francigena and he said it is fantastic. I live in Canada and can't find book here and really hoping to find a copy when I go back to Aosta and a good map of Italy.
Hi Blance, when do you plan to walk from Aosta to Rome, this year or 2018? We plan to walk from Lucca mid October this year or May 2018 as I have inflamed muscle problem at the moment? Hope to cross path sometimes!
 

sulu

New Member
Hi Sulu,
You may already be on your way...
Enjoy!
Thanks Domigee, I tried to answer you earlier but my mobile phone was reluctant:rolleyes:
I'm back now, it was wonderful. I will post info once I get my head back in place.
Sue
 

Pong

New Member
Congratulations on your 70th and on the manner of your celebration. I have been thinking of doing a similar thing...celebrating my 70 years on part of the Francigena. You have encouraged me.
 

sulu

New Member
Congratulations on your 70th and on the manner of your celebration. I have been thinking of doing a similar thing...celebrating my 70 years on part of the Francigena. You have encouraged me.
Hi Pong and welcome!
It was wonderful. It's a long route so there is plenty of choice for where and when to start but I found France to be an incredible experience; scenery, history and the most incredible people; friendly, helpful and supportive. There is more info in my blog if you haven't already read it: notdunroaminyet.blogspot.com
I do aim to go back and walk Aosta to Rome and I'm sure it will be a great experience but I doubt that it will beat France.
 

Pong

New Member
Sulu, again, thanks for the encouragement. I am starting to plan and want to begin in Canterbury, accomplishing the walk to Rome in 3 or 4 years, depending on how far I get in about one month per year. I am very eager to walk in France, despite much talk about the loneliness and lack of waymarking in the northeast. Sounds like there are apps to assist in route finding. My prior experience of France and the French people on road based visits has been really positive. I'm going directly to your blog now!
 

Blanca

New Member
Hi Everyone

Sorry for not responding. I haven't checked this forum since Aug 26. But to update I have completed the Via Francigena from Lausanne to Rome walking into Rome 16th of October. I did the Aosta to Siena leg on my own while my husband came for the Lausanne to Aosta and Siena to Rome. It is an experience of a lifetime. I have done the Camino from Saint Jean Pied du Port to Santiago and Lisbon to Santiago but Via Francegina I found was a whole different experience. When we got our testimonials the lady at the office said we can go the the Vatican house to ask the Swiss Guards if we can get invitation for general audience with Pope Francis. I walked up to the Swiss Guards and he handed me the invitations. So to end the pilgrimage we were able to wave to Pope Francis even from a distance. I was also my 55th birthday.
About technicalities I would not have been able to do it without Pocket Earth. I carried 2 paper guide books the Cicerone and Lightfoot Guide but Pocket Earth was what got me to where I was going. I am now home 3 days but when I wake up in the morning I am still thinking that I am still on the Via Francigena and wandering what village or town I am in. Until I open my eyes and realize I am home.
 

Pong

New Member
Bianca, Congratulations! Appreciate your comments about Pocket Earth as I am starting research/preparations for an April 2018 start. Doing it again, would you still carry the 2 paper guidebooks?
 

Blanca

New Member
Hi Pong, Thank you. I liked being able to read a little bit of history and information about the hamlets, towns and villages I was walking in. I also used the guidebooks occasionally to get info on accommodation although I didn't book accommodations when I was walking by myself. Somehow I managed to find a place to sleep everynight. It was always a suspense to walk into an albergo not knowing whether there was room for me. My fall back were the Ostellos. In some towns, it was almost a miracle that I got the last bed. I didn't have wifi to find accommodations. I ripped pages off the books as I went. If you have wifi you can just google the info. Also, both paper guidebooks showed alternate routes that Pocket Earth does not show. But these were only on a handful of stages. So I used both guidebooks but I carried a lot of extra weight. I think if I were to do it again I would just take the Cicerone guide and just the pages off the Lightfoot guide with the alternate routes that you plan to take. I hope this helps. If you have more questions please don't hesitate to ask. There is so much that I can say about this pilgrimage and they are all still fresh in my mind.
 

Blanca

New Member
Hi Mel, I carried an iPhone with no sim. My husband installed Pocket Earth Pro on it (as I am not good with new technology) and he downloaded the official Via Francigena route from the viefracigene.org website, under walking path, then under GPS track. I didn't carry a tablet. Just the iphone and a 10 year old mobile phone with a UK sim (orange prepaid) in case of emergency. I live in Canada. So as long as the arrow ( your current position) was on the blue line ( via francigena ) I was fine. Also if you somehow get lost, easy to find your way back as maps are so detailed. I took rest days in Portofino, Cinqueterre, Genoa and Assisi and I used pocket earth to navigate there too. Even public washrooms are shown, as well bars, restaurants, shopping, hostels, hotels, playground, camping site everything. And it only cost 6.99 Canadian dollars.
 

Melanie Trethowan

New Member
Hi Mel, I carried an iPhone with no sim. My husband installed Pocket Earth Pro on it (as I am not good with new technology) and he downloaded the official Via Francigena route from the viefracigene.org website, under walking path, then under GPS track. I didn't carry a tablet. Just the iphone and a 10 year old mobile phone with a UK sim (orange prepaid) in case of emergency. I live in Canada. So as long as the arrow ( your current position) was on the blue line ( via francigena ) I was fine. Also if you somehow get lost, easy to find your way back as maps are so detailed. I took rest days in Portofino, Cinqueterre, Genoa and Assisi and I used pocket earth to navigate there too. Even public washrooms are shown, as well bars, restaurants, shopping, hostels, hotels, playground, camping site everything. And it only cost 6.99 Canadian dollars.
Many thanks, Mel
 

Pong

New Member
Hi Pong, Thank you. I liked being able to read a little bit of history and information about the hamlets, towns and villages I was walking in. I also used the guidebooks occasionally to get info on accommodation although I didn't book accommodations when I was walking by myself. Somehow I managed to find a place to sleep everynight. It was always a suspense to walk into an albergo not knowing whether there was room for me. My fall back were the Ostellos. In some towns, it was almost a miracle that I got the last bed. I didn't have wifi to find accommodations. I ripped pages off the books as I went. If you have wifi you can just google the info. Also, both paper guidebooks showed alternate routes that Pocket Earth does not show. But these were only on a handful of stages. So I used both guidebooks but I carried a lot of extra weight. I think if I were to do it again I would just take the Cicerone guide and just the pages off the Lightfoot guide with the alternate routes that you plan to take. I hope this helps. If you have more questions please don't hesitate to ask. There is so much that I can say about this pilgrimage and they are all still fresh in my mind.
Thanks for the information. It is encouraging to hear that you were able to find lodging.
 

Domigee

Member
Congratulations @Bianca! And how fantastic you were able to see Pope Francis (even from a distance. :))
Fabulous walk isn't it!
So much so that I am right now planning to do it again next Summer (only the Italian part). Planning the itinerary -which I won't keep to of course :D - will help me through the Autumn/Winter days in the UK!
 
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