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Live from Via Francigena Il Vaticano, Roma

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kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP('15)
St Olavs Way Norway('16)
88 Temples Japan('17)
PWC & VF(2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP(2020)
London to Rome:
21 March - 20 June, 2019


"The sorry relief of arrival..."
Gideon Lewis-Kraus, A Sense of Direction

2,847,786 steps
5234+ flights of stairs (frm πŸ‡«πŸ‡·) = equiv ascent 2117.9 kilometres walked
93 days
84 Schengen visa days
36 degrees C, top temperature
7 days rain (only 1 all day rain)
5 countries (incl Vatican City)
4 languages (incl Swiss German)
3 currencies
2 snake encounters (+ plenty squished)
1 goat rescue
1 croissant eaten (I don't like them)
1 blister
1 pair of shoes
and.....
1 exhausted, relieved, sad but happy walker.

Just goes to show...

"Everywhere is walking distance, if you have the time" Stephen Wright

Photos:
i/ & so it begins... 21 March
Southwark Cathedral, London
ii/ VF start marker almost lost amongst the Canterbury Cathedral restoration works
iii/ from this...
iv/ & this through northern & central France
v/ the price shock on entering Switzerland!
vi/ but oh... so worth it
vii/ beautiful Valle d'Aosta
viii/ Tuscan hilltop splendour
ix/ & those #@* hills were neverending 😫
x/ Words cannot describe.... 20 June

Signing off from the Via Francigena,
πŸ‘£ 🌏
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Galloglaigh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Member of the Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), CP (2020)
Well done. Treat yourself to an extra gelato.

You'll find you want to consume everything in sight for the next week as your body slows down.
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP('15)
St Olavs Way Norway('16)
88 Temples Japan('17)
PWC & VF(2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP(2020)
Well done. Treat yourself to an extra gelato.

You'll find you want to consume everything in sight for the next week as your body slows down.
You mean 4 scoops instead of my usual 3? 😁 πŸ˜‡
Thanks A...a lot to take in so I just need to let it settle where it may. I'm in Croatia (non Schengen) for a bit of a holiday before the long haul flight home. The walking bubble must burst unfortunately.
Hope you've recovered from your epic journey & are doing well.
πŸ‘£ 🌏
 

Chrisp

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: 2014
EPW: 2015
Portuguese Camino: 2016
TMB: 2016
Rota Vicentina: 2017
VF: 2018
London to Rome:
21 March - 20 June, 2019


"The sorry relief of arrival..."
Gideon Lewis-Kraus, A Sense of Direction

2,847,786 steps
5234+ flights of stairs (frm πŸ‡«πŸ‡·) = equiv ascent 2117.9 kilometres walked
93 days
84 Schengen visa days
36 degrees C, top temperature
7 days rain (only 1 all day rain)
5 countries (incl Vatican City)
4 languages (incl Swiss German)
3 currencies
2 snake encounters (+ plenty squished)
1 goat rescue
1 croissant eaten (I don't like them)
1 pair of shoes
and.....
1 exhausted, relieved, sad but happy walker.

Just goes to show...

"Everywhere is walking distance, if you have the time" Stephen Wright

Photos:
i/ & so it begins... 21 March
Southwark Cathedral, London
ii/ VF start marker almost lost amongst the Canterbury Cathedral restoration works
iii/ from this...
iv/ & this through northern & central France
v/ the price shock on entering Switzerland!
vi/ but oh... so worth it
vii/ beautiful Valle d'Aosta
viii/ Tuscan hilltop splendour
ix/ & those #@* hills were neverending 😫
x/ Words cannot describe.... 20 June

Signing off from the Via Francigena,
πŸ‘£ 🌏
Congratulations Tassie Kaz. You are totally awesome πŸ‘ and should feel very proud. Now go and put your feet up and and have a proper holiday πŸ˜ƒπŸΎπŸ₯‚πŸ†
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP('15)
St Olavs Way Norway('16)
88 Temples Japan('17)
PWC & VF(2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP(2020)
Congratulations Tassie Kaz. You are totally awesome πŸ‘ and should feel very proud. Now go and put your feet up and and have a proper holiday πŸ˜ƒπŸΎπŸ₯‚πŸ†
Thanks for the kind words Chrisp. The thing is, my feet don't know how to be up...unless it's up mountains or hills! Still clocking up the k's & topping up the walkers tan here in Split...but at least it's backpack-free. πŸ€—
πŸ‘£ 🌏
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Congratulations Tassie Kaz! A great achievement and one that you will treasure, along with your other accomplishments. I am currently preparing a talk on the VF and really enjoying reflecting as I look at, and select, the photos to show. So many memories, and I know you will have many special ones from your journey too. Hopefully we can catch up on the phone on your return. Well done. Enjoy your well earned rest, Janet
 

Harington

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VΓ©zelay/FrancΓ©s 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, InglΓ©s 2015, Francigena 2016
London to Rome:
21 March - 20 June, 2019


"The sorry relief of arrival..."
Gideon Lewis-Kraus, A Sense of Direction

2,847,786 steps
5234+ flights of stairs (frm πŸ‡«πŸ‡·) = equiv ascent 2117.9 kilometres walked
93 days
84 Schengen visa days
36 degrees C, top temperature
7 days rain (only 1 all day rain)
5 countries (incl Vatican City)
4 languages (incl Swiss German)
3 currencies
2 snake encounters (+ plenty squished)
1 goat rescue
1 croissant eaten (I don't like them)
1 pair of shoes
and.....
1 exhausted, relieved, sad but happy walker.

Just goes to show...

"Everywhere is walking distance, if you have the time" Stephen Wright

Photos:
i/ & so it begins... 21 March
Southwark Cathedral, London
ii/ VF start marker almost lost amongst the Canterbury Cathedral restoration works
iii/ from this...
iv/ & this through northern & central France
v/ the price shock on entering Switzerland!
vi/ but oh... so worth it
vii/ beautiful Valle d'Aosta
viii/ Tuscan hilltop splendour
ix/ & those #@* hills were neverending 😫
x/ Words cannot describe.... 20 June

Signing off from the Via Francigena,
πŸ‘£ 🌏
Would you like to share your photos with the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome and their website gallery? If so please email info@pilgrimstotome.org.uk. Thanks!
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP('15)
St Olavs Way Norway('16)
88 Temples Japan('17)
PWC & VF(2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP(2020)
Well done, congratulations!
Thanks Domigee...& happy trails to you for the 8th of July onwards. Like others, I know you're all over it experience & info-wise but if I can assist with any queries (esp requiring up-to-date info) don't hesitate to give me a holler.
Take care & I'll look out for any postings you may pen (key).
πŸ‘£ 🌏
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP('15)
St Olavs Way Norway('16)
88 Temples Japan('17)
PWC & VF(2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP(2020)
Congratulations Tassie Kaz! A great achievement and one that you will treasure, along with your other accomplishments. I am currently preparing a talk on the VF and really enjoying reflecting as I look at, and select, the photos to show. So many memories, and I know you will have many special ones from your journey too. Hopefully we can catch up on the phone on your return. Well done. Enjoy your well earned rest, Janet
Thanks Janet...it will be interesting to see where the Via Francigena 'sits' as time goes by. Right now I just know there are no easy days on the VF; it kicks you in some way everyday, its just a matter of when & how hard. And yet, we get up day after day after day & keep going. Not only that, our next walk is already simmering away...mine certainly is!
Good luck with your presentation...a chance for you to relive it as much as educating, entertaining & inspiring your audience.
Best wishes.
πŸ‘£ 🌏
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino FrancΓ©s ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
BaztanΓ©s/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Wow, wonderful, @kazrobbo !
And inspiring.
You show admirable restraint in the photos you posted...but...please consider putting your feet up and posting a few more... ;);)
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP('15)
St Olavs Way Norway('16)
88 Temples Japan('17)
PWC & VF(2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP(2020)
Congratulations, kazrobbo! Enjoy your well deserved splash into the adriatic. :)
Thanks Caminka; it won't be long (unless its happening already...) when you're sweating, grimy, salt-encrusted & covered in dust that you too will be ocean dreaming.. or at least a pool...or just a shower... πŸ˜„
Look out for the Aussie flag bandit who left her stickers on a few signs in random places along the Way πŸ˜‡ ...although I'll never admit in public it was me...oh...whoops! 🀭
Enjoy & happy trails πŸŽ’ πŸ‘Ÿ
πŸ‘£ 🌏
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP('15)
St Olavs Way Norway('16)
88 Temples Japan('17)
PWC & VF(2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP(2020)
Wow, wonderful, @kazrobbo !
And inspiring.
You show admirable restraint in the photos you posted...but...please consider putting your feet up and posting a few more... ;);)
Thanks very much VN but I can't take credit for photo restraint...you can only attach a max of 10 per posting! πŸ˜‚ I just tried to choose pics which were representative of various sections.
I'm a bit behind with your posts but hope to catch up when my feet do eventually have to stop...30 hours flying back to Tassie will enforce that! 😫
Take care.
πŸ‘£ 🌏
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
Congratulations Kazrobbo. Well done. Couple of questions, if I may? Because we are very interested in this walk also.

Did you actually walk from London?

Did you have any rest days along your path? The Shengen visa only allows 90 days in every 180 days and we are slow walkers and Aussies, so we are thinking two trips.

Were the 9 non-Schengen days in the UK?

And

How many cups of coffee did you have?

Well done - How do you top a walk like the Via F?

Cheers

Graham
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP('15)
St Olavs Way Norway('16)
88 Temples Japan('17)
PWC & VF(2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP(2020)
Congratulations Kazrobbo. Well done. Couple of questions, if I may? Because we are very interested in this walk also.

Did you actually walk from London?

Did you have any rest days along your path? The Shengen visa only allows 90 days in every 180 days and we are slow walkers and Aussies, so we are thinking two trips.

Were the 9 non-Schengen days in the UK?

And

How many cups of coffee did you have?

Well done - How do you top a walk like the Via F?

Cheers

Graham
Thanks Graham...always happy to answer questions.

i/ Yes, I walked from London starting at Southwark Cathedral. London to Canterbury is known as the Pilgrims Way to Canterbury & basically (but not completely) follows the North Downs Way. The VF by name commences at Canterbury Cathedral.

ii/ Being an Aussie, the single biggest issue for me was the Schengen visa timeframe. It is relentless walking to make it in 90 days; I did it & many others have done so too but it's full-on. I initially intended only 4 rest days throughout...nowhere near enough for me. I developed shin-splints by pushing too hard & had to skip ahead for a rest period. I also jumped one day ahead for a 2 nighter when I was desperate for a break.

iii/ England/UK is not part of the Schengen program so your 90 days commences when you board the ferry in Dover (or use the Chunnel).

iv/ Zero cups of coffee...I don't drink it, or tea!

v/ Next year, 2020, I'll be subject to the Schengen again but my walk will only be 1500km. This equates to 20-25 days less walking than the VF so the pace will be more relaxed with rest days (woo hoo!) & time spent at places of interest. I'll be back on the Camino trail in my much loved Spain combining the Camino Mozarabe with the Via de la Plata.

Any other queries, sing out or post a general enquiry for different opinions. My thoughts if you are slow walkers & intend to do the entire route; definitely spread it over two (or more) trips.
France dictates daily distances due to lack of facilities & infrastructure so you will have to be 'creative' & seek modern day solutions. Slow walking simply will not get the job done in northern & central France unless you intend to camp. As you move across France & get closer to Switzerland, daily distances can be reduced, even moreso once in Italy.

Hope this helps. I'm being very much an Aussie & therefore quite direct (no sugar coating); the VF is a slog...it will push you, kick you & test you...but is it worth doing in its entirety?
Absolutely.

I have written other 'Live from' posts of my trail experiences on the VF; they may provide info or extra insight which could be useful to you. Other members could also offer a different perspective.

Happy planning. Where there's a will, there's a Way...so you will find yours. 😊
πŸ‘£ 🌏
 
Last edited:

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
The Shengen visa only allows 90 days in every 180 days and we are slow walkers and Aussies, so we are thinking two trips.
How do you top a walk like the Via F?

Hi Walton, I think that the Via Romea Germanica is at least equal (though a lot more expensive, until they get the infrastructure sorted) to the VFn - loved both routes, though I was 10 years younger doing the VF!. A Schengen lurk I used on the VRG (as an Aussie) last year was to fly out of Germany to the UK and then back into the same airport. I also entered Europe and left from the same - every trip was to and from Munich. At present (though always a constant threat of changing) we have an extra 90 days that we are able to stay in Germany, but you always have to leave and go to a non Schengen country. By flying in and out you will be sure to have a stamp in your passport as proof that you left. I was prepared to "argue", but the official I saw just stamped my passport and waved me through. I am pretty sure that was because there was no flag on my name because I had departed the Schengen. Hope that makes sense. Other countries have special rules similar to Germany and it would pay to look at that. It is certainly not worth overstaying as you may end up with a flag against your name and not be allowed back into Europe for a time (or else pay a hefty fine). Another option is to look at the possibility of getting a long stay visa (usually for the first country you enter (in the case of the VF - France).
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
Well done !
Posts like these really increase my appetite for walking the VF some day. Thank you for that !

Really curious about the goat rescue though ....
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP('15)
St Olavs Way Norway('16)
88 Temples Japan('17)
PWC & VF(2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP(2020)
Well done !
Posts like these really increase my appetite for walking the VF some day. Thank you for that !

Really curious about the goat rescue though ....
Thanks Marc; I hope you do tackle the VF one day...all or part thereof.
You might end up being sorry you mentioned it but the goat incident will probably be one of the most memorable experiences of my VF.
I'm a townie so really enjoy the contact with farm animals walking brings. On the day I walked Pontremoli to Aulla, I passed a paddock of goats who all rushed over to me...except one which started crying out further along.
When I got to him, I could see he was caught up in the fence. His eyes fixated on me & just held that stare to the point I was quite taken aback...I'll never forget it. He knew I was his ticket out. Although I would not have just walked away, that look left me no choice. At the very least, if I couldn't free him, I'd go to the farmers house for help.
I could see what needed to be done (pull his head forward & try to slip the wires over his horns) but I couldn't explain that to a goat (& especially an Italian one! πŸ˜„ ) so I had to work with him trying to pull back.
I was absolutely certain I would be bitten for my efforts but I wasn't giving up. I twisted his head, pulled his ears, was grabbing his horns, had my hands over his mouth, covered his eyes, etc trying to manoeuvre him through the wire & never once did he try to bite or fight me, nor did he make a sound. Nearly half an hour later, with my hands red raw, I succeeded in releasing him. One final look & he was off, jumping about & shaking his head, free at last.
Oh...& as no good deed goes unpunished;
I had left my walking pole leaning against the fence & the other goats were gnawing at my hand strap & trying to eat 'Hello Kitty' (very pilgrimmy! 🀭 ) who dangles from said hand strap as my pole mascot. πŸ˜‡ 🐐 😁
 
Last edited:

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
Congratulations! An amazing walk and one heck of an accomplishment. 😊
 

Avian

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Le Puy Camino (2017) Kumano Kodo (2018)
London to Rome:
21 March - 20 June, 2019


"The sorry relief of arrival..."
Gideon Lewis-Kraus, A Sense of Direction

2,847,786 steps
5234+ flights of stairs (frm πŸ‡«πŸ‡·) = equiv ascent 2117.9 kilometres walked
93 days
84 Schengen visa days
36 degrees C, top temperature
7 days rain (only 1 all day rain)
5 countries (incl Vatican City)
4 languages (incl Swiss German)
3 currencies
2 snake encounters (+ plenty squished)
1 goat rescue
1 croissant eaten (I don't like them)
1 pair of shoes
and.....
1 exhausted, relieved, sad but happy walker.

Just goes to show...

"Everywhere is walking distance, if you have the time" Stephen Wright

Photos:
i/ & so it begins... 21 March
Southwark Cathedral, London
ii/ VF start marker almost lost amongst the Canterbury Cathedral restoration works
iii/ from this...
iv/ & this through northern & central France
v/ the price shock on entering Switzerland!
vi/ but oh... so worth it
vii/ beautiful Valle d'Aosta
viii/ Tuscan hilltop splendour
ix/ & those #@* hills were neverending 😫
x/ Words cannot describe.... 20 June

Signing off from the Via Francigena,
πŸ‘£ 🌏
Congratulations Tassie Kaz, this was an amazing accomplishment. I do recall you writing about your shin splints earlier on the forum and I could sympathize as I too had that experience on Le Puy Camino. So I am super excited that you overcame that and you were able to continue your travels. My husband and I would like to walk the VF next year (probably in the spring) but starting from the Swiss Italian border rather that Canterbury like yourself. My husband has had ankle surgery so our walking will be a lot slower than normal and we too are conscious of the Visa restrictions (being from Oz as well). Did you book your accommodation a couple of nights ahead as you walked and did you have issues with the language barrier? I hope you don't mind if I send more questions as our planning becomes more organized. All the best settling back at home- it sounds like you have a new walking plan which will help you acclimatize I'm sure. cheers Anne
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP('15)
St Olavs Way Norway('16)
88 Temples Japan('17)
PWC & VF(2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP(2020)
Congratulations Tassie Kaz, this was an amazing accomplishment. I do recall you writing about your shin splints earlier on the forum and I could sympathize as I too had that experience on Le Puy Camino. So I am super excited that you overcame that and you were able to continue your travels. My husband and I would like to walk the VF next year (probably in the spring) but starting from the Swiss Italian border rather that Canterbury like yourself. My husband has had ankle surgery so our walking will be a lot slower than normal and we too are conscious of the Visa restrictions (being from Oz as well). Did you book your accommodation a couple of nights ahead as you walked and did you have issues with the language barrier? I hope you don't mind if I send more questions as our planning becomes more organized. All the best settling back at home- it sounds like you have a new walking plan which will help you acclimatize I'm sure. cheers Anne
Hi Anne,
Great to hear (read) you're planning on walking the VF. Always happy to answer queries so fire away any time. I may also pick your brain sometime re the Kumano Kodo which is on My List for the next few years.
I recovered quickly from the shin splints & fortunately had no reoccurrence for the remainder of the trail.
I booked my accom in advance for a couple of reasons.
i/ I'm not a 'wing it' person when it comes to accom. It's the only thing I get anxious about on my walks so it puts my mind at ease
ii/ in the planning stage, plotting my nightly stops ensured I could cover the entire route in the Schengen time limit
iii/ having a definite destination kept me on track throughout
iv/ even though I booked accom in advance, I made sure it was cancellable & tweaked/amended as I went.

I normally don't have problems with language but French pronunciation defeated me! If you start in Switzerland, you may encounter French but English is widely spoken along with Italian & hybrid German words thrown in.
Language wasn't a problem in Italy. Learn the basics (travel survival Italian) & you'll be fine. Once you know how letters are prounounced eg; gn, zz, c & ci the rules apply across the board unlike French where the same letter combos can be pronounced differently. Also Italian (like English) is a forgiving language. French has to be precise/exact or the locals can't fathom what you're saying & you'll be met with that famous blank stare. In Italian, they can work out what you mean even if your pronunciation is a bit off. I didn't worry so much about conjunctions; I just strung the vital words together & was understood. I probably sounded like a demanding 2year old so doing it with a smile was important & the locals appreciate your efforts. English was more widely spoken/understood than I was expecting throughout Italy.
Hope this info helps. I'm in Zagreb, Croatia & tomorrow must face the dreaded long haul home & the real world. πŸ˜’
Happy planning!
πŸ‘£ 🌏
 
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