Rothar Routes

Cycle routes & pilgrim journeys in Ireland and Europe …..

Posts tagged ‘Via Francigena’

Via Francigena

Christmas is a great time to reminisce. I haven’t looked at this video in a while so it was great to light the fire, put the feet up and marvel at the journey!.

Ronan and I did this pilgrimage route in 2010, starting in Canterbury, taking the Ferry at Dover to Calais and then crossing mighty France, Switzerland and the Alps over the St Bernard Pass, down into the Aosta Valley and south to Rome.

St Bernard Pass

St Bernard Pass

The route we followed is being revived; now there is controversy over the route as it becomes mired in politics and bureaucracy. In any event it was an incredible route; we tried to be as authentic as possible in following the route pilgrims took back the centuries. This meant we were off road for some considerable stretches and if not off road, were on minor roads for 95% of the way. The off road stretches saw us in parts following old Roman roads or crossing farm land on dirt tracks. Great fun and easy to get lost as their is no signposting, or at least very very little!

Roman Road

Ronan on a Roman Road in France

Part of our plan was to divert from the ancient pilgrimage route to Rome and travel to Bobbio and then take the Via d’egli Abati to rejoin the Via Francigena further south.

Crypt of Columbanus

Crypt of Columbanus

Bobbio is the resting place of the great Irish saint, St Columbanus. This major figure is reputed to be from the Carlow / Wexford border area and we were delighted to possibly be the first Carlovians since Columbanus to travel to Bobbio under our own steam!.

The bridge at Bobbio

The bridge at Bobbio

We had a few hiccups along the way and had to take the train due to illness and running out of time.

The Via Francigena.

That leaves Jerusalem to be reached in the future!

Bike to Jerusalem!

Bike to Jerusalem!

Via Francigena Facts

Total Distance travelled 2065 kms

Total cycled 1500kms

Trains 565kms

Highest point 8200ft

Longest stage 107kms

No of planes 2

No of Ferries 1

No of trains 4

No of Roman roads cycled 4

No of countries 5 England, France, Switzerland, Italy and Vatican City (!)

No of walled cities visited 5 – Laon, Langres, Lucca, San Gimignano, Sienna

No of punctures 5

No of spokes broken 1

No of eagles spotted 10

No of deer 6

No of lizards accidentally killed while cycling 2!

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