At the risk of sounding like Humphry Littleton…. I have received two letters, well, two emails. Both of them asking about the same issue: the route I will be taking in 2010 to Puglia.
Firstly from Constantin Anastasopoulos:
i am planning to follow your route but in the opposite direction, actually from Strassbourg to London in August 2009.
Why did you chose that route and not the Via Francigena route?
Has it less mountains and up and downs?
Can you send me some informations about “eurovelo route 5″, cause i cant find any..
How many days do you think i will need for my part.
Thanks in advance,
PS: i dont like mountains”
And also from Ian Fitzpatrick
“Hi there,I found your website browsing about and am curious to know which route you are planning to take?I am planning to cycle to Rome leaving in mid August (in a month). I’m not sure whether I should try and follow the Via Francigena or something else? Where is the best place to get maps for this sort of journey? What about the Eurovelo 5 route? Dyou know if that is any good?I’d appreciate any help you can give me with routes/mapsthanks!ian“
It’s great to get emails like this: it means someone out there is actually reading what I post – and that in my book is pretty cool. The first steps to becoming a fully-fledged author!
They ask some pretty good questions about the route I am planning to take and as they are both a year ahead of me in terms of when they are setting off, I’m going to have to disappoint both of them by admitting that I haven’t got down to the nitty gritty of the actual route yet.
That said, I can go somewhere to answering their questions:
1. Why did I choose to follow that route (presumably the Eurovélo 5 route) and not the Via Francigena? Answer: Well, I suppose following a recognised cycle route should mean that it is easier to follow on bike and also that it is possible to cycle. I would imagine that parts of the Via Francigena are actually uncyclable. However, I didn’t know that there was much of a difference between the EV5 and the Via Francigena. This requires more investigation – perhaps Constantin can give me more help himself on this one.
2. Can I send any information about the Eurovélo 5 route? Answer: Not really. I have a map of the whole network and I am hoping that the European Cyclists’ Association will have published something more detailed by summer 2010. That’s not much use for either Constantin or Ian. Sorry. Keep searching on the Internet Constantin and let me know if you find anything.
3. Where is the best place to get maps for this journey? Answer: see the links over there on the right of this blog. A few of them contain detailed maps – especially the Pilgrimage Publications one. They seem to have done the whole thing twice: once by bike and once by horse. If you are near London, go have a route around Stanfords Maps shop in the West End. It’s one of those places where you can spend hours and hours even if you don’t find what you are looking for. If it exists, they probably either have it or know where to find it. As for detailed maps in France, the IGN maps are great – the equivalent of Ordnance Survey in the UK. There is an equivalent organisation in Italy – I forget what it is called. Again, let me know how you get on!
Thanks to both of you for emailing with your questions. Hope I have been of some use but I have to say the situation will be reversed when you return from your respective trips this summer as I will be picking your brains in preparation for 2010. If you get in touch with each other, you may bump into one another, hopefully not literally, en route.
Keep in touch!