Today is Sunday 18th July 2010. The day has come for me to set off on my own road to Rome and beyond. Below is the first post written on this blog back in summer 2008;
The ancient route from Canterbury to Rome, followed by archbishops travelling to receive from the pope their symbols of authority as well as ordinary pilgrims en route to Rome or onward to Jerusalem, has become known as the Via Francigena. It was first formally described by Archbishop Sigeric in AD 990 and his route has been adopted by the Council of Europe Institute of Cultural Routes as the definitive way from Canterbury to Rome.
Part of the EuroVelo network of cycle routes crossing the European continent. The Via Romea Francigena is route number 5 and it has recently been awarded EU funds to reinstate the hostelry organisation and to improve the route. There is a supporters’ group in several countries and route maps, and Santiago-style passports for stamping at abbeys and cathedrals. The route goes from London to Brindisi through Rome and via the St Bernard’s pass in Switzerland
I’m proud to say that, despite the grey sky outside and all the unknown elements of what I am about to do, I am even more motivated now than I was all those days ago during that Olympic summer. It would be a cliché to say how quickly time has passed but since I have never held back on the odd cliché in the past two years of writing on this blog, today doesn’t seem an appropriate place to stop!
Wish we luck; follow me here on www.eurovelo5.com, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ev5, on Facebook and of course on the live map (it should be updated every ten minutes during the day); there is no escape. Thanks to those of you who have already donated to the BBC Wildlife Fund via my Just Giving page; the total has leaped to 56% of the target in the last few days and it would be fantastic to make it to 100% (and beyond) by the time I return to the UK in late August. Don’t hold back on sending me a message from time to time either through comments on this blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via text; 0 79 70 27 85 69. No escape!
And to Alain, Claus, Simone, Marcello, Massimo, Basil & Liz; I’ll see you soon!
Good luck, buen camino, woshing you blue skies, easy roads, friendly natives, cold beer!