It seems a long time ago now, since I first decided to walk the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome. It was after my return from the completion of my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella from St Jean Pied de Port in July of last year the decision was made and preparations commenced.
The weather here on Exmoor has not been good for winter and early spring which restricted my preparation walks but I feel fit and ready to go. I have replaced much of the equipment I used for the Camino – a new ruck sack, sleeping bag, waterproofs etc. I have also purchased a hands free umbrella to help combat the heat of the sun which I am expecting especially in Italy. I have stuck with the boot/sock combination which served me so well on the Camino. I decided also to take a tent with me to use when accommodation is unavailable and to keep costs down.
Unlike the Camino the route to Rome is not well way marked and I have downloaded both the Lightfoot and Alison Raju guides and will probably use a combination of both.
I learnt French at school but that was close to 60 years ago and so I have taken a few lessons to try and restore some of those memories – it is surprising how much is just tucked away somewhere in our brain just waiting for a little stimulation to bring it to the fore. I have been reading a blog by Tim Redmond who is currently walking to Rome, in one of his posts he talks about a book about the talks given by John O’Donohue “Walking on the Pastures of Wonder”. I am currently reading this book and one of John O’Donohue’s wonders is “Memory” and he writes “Memory to me is one of the great sources, one of the great treasure houses, of wonder”
So here we are just ten days away from that first footstep out of Canterbury on the 1st June and I am ready and raring to go now.