Saturday, July 14, 2012

Via Fracigena Daily Notes on route

Work in Progress: I will continue to edit this page as we travel. Please forgive errors and omissions.

1. Canterbury to Calais
We stayed in the older section of the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge: 60£ with huge buffet breakfast. It was lovely to be on the Cathedral precincts.
We followed National Cycle Route 16. Longer than Raju and Chinn's route by two or three km. Pros: very well sign posted, beautiful 12th century church with tympanum and rose window at B? and great for bikes. It is a corrugated landscape with lots of ups and downs before the final long decent into Dover. We were racing to catch the ferry and left very early to leave extra time. It turns out if you book a later ferry if there is room they will let you on an earlier one. Usually an hour earlier but they put us on one two hours earlier.

2.Calais - Guines
We stayed at the very friendly Hotel
Particular Richelieu in Calais 55€ for a double. Very friendly.
We used Raju's guide for this section that follows two canals to Guines. On the second canal I biked on the road on the right bank and Gord stayed on the foot path on the left.

3. Guines- Licques
There is a Campsite just out of Guines.
If it is open, you must stop for local info at the Guines tourist office!!! They will print you color maps and detailed ones of the route through the forest. It's easy with their map because the trees at the edge of each forest bock are numbered just like on the map. The VF markers start when you leave the forest. The route is unsurfaced but my non mountain bike and trailer were fine on this section.
We stayed at the Pommes des Trois Pays in a little trailer they save for Pilgrims at Licques :26€ for two ( we were quoted 45€ ahead of time, but they must have dropped their prices for pilgrims). Dinner is available and they sell bread in the am. Very friendly.

4. Licques - Wisques
Chinn and Raju take different routes. Chinn's follows the way the French are in the process of marking but Raju's is 7 km shorter. We followed Raju's here. This section is a number of small lanes and roads and fine for a bicycle. There are a number of long climbs followed by a number of equally long and luxurious descents.
We stayed at the Abbay Saint Paul: Donativo (we were told it's free for real pilgrim but we paid anyway)they feed you dinner and breakfast. Very quiet and welcoming.

5. Wisques to Amettes
We stayed in Amettes with Mme and Mon. GEVAS 72 € for two with demi pension or double without dinner but with breakfast 40€. One of our favorite places. Fantastic people, food and charming farm. fermedes2tilleuls@wanadoo.fr

6. Amettes to Ablain Saint Lazaire
This was a diversion do that we could visit the Canadian Memorial at Vimy Ridge. We stayed at the lovely Chambres D'Hotes:Auboutzeur
192 Rue Lancino, 62153 Ablain-Saint-Nazaire. auboutzeur@orange.fr

7. Ablain Saint Nazaire to Vimy Ridge and down to Arras
We were off the route here to take in Vimy Memorial. Note the Youth Hostel and campground are closed in Arras. We stayed at Le Porquois pas Chambres D’Hotes and were treated as royalty - their first pilgrims! 60€ double with amazing breakfast.
8. Arras to Bapaume Le Sars
the route down from Arras has now been marked with the new Via Francigena Grand Rondonee red and white! It should be all completed in the summer of 2013 in Nord Pas de Calais. No camping in Baupaume. All the hotels were full so we booked a Chambre D'hotes 6.5km past Baupaume on the road to Albert.
9.

Location:Rue Serurier,Laon,France

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