La Via Francigena…..the adventure’s about to begin!

Haha…another journey is about to begin : ) This time, my friend Jo and her sister Jill and I are hoping to walk a 2000 km, ancient pilgrims route from Canterbury to Rome.

This route was first documented when the Archbishop of Canterbury in 990 AD, Sigeric, needed to do some business in Rome. On his return from Rome, he listed the villages that he passed through and this route became known as La Via Francigena , the way to France. During the Middle Ages, this route was used extensively by pilgrims, merchants and travellers. It was abandoned as the years progressed but in the 90’s it was recognised as one of the great pilgrims walks in Europe. There has been a resurgence in recent times to resurrect the pilgrimage and make it accessible to walkers from all corners of the world : ) Sadly at this stage, there’s not the flood of pilgrims that one encounters on the Camino Frances, where friendships abound and loneliness is an unknown word : ) La Via Francigena, is gaining very steadily in popularity…. and I think in a few short years will be attracting the same volume of walkers that The Camino in Spain now does.

However in the meantime…… La Via Francigena ( affectionally this blog, as the VF) is a way, travelled by a relative few….I think 2500 per year.

Now getting down to tin tacks : )
When we decided to partake on this epic journey, we knew that our efforts would be devoted to an organisation. That was a given. CanTeen totally inspired us, when we learned of their complete dedication to helping improve and support the lives of young people and their families, who are living with cancer. This is a cause very dear to my heart in particular, as recently, I have experienced the trauma of 2 young people, in my neighbourhood stricken with this terrible disease and I’ve often reflected on how their burden and indeed, that of their families, could be lightened. Canteen provides a warm, nurturing environment of love and support and most importantly FUN, for young people and their families who are living with cancer.

We would be so grateful to all, who are reading this blog, to give what you are able, to support our cause : ) Any donations, will be gratefully received at

Well…it’s only a few short days now until we fly from Melbourne for London then on April 21st head down to Canterbury, in order to start an amazing journey to Rome on April 22nd.

I think on this walk, you may not read as many posts from ‘a happy Netia’ as you did on my walk across Spain: ) There’s going to be some tough sections, especially in France….and more than likely I’ll get lost…you know me, hmmmmm but I’m going to do my absolute best to arrive in Rome, happy and hopefully with a real feeling of self accomplishment.

Here’s to a walk of a lifetime…. !!!

Love Netia X


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21 Responses to La Via Francigena…..the adventure’s about to begin!

  1. deanosc85 says:

    Can’t wait to see what happens Mrs Bowen!!

    Dane. 🙂

  2. Elizete says:

    Dear Netia, what a marvellous adventure you are going to embark on. I wish I could dust my shoes and go with you…You are such a strong and determined woman that I have no doubt that you will surpass and transcend any obstacles that may come your way. I know, from the bottom of mu heart that you will get to Rome as your are doing this in service to others. I bow to you and wish you Buen Camino. Much love, Elizete xxx

  3. Alan Lipka says:

    You go, Girl ! (And a Happy Belated Birthday.) ~ Alan

  4. Jacki says:

    Hi Netia, Fay and I will be following your blog with great interest as we count down the days to our Camino. You are an inspiration to us all and I wish you many wonderful days of walking and hope you raise lots of money for your charity. Jacki

  5. anne and colin browne says:

    looking forward to reading the blog, love mum and dad

  6. Felicity says:

    look forward to reading all about your journey! sounds like it will be fantastic. all the best.
    Flick xx

  7. Peter says:

    Well the adventure begins ,looking forward to reading you blog .have fun . Peter

  8. Sally Rogers says:

    Off we go again……….The start of yet another great adventure…. through your Blog …haha !!!! Looking forward to that feeling of walking the track with you………I am actually quite excited to get started on the read of a lifetime !!!!!xxxx

  9. Hannah says:

    Yay!! The blog is back!!! I am thinking of you constantly my Mumma!! Best of luck! xxx

  10. Neville says:

    Congrats on your latest adventure. I have posted a link to your blog on our An Italian Odyssey Facebook fan page. Look forward to reading abou your stories. Neville

  11. Kathy says:

    Hi Netia
    I am thinking about doing the VF and wondered which guidebook you used?

    Buen Camino

    • wheresnetia says:

      Hi Kathy,
      Lucky you contemplating walking the VF!
      We carried the Lightfoot Guides and Allison Rajus book to begin. To be honest the Lightfoot guide was too detailed and we were spending too much time looking at it rather than where we were going! Allisons guide was more simplistic but easier to follow I think.
      When we arrived in Italy Alberto Conte installed the entire rest of the route on my mini iPad which was by far the best thing…at this stage all guide books went in the bin!! It was so much easier just to check it every now and again and at a glance you could see if you had strayed off the route.
      Also at night using wifi, we loaded the next days terrain onto our iPhones using google maps. This way we could always see our destination and were able to navigate if we became lost.
      Hope this helps!!
      Have fun,

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