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Pilgrim walk and talks in Greenwich

Reflections on The Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome annual event on 4 March in Greenwich 

The annual event has always been an important day in the calendar for The Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome.  We consider it the ‘kick off’ to the new year of pilgrim journeys on the Francigena.  Due to the pandemic, there has been a pause on these events and it felt wonderful to be back, welcoming pilgrims and helping them plan their adventures from Canterbury to Rome.  The programme began with a led walk from Southwark Cathedral to Greenwich on the new CPR route The Francigena Britannica, which takes pilgrims from Southwark to Canterbury.  In the afternoon, we enjoyed four informative talks:

Carlo Laurenzi (Chair) ‘The Francigena Britannica’

Carlo gave a brief history of the CPR’s development of an extension of the Francigena from London to Canterbury, explaining where we are in the project and made an appeal for volunteers to trial the new route.

Sandy Brown – author of the three Cicerone guidebooks for the Via Francigena

The last of Sandy’s guidebooks for the Francigena, the section Canterbury to Lausanne, has just been published by Cicerone guides. Sandy travelled to us from his new home in Lucca, Italy to give us some key insights into the Francigena route.

Alex Knox: ‘A Year on the Via Francigena’

Alex offered some advice on walking the Via in winter; he discussed the pros and cons of making a journey like this in stages rather than a ‘through-walk’, and explained why you might want to extend your Via Francigena with a walk along the Pilgrims’ Way from London or Winchester.

(Alex, 34, had to break his journey into four stages due to work commitments in 2022).

Alison Gelder and Ian Smith: ‘Stepping Out Again’

Alison and Ian shared their experiences of walking from London to Rome in 2022, drawing on the experience of their first walk to Rome in 2017.

(Check out Ian and Alison’s blog: How Far Can We Go )

The event ended with the traditional ‘pilgrim panel’ in which the audience were able to ask all of their planning question to our experienced speakers.

We wish all the best to pilgrims setting out on their journeys in 2023 and look forward to inviting the Francigena community to our next event in 2024!