Saturday, February 25, 2012

A home for the night

A question often asked is: "Where do you sleep at night?”  Food and sleep two basic needs that we all need to survive. My standard answer on this question is: "This will be a different story every day, depending on what the offer is." In contrast to the Compostela road, or at least for the part on Spanish soil, there is no extensive network of shelters at day march distance.
Along the via Francigena there is a less developed network of locations to stay overnight which are documented. For the trajectory Cisa Passo del to Piacenza I am very grateful to use it.

Between Rome and Chiusi della Verna its abbeys and hermitages (eremo) are not uncommon. To provide a bed for the night is a tradition that still lives on. When plotting the path I have taken into account youth hostels. They cannot be found everywhere but they provide excellent facilities at a reasonable price and allow you to make contact with companions that are also on their way.
The GEA route and the Alps are scattered refuges and bivouacs. The details of prices availability and location can be found on the CAI website for Italy and the Swiss site Wanderland.
In Germany, the E1 through the black forest (West way) at regular intervals Wanderheime of the Schwarzwaldverein are situated.
In Wallonia the list: Gilberts list handy. This annually updated list gives shelter to a low price, indicating the GR route passing by.

Problem when fixing a location where you plan to spend the night is that they must correspond to the day stages. The length of a day stage depends on the actual distance, total ascent and descent in meters, and also to the efforts to be made of the day (s) previously or subsequently. All this you can only estimate the spot, so you must be prepared to adopt your plan from time to time.
I take a single-person tent with me, so I do not have to worry if there is nothing in the nearby stage when the day comes to its end. This means an extra 3.5 kg in my backpack for the tent, sleeping bag and mat. Alternative to the tent is the knock at a local farmer for a place in the hay, a system that in a previous cycle trip to the Basque country work well. The tent should also help reduce costs, because especially in Italy and Switzerland, if you walk alone you easily pay between 50 and 60 € for a bed and breakfast.


Monday, February 20, 2012

A journey from Rome to my hometown in progress

Edegem, April 2011.
One year from now I hope to leave Rome for a journey on foot to the north. The idea slumbers for quite a while, no one know where it came from. The shape, the outlines on the map, the fit with the seasons, has been considered. The Why? This will be explained because it is a question that will be raised by many. But it is not the explanation that lies at the origin of this quest. Rather it’s a hard to define impulse that is not to resists. 
With this kind of undertaking it is the road not his starting or end point that is important. Whatever path to follow, begin and end point are already fixed. The Pantheon in Rome, home of all gods, will be my departure point and I hope to arrive at the railroad station in Antwerp, cathedral of all voyagers.