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Via Francigena, Day 1/29: From Canterbury (UK) to Alembon (France)

"As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow.". A. C. Benson

 

In this post…

  1. Introduction
  2. The statistics and metrics of the day
  3. The most memorable occurrences, moments and thoughts
  4. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stages 01 and 02, from Canterbury to Dover Ferry Port (UK)
    (Plus a couple of “old” videos from my ride on June 2016)
  5. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stages 03 and 04, From Calais to Guines (France)
  6. Pictures of the day.
Post about Via Francigena, Day 1, written during the pilgrimage.
Post about Via Francigena, Day 1, written during the pilgrimage.

Introduction

This post complements the post I published on the 30th of July in which I described the experiences I had while riding between Canterbury and Alembon.I don’t think I need to repeat the same things here, so if you didn’t get a chance to read about this day on that post, I would strongly encourage you to do so before continuing on this one.So, in this post I am skipping the story and just adding some data, the GPS route, the pictures and the videos of that day’s ride.

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Statistics and metrics of the day

  • Date: Saturday, 30th of July 2016
  • Route: From Canterbury Cathedral (UK) to Rural Gite in Alembon, Via Calais and Guines
  • Distance: 58.93 Km (not including channel crossing)
  • Departure time from Canterbury Cathedral: 10:11am
  • Arrival at Destination: 5:42pm
  • Duration of day’s Journey: 7h 31min
  • Expenses this day: Total = €64.00
    • €10.00 – Food
    • €10.00 – Accommodation
    • €24.00 – P&O Ferry Ticket (Purchased online, 3 months in advance)
    • €20.00 – French SIM Card for Phone
  • Overnight Location: Rural Gite, +33(0)3 21 19 99 13
  • Type of Accommodation: B&B
  • Lightfoot Guide Stages: 01, 02 (Skipping Sheperdswell) and 03 and 04 (Skipping Wissant).
  • Physical and Body Stats: Link to the Garmin Connect Page for this ride
    • Time of non-stop cycling: 3h 59m
    • Average Speed: 14.8 Km/h
    • Max. Speed: 56.8 Km/h
    • Total Elevation Gain: 588 m
    • Average Heart Rate: 142 bpm
    • Max. Heart Rate: 176 bpm
    • Calories: 2,091 CAL
    • Number of Pedal Strokes (Cadence sensor): 10,747

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Most memorable occurrences, moments and thoughts:

  • Do not ride on the A2! Use the improved Lightfoot GPS route which you can download from here (Scroll down to the “Bike Touring Route” section and clink on the + to expand). Also read / watch my post / video from the 8th of June 2016 of my bike ride between Canterbury and Dover on the Regional Cycle Route 16, which more closely matches the official route. The GPS route I took that day is available in that post.
  • Rain and bad weather in the UK and strong sun just after crossing the channel.
  • If you don’t have time to get a stamp on your pilgrim’s credential in Dover, after you board the ferry go to the information desk on board and ask them to stamp your credentials. Better than nothing.
  • In Calais and other towns, do use the services of the tourism information offices, if you can. You can always get your pilgrim credentials stamped there, but keep in mind that during the weekends or certain times during weekdays they are most likely closed, especially in small towns.
  • When you buy a new SIM card for your phone abroad, it can take quite some time until it properly registers on the network and you have full access to the Internet again. Download offline maps if using Google Maps for Navigation or use something that does not rely on an internet connection (I used Garmin Navigation

    Gite in Alembon
    Gite in Alembon
  • If you cannot find pilgrim accommodations, where available, stay at a rural Gite. They are cheap and the people are very nice. I totally recommend the one I stayed in Alembon if you want to stop there. Keep in mind Alembon is a tiny village. There is nothing to do around, I mean, no restaurants, shops, etc, but if my experience is a reference Madam Levray will take very good care of you. She is very used to having pilgrims in the house. Before me she told me she received a pilgrim’s couple who were doing the pilgrimage on horsebacks I believe.

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stages 01 and 02, from Canterbury to Dover Ferry Port (UK)

Video Length: 6 min and 14 sec
To skip introductions and recommendations jump to time stamp 1:17 in the video timeline.

As I mentioned above and in my earlier post if you are planning on riding between Canterbury and Dover (either as a pleasure ride or as part of your pilgrimage) I do NOT recommend you do what I did. Do not take the A2. The reasons for this recommendation would be self-evident if you watched the video above.

I know I am repeating myself here, but I feel some repetition is granted. I recommend you either follow the Lightfoot Improved GPS route (which link to download is up above) or follow the same route I took on June 2016 on the regional cycle route 16. For your convenience the video of that route is down below.

… and this is how the Cathedral looked like on that sunny day in June 2016…

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stages 03 and 04, From Calais to Guînes (France)

Video Length: 4 min 43 sec
To skip introductions and recommendations jump to time stamp 0:48 in the video timeline.

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Pictures of the day.

Click on any picture for full detail

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If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment or send me a message through the contact form.

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