It is hard to believe that one year ago today, in early March 2020, Gail and I were readying for a trip to France. We were to leave on March 30, arrive in Paris, make our way to the small city of Langres and continue our walk along the Via Francigena pilgrimage route towards Rome for another 550 kilometres.
One year later, and that trip is still on hold with no reasonable expectation that we can resume any sooner than the spring of 2022. While I am eager to get back on the trail—I will be in my seventieth year by then with many long walks still on the waiting list—life at home in Winnipeg has not been one of regrets. In spite of lockdowns and social distancing, my days seemed to overflow with creative exercises and hyper-local diversions.
I’m proud to announce the publication of Navigating Hope. This is the seventh in my Ways To Walk series of small softcover books documenting—through photography, prose and map graphics— a number of my short, mostly Winnipeg walks in search of nothing in particular other than some vague understanding of where I am at any particular moment.
Navigating Hope and the other Ways To Walk books can be previewed and purchased at my Blurb Bookstore.
This is the last walking day of our first stage of the Via Francigena. If the photos seem familiar, it is because we completed this day’s walk on September 24. I wanted to report the successful completion on that day even though I had only posted days 1 to 11 by that time. The missing days 12 to 15, along with a few rest days, have now been completed and posted. I’m now up-to-date.
To bring some closure, here is my earlier, slightly edited Day 16 post:
I am jumping forward in time with this post from Day 17 of our Via Francigena pilgrimage.
This is the last day of our walk, at least for this season. With our arrival at the small and somewhat industrial town of Tergnier, we will move on by train to Laon, then Reims for an overnight stay and then to London via the Eurostar chunnel train for a few days before finally returning to Winnipeg.