My name is Alan Steele from Melbourne, Australia, and I have recently joined this site.
I walked the Camino Frances from StJ to Finisterre on my own in 2002, and a short trip from Samos last year with my wife. I was amazed at the changes in 6 years – so many more pilgrims, refugios, bars etc.. It seems difficult to find much solitude there these days.
Having a strong spiritual connection with Assisi and St Francis, I have harboured the dream of walking in his footsteps from Assisi to Santiago, or vice versa. I am turning 60 next year and that seems an appropriate time to do it.
My route from Santiago would be to Puenta La Reina, then onto the Camino Arragones, then the Via Tolosana to Arles. From there I will head towards the coast. I have not been able to find much information on the route Arles to Menton, and would appreciate any advice on this section. I ahve contacted the local Amis group and am obtaining their guide. Has anyone walked this route or have any information that might help with my planning.
I am also wanting information on the Via della Costa in Italy, and I would probably connect up with the Via Francigena near Sarzana, and then head off towards Assisi after Siena.
I would appreciate any thoughts, comments you may have.
Your dream to reach Assisi from Santiago looks very exciting. Hope you'll make it true.
You may have already found the following websites. I list them for you, just in case:
. From Puente la Reina to the Somport : Mundi Caminoin English,
. From the Somport to Arles : Chemin d'Arles - GR653in English
. From Arles to MontGenèvre pass : Via Domitia - GR653Din French
. The italian paths : Via Francigena and Cammino di Francescoin Italian.
You may also follow the Via Aurelia, from Arles to Menton, at the French/Italian border on the Mediterranean sea, and then head to the Via Francigena in Italy. That would shorten the walk a little bit and avoid crossing the Alps at the Montgenèvre pass.
All guides and descriptions are made from East to West. That may be of interest to you when you choose your starting point. Also, do you wish to follow the flow of pilgrims going West or go the opposite way and therefore spend time talking to many people met along the way ?
All the best for your splendid project,
Thanks Blanco for your reply
I have not decided yet whether I will head east or west
I like the idea of finishing at Assisi, but as you point out, I will be going 'against the flow' to some degree and navigation may be more difficult, although I imagine the GR's would be reasonably well marked either way?
Ciao from rainy Melbourne, which is very welcome after a summer of drought and bushfires!
You already experienced that the path is quite obvious in Spain (straight forward, following the historical path of ancient pilgrims along what often became big roads) and well-marked with the 'flechas amarillas'. In France, the path looks more like a hiking trail, mostly far away from roads (pleasant walks in the wild) with many direction changes that require to pay more attention to the red-and-white marks. Walking along the Arles route as well as along the Le Puy route, I only used the guides to organise my stages and I could make my way only with the marks. I remember having difficulties to find my way only3 or 4 times in 1000 kms. That's where guides may prove useful. So don't worry, you shouldn't have too much problems finding your way on the French part (I don't comment the Italian camminis, I've not been there).
Coming back to my remark on 'spending time talking to other pilgrims' when heading eastward, I meant that this can prove an enriching experience and that this would definitely slow down your pace. Just a matter of choice. If your time is not limited and if you like exchanging with other people, then you'll get a great bonus.