Mini-pilgrimage on the Via Francigena

Part of a series of events focusing on the use of cultural routes to restore meaning to disconnected heritage sites, the mini-pilgrimage (6-7 May, 2017) was organized to provide an authentic taste of what thousands of pilgrims who walk or cycle the routes of the Camino de Santiago or the Via Francigena experience each year. Essential elements include: following a historic route that was once travelled by medieval pilgrims, comradery, good food, a libation or two (in this case in the form of a good Kent cider), and the magical ingredient of the generosity of strangers. 

 

The UK has only 20 miles of the 1800 km route from Canterbury to Rome.  Despite this small section, the Via Francigena in Kent has much to offer walkers and pilgrims.  Starting at the UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey and the church of St. Martin’s, it winds its way down country lanes and across fields, through delightful villages with their historic churches and quaint cottages, along the Downs to the port of Dover.  Nestled between the stark white cliffs on either side, travelers have departed the British Isles from this port for centuries – as the magnificent bronze-age boat in the Dover Museum attests.  The mini-pilgrimage on the Via Francigena was a means of introducing participants to this historic and natural heritage. 

To read a full account of the mini-pilgrimage please visit: kentontheviafrancigena.com

Thank you to Brian and Gail Mooney for coming all the way to Canterbury to support the event!

Julia Peters (CPR Canterbury Rep.)