Day 1 – at last it’s day 1

As usual I slept badly last night imagining all the horrors and disasters that will no doubt confront us. Everything from ferocious farm dogs, Italian snakes in the grass to broken limbs and overdosing on gelato.

However the day dawned brightly and at 9.30 Paul and I set off accompanied by a delightful group of would-be pilgrims. I was so happy to have my family, Mandy, Adam and Sophie together with my friends Martin and Sue, Mike and his daughter Mel and Robert & Qwan with us for the day. We reached the end of the road without incident but then the leading group turned left instead of right, a mistake that might have added thousands of kilometres to the journey. But we recovered and soon found a secret footpath which I’d never walked along before. This led us to the River Wey and onwards towards Rome.

The weather was delightful and we were all in high spirits. We stopped at the Anchor for coffee and found a table big enough for eleven despite it being Whit Monday. And then later, we had similar good fortune when we arrived at The New Inn for lunch. It was a joy to walk along the river which was glistening in the sunshine. Long canal boats made their way along or waited patiently at the locks built in the 17th century by Dutch experts.

Suddenly we stumbled upon our accommodation, the riverside Premier Inn and this provided an opportunity for a final beer before our satisfied companions were whisked the short distance back to Weybridge in a taxi.

Paul, who (against my advice) had drunk a pint of Strongbow, retired and fell into a deep sleep while I sat outside the hotel with some twigs, leaves and running water to remove a little canine excrement from my left boot.

I was encouraged to receive an email from Brian Mooney this morning. Brian is the chairman of the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome and has written an excellent book about the Via Francigena. I also received another email from Margot who runs the Association Internationale Via Francigena AIVF in Luzern. I feel like we now have our credentials to proceed.

I woke Paul and we walked into Guildford for a light supper. The waitress would not be convinced we are walking to Rome and I would have to agree with her. But Paul has posted a message onto his Facebook Via Francigena group and already has received over 100 messages from people (mostly women) promising support and encouragement along the way.

Coffee stop at The Anchor

the first step this morning

16 comments on “Day 1 – at last it’s day 1

  1. Roger Clarkson

    Good luck, hope you have a brolly.

    • Hi Roger, I’m trying a new sun brolly for the first time so I’ll see how good it is later.

  2. Yeah, it’s here! Wow! Wishing both you and Paul an amazing journey and no blisters. 🙂

  3. I hope the remaining 89 or so days were as pleasant as the first! Have fun!

  4. Hi Tim,
    Great to see you are on your way. I enjoyed your Day 1 blog with the usual Tim Greig dry wit!
    Glad you had a sunny send off. Looking forward to reading about your adventures.

    • Hi. Vikki, thanks we had a fun day and I’m glad you’re following

  5. Great day yesterday Tim, but I would need a day off before the next leg (or maybe a good massage – ah, now I know where you went to in Guildford in the evening)… Bon voyage and enjoy this fabulous British weather today.

    • Hi Mike when I’m back we should have another drink at the Premier Inn to celebrate (and then walk back)

  6. Eveline & Beat

    It was great meeting the two of you. We wish you all the best for your journey. Please send me an e-mail so that we can exchange our contact details. Maybe we will meet again somewhere along the trail. 🙂

  7. Rachel Birks

    Inspired by your motivation and love of a challenge Tim!! Enjoy the journey. Rachel x

  8. Charaudeau

    Hi Tim Mandy sent us your website tl follow you. Where are you now?
    Didier et Huguette

    • Hi Didier et Huguette, welcome. We sail to Calais tomorrow (Thursday) and then we walk to Wissant. You can see a map of our walk through France on the Via Francigena page. Tim

  9. Pingback: Pilgrimage Eve – Home to Rome

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