Martine Gautheron, recently nominated as Vice-president of the European Association of the Vie Francigene, will walk 600 km along the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome, the town in which she lives.
Martine also has the role of councillor for the city of Champlitte (the region of Bourgogne / Franche-Comté) and has been an active participant in the valorisation of the Via Francigena in France for some time, both in the institutional web and accommodation. Having been a hiker for twenty years, and curious, she travelled along the walk to Compostela: an adventure, a challenge to learn to know oneself.
Interview with Martine on her departure:
“In 2009 I “discovered” the Via Francigena, thanks to Carlo, an Italian pilgrim searching for accommodation, with that we welcomed him into our house … and we talked.
I reflected on the fact: “why look for a pilgrim far away, when one crosses my city?”. After some time that the awareness of Via Francigena was beginning to be raised in France, and thanks to the first Pas à Pas organised on the route, I discovered the EAVF.
My work for the city of Champlitte delayed my decision to leave for the walk for many weeks, until we came to a decision: to go on foot with my husband, Bernard, towards Rome, starting from our house! We did it three years, in 2014 until Verdun, in 2015 Orbe – Orio Litta, and in 2016 Orio Litta – Rome.
End of the journey … no, it’s not possible. I realised that I have to walk the Via from Canterbury to my home! Otherwise, I would be missing something, I need to find this part, and for me it is fundamental: from Canterbury to Rome, this is the direction of the Via Francigena.
In 2017 we will undertake the path in August: we will depart the 29th by train from Digione, in France (Bourgogne / Franche Comté), until arriving in England, in Ashford (Kent), and then a shuttle to Canterbury.
We will discover the northern part of the historic route, the cities filled with allure, such as Canterbury, Calais, Arras, Bruay la Bussiere, Reims, but on foot across the English and French countryside’s, these lands are unknown to me. Every day we will walk across villages and will meet people.
I can’t wait to leave, to discover, on foot, to meet, share. In the end I’m also a little worried! I work in front of a computer screen and I don’t have much time to walk, I therefore ask myself if I’ll still be able to do 600 km on foot in less than a month. We leave the 29th August and arrive the 22nd or 23rd September.
I want to believe, walking with my head and my feet, yes, I will do it! My rucksack is waiting for me, just like my notebook and the path ahead of me!”