Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Million Step for Childrens Charities

The VF Five are walking to Rome - with a purpose - to raise at least R50 000 for Children's Charities through HOMENET A million steps trivia: Each pilgrim will walk ± 700kms (getting there, walking, hiking, sightseeing, getting lost!) The girls each have an average step length of 75cm. Multiply this by 700kms and they will each take ± 933,333 steps on their way to Rome - almost 1 MILLION steps each or 5m steps altogether.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

And where will they be staying??

They are staying in a 2nd Floor backpackers - cabins in a camping site - a Gite - the Gr St Bernard Hospice - three Youth Hostels - on a farm - in an old castle - in a convent with the nuns - in a monastery - nine B&B's - two apartments and three small hotels.

Where are they walking? From Start to Finish

"Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of food, your closet full of clothes - with all this taken away, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That's not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating." -Michael Crichton

Geneva to Vevey by steamer.
Walk: Vevey to Aigle: to Matigny: to Orsieres: to Gr St Bernard Pass.

"Travelling is the ruin of all happiness! There's no looking at a sunset after seeing Italy." -Fanny Burney

In Italy:
Aosta to St Vincent: to Pont St Martin: To Ivrea

Train to Parma

Walk - over the Cisa Pass to Pontremoli

Train to LUCCA:

Walk to Roma

Sunday, May 28, 2006

More about our intrepid pilgrims

Valerie: Our gormet chef who will ensure that we sample all the best dishes along the way

Kathy: Our spiritual carer who will pray for us and remind us that this is an ancient pilgrim's path

Marion: Our 'nursing carer' who will tend to our aches and pains along the way

Rayna: Our talented 'photographer' who will ensure that we capture all our happy memories on film

Sylvia: Our 'pilgrim tour guide'
who will keep us on the right path.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Ja, we neeeeaaarly had to wave goodbye to Sil! First she tripped over Marion's foot and sprained her hand and then with a month before D-Day (departure date) she discovered that her passport expired last year! We suspect that she has a touch of dyslexia ‘cos she read the date back to front and thought it expired in 2007.
A frantic visit to the Passport Centre then Home Affairs in Umgeni Road for fingerprints and a cool R600 later, she has applied for a temp and permanent passport. Temp passports usually take 48 hours but you might have read in the newspapers that our Government has run out of books (they should fire the stationery buyer on the spot) so there is a three-week delay for temporary passports and a three-month backlog for permanent passports.
LUCKY we are walking in Italy – the British Government no longer accept Temporary Passports so she would not have been allowed into Britain.
So, our organised, super efficient, on the ball SIL has spent the last few days checking and re-checking all our accommodation bookings just in case she has double booked us or booked us into the wrong place on the wrong dates! Watch this space!
Next step is to get our FOREX and then apply for Schengen Visas. Phoned the Italian Embassy and they said the Visas take about 4 days. Phew!! We might just make it with a few days to spare – otherwise we will just have to wave goodbye to her when we leave on the 14th June!!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Training, training, training...............

We have trained on the beaches ......we have trained in the air (well, up at Alverstone)we have trained in the trenches at a tick-infested Stainbank Nature Reserve, in Botha's Hill, Hillcrest, Gillitts, Kloof, Westville, Durban North, Unhlanga Rocks...... 6,000,000,000,000 kilometres so that we can walk 600.
We have walked with our backpacks - and illicted a few odd stares! We had a full dress rehearsal on the Pot and Kettle walk. New backpacks, boots, broekies and bras .. SA Flags flying proudly in an early morning breeze.
Kathy changed to a pair of lighter weight boots a month before time and has been wearing her new brown and yellow clod-hoppers to work nog al!!
Val bought a size bigger after the first purchase squashed her big toes!
Sil was seen wearing baby blue socks and sandals on the beach! And, have you seen their hats? Voortrekker bonnets they are, festooned with pins and badges.
And, there is no truth in the rumour that they are going over the alps in a yacht!

Backpacks, wish lists and things!

OK. So we are going on a Groot Trek and we have to carry everything we need for 31 days.

What do we pack?

Backpack list - No1: (a.k.a. The Wishlist - ± 12kg)

70L Backpack - and a sherpa!

1 pair Boots - 1 pair running Shoes - 1 pair hiking Sandals - 1 pair Slops
3 pairs Hiking socks - 2 pairs running socks - 2 pairs Secret socks - 2 pairs knee high Stockings
2 Cycle shorts - 2 running Shorts - 1 capri pants
1 track suit - 1 pair 2-in-one hiking trousers - 1 smart black trousers - rain pants
4 T-shirts - 1 smart shirt - 1 long sleeve shirt - 1 black thermal vest
1 chill cheater - 1 fleece jacket - 1 fleece wiast coat - rain jacket
6 prs panties - 4 bra tops - a sarong - pajamas
Hair dryer - mousse - make-up - creams - sunscreens - moisturiser etc
Sleeping bag


Backpack list - No2 (aka Reality - ± 6kg)

35L backpack

1 pair Boots - 1 pair hiking Sandals
3 pairs Hiking socks
2 running Shorts
1 black trousers - rain pants
2 T-shirts - 1 long sleeve shirt
1 chill cheater - 1 fleece jacket - rain jacket
3 prs panties - 2 bra tops
sunscreens - moisturiser - lipstick
Sleeping bag

Oh well - this will just have to do. (Only 2 bras! 1 Pair of longs! No hairdryer!)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Introducing the Via Francigena Five

Here begins the Journey
Now begins the Day.
With one step upon the Road
Our Souls are on the Way.

The Via Francigena Five” will soon be on their way.

To Switzerland & Italy to walk the Via Francigena – the old pilgrimage road to Rome.

They start walking on Lake Geneva on Friday 16th June and will walk ± 210kms - 4 days crossing the Swiss Alps at the Grand St Bernard Pass (where the famous dogs are kept) and then 4 days in the Italian Alps, through the Aosta Valley as far as Ivrea.

On 24th June they will get a train from Ivrea to Parma and then walk for two days, over the Cisa Pass as far as Pontremoli. Another train will take them to Lucca in the north of Tuscany and from there they will walk ± 360kms to Rome, arriving at St Peter’s Square on Thursday 13th July.

♦ They will carry everything they need for 28 days of walking in their backpacks (± 6kgs)
♦ They will wear boots and/or hiking sandals depending on cross country paths or tarred roads.
♦ The longest distance will be ± 32kms and the shortest 14kms.
♦ They will stay in pensions, backpackers, a Gité, youth hostels, B&Bs, monasteries, a convent, camp site dorm, a castle, on a farm, small hotels and apartments. (Most of these were booked in advance.)
♦ Their journey begins on 14th June and they return on Monday 17th July.

You can send them messages/encouragement/questions on this Blogger.