Travel doctor: how to tackle the pilgrim trail

how to tackle the pilgrim trailBefore we get into the detail of the article, I really want to thank the team here for letting me post here with them.  It means a lot to be able to get something published for my Parenting and Fashion Blog – Caroline Hardy Blogat great site like this.

Q. I would dearly like to attempt the Pilgrim Trail from Canterbury to Rome next year, but to walk would defeat me. I would have to do it in several stages. Do you know if it is possible to travel all or part by bicycle, which would make the journey a realistic possibility?
Nicholas Hunter, via e-mail 

A. It’s certainly possible to cover the 1,200-mile trail by bike. You should equip yourself with the fourth edition of the LightFoot Guide to the Via Francigena , aimed at walkers, cyclists and riders, which comprises three books: Canterbury to Besançon Besançon to Vercelli and Vercelli to Rome . It offers advice on alternative routes to reduce the total distance, avoid possible difficulties or to visit specific towns, and lists places to stay along the length of the trail. It’s available in various formats from Pilgrimage Publications ( ).

Q. We have a family wedding in Cannes in the middle of July. Ten of us would like to extend our stay for a week’s holiday and are looking for a hotel or villa up to two hours’ travel from Cannes. It should have a pool, be near the beach and be able to accommodate us all together; a hotel should have an interconnecting room for two children with one set of parents, or a villa should have five bedrooms and four bathrooms. Our budget is £4,500 to £5,000 without flights. It’s proving difficult to find anything.
Avril Hitman, via e-mail 

A. On your budget, I think a villa rather than a hotel will work best. Villa Laura in Sainte-Maxime, about an hour from Cannes, sleeps ten in five bedrooms, has four bathrooms and a large outdoor pool. It costs £3,639 for a week from July 12 through French Country Cottages (0845 268 0796, Or you could try Paradis des Pins, another five-bedroom villa with four bathrooms and a pool on the edge of the medieval village of Bormes les Mimosa, near Toulon — about 90 minutes from Cannes. Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, it’s a mile or so from some of the prettiest beaches on the Cote D’Azur and costs £4,895 including maid service for the same week through CV Travel (020-7401 1099, ). In Cannes itself (which would save you battling with summer traffic along the coast), there’s Villa Jolie which can sleep up to 12 in six bedrooms (one in the poolhouse) and which has an unheated pool with a shallow end and mature gardens. It costs £4,828 through Holiday Lettings ( ).

Q. I had two valuable watches (and cash) stolen from my hand baggage on a British Airways flight from London to New York earlier this summer. I have continued to pursue BA regarding the theft but airily tells me it is exempt from responsibility. The theft was from baggage that I intended to have under my supervision on the flight, which was taken from me against my will as I boarded flight BA0115. What infuriates me (other than the loss of the only valuable jewellery I possessed) is BA’s attitude. I’ve been using BA for 42 years and yet it offers not so much as an upgrade as an apology.

Trish Maskell, via e-mail 

A. I’m afraid this is a cautionary tale for anyone planning to fly with valuables. It’s essential to buy adequate travel insurance because in a case like this, an airline will not pay up. “We are unable to accept liability for high value or fragile items such as jewellery or money. As per the conditions of the Montreal Convention we would also require a customer to make contact in writing within seven days of receiving the luggage in order to consider a claim,” said a BA spokesman.

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