in the footsteps of Geoffrey Chaucer and my Canterbury tales……Chaucer is best known for ’The Canterbury Tales’, a collection of tales told by fictional pilgrims on the road to the cathedral at Canterbury; these tales would help to shape English literature.
So what does the heading actually mean? Well here’s the thing. I do a lot of research for my business 3 Days In London, which as the name implies, is about London. It has been a great journey so far and during my endeavours and my London #walkabouts I have uncovered and discovered some amazing facts and places. I am learning stuff I never knew and it is all fascinating. London is like an onion, as you peel each layer away, so another becomes exposed. My head is full of facts, and figures and photos and places. It is the best fun I have had and I am delighting in all that I find.
One of the things I discovered whilst doing one of the London Walks (50 walks in London – a set of cards I got one Xmas), is the ancient George Inn in Southwark – the last Coaching Inn in London. Chaucer is mentioned as having frequented an Inn similar to this one during his lifetime in the 14th Century; The Tabard, and certainly at the beginning of his what I have now discovered was his spiritual journey on the Pilgrims Route to Canterbury (although many theories abound as to his reasons for the journey). The ‘Camino’ is a world-famous pilgrimage and Geoffrey Chaucer travelled from London to Canterbury via this ancient route, and subsequently wrote: The Canterbury Tales although the ‘tales were not actually published till after his death – the first version of the Canterbury Tales to be published in print was William Caxton’s 1478 edition. This has intrigued me no end and I will now have to investigate further :). My education continues.
So, getting back to the subject at hand (sorry, like my feet, my mind goes all over the place too!), I wanted to ‘do’ the Camino in 2010 with my Dad and my daughter, but circumstances did not allow. The Camino de Santiago pilgrims route/s of which there are many start from many places in the world and all end at Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. Whilst doing research for the trip in 2010 I discovered that there is a route that starts in……..yes!!!! London!!!! hooray!
I also discovered that in fact Geoffrey Chaucer also, as mentioned before, followed a pilgrims route to Canterbury. I am not sure if his intention was to go to Spain but he certainly wanted to get to Canterbury Cathedral (see the details on the wiki link). Because of Chaucer, the road from London to Canterbury is by far the most famous pilgrimage route in Britain – he is thought to have started work on The Canterbury Tales in the early 1380′s.
So, here’s the thing…..I still want to do the ‘Camino’ for all sorts of reasons, and my daughter also wants to do it. However, since this will take a fair amount of planning and organising I have decided to do the Canterbury walk in 2014 and then decide what to do about the Camino. So my immediate plan in 2010 was to start on the first section of the pilgrimage from Southwark to Greenwich; easily managed and……..so on Saturday 12th February 2010, I set off to see what I could see.
Ah ha! you might say and what would you be doing? Well I had decided that on Saturday 12th I would be venturing into Southwark to start my journey by eating a late meal at The George Inn,
much as I am sure Chaucer would have done before he set out. I would also walk the streets of Southwark and take photos of places in the area that may well have been there during his lifetime (like the Inn), and then very early the next day (Sunday 13th February) I would venture into Southwark once again and follow the route he followed for the first part of his journey to Canterbury, the details of which I discovered on the web I had also planned to visit St James Garlickhythe a unique 17th century City Church, and a sacred place since 1100 AD, dedicated to the disciple St James known as ‘the Great’. St. James Garlickhythe is a stop on a pilgrim’s route ending at the cathedral of Santiago da Compostela….see the connection?
Chaucer’s second stop on the route was Greenwich, so I had decided to make my way to Greenwich and assuming I actually got that far…..explore the area for the day, perhaps sleep over at an ‘Inn’ aka a B&B and then make my way back home on the Monday morning. I had been wanting to explore Greenwich again anyway to gather material for my blogs, so this would have been a golden opportunity to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ or not! Perhaps instead of killing birds I would just take photos!
At the time it was my plan to take a couple of days each month and pick up where I left off the last time and walk the whole route till I eventually reached Canterbury. That was the plan. However, as it turned out, I did the first and second stages in 2010 and that is where it all stalled…till now…….
Next episode to follow shortly