Guest Author - Rachel L Webb
If walking or cycling is your thing, and the longer the better then the Via Augusta, with its one thousand miles of footpath in Spain could be your next challenge. Part of a European Union initiative bringing together history, culture and of course fitness. Itís the work in progress of France, Italy and Spain and is the Mediterraneanís most important ancient Way.
The Via Augusta is the Iberian Peninsulaīs longest Roman Road, it links the Pyranees in Spainís north-east, runs down the coast to Valencia then across country to Cadiz in the south-west of Spain
Some of the original remains of the Roman road can still be seen and at least 96 monuments pepper its route, mansions, bridges and arches all add interest to this historical way.
It had been a trade route for centuries and called by various names, until an order to repair it around 0 BC came from Emperor Octavio Augustus, it was then renamed after him. Later it became a busy lane between the Mediterranean cities in the east and the Atlantic ports to the west.
This is just one section of the two thousand-year-old Roman Road that is part of the European plan Las Vias Romanas en el Mediterraneo. A project that plans to reclaim and promote the 1,000km via that linked Gades Ė now Cadiz with Rome.
The path for cyclists and walkers goes through three Spanish regions, Catalunya, Valencia and Andalucia, all three regions are working on
tourist promotion, signposts and accommodation along the route.
From the well-known shipping port of Cadiz heading north-east to Seville, Cordoba, Linares then across to the Mediterranean coast at Valencia up to Tarragona, home to many historical Roman landmarks. Continuing up the coast to Gerona and crossing the French border to Narbonne the via marches on as all roads - to Rome.
If the whole way seems a bit too much to take on, like many pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela, take it in bite sized pieces. Nobodyís saying itís all or nothing, just doing a part of this historical way would be thrilling. My aim for now is to cover the section nearest me, on foot, although my husband wants to take his bike, so with a little talking and lots more planning one of us will get our way - on this historical Roman way.