For centuries pilgrimage was one of the greatest adventures on earth, involving epic journeys across the country and around the world. This series sees Simon Reeve retrace the exciting adventures of our ancestors. He learns about the forgotten aspects of pilgrimage, including the vice, thrills and dangers, that all awaited travellers. He explores the faith, the hopes, desires, and even the food that helped to keep medieval Britons and more recent travellers on the road. Simon journeys first from northern England to Canterbury. Then across France and northern Spain, before he treks high into the mighty Alps on his way to Rome. Finally he heads east to glorious Istanbul, Turkey, then on to the Holy Land and his final destination, Jerusalem. Episode 1: Pilgrimage to Canterbury Simon starts in the North of Britain and makes his way to Canterbury exploring how, after nearly half a millennium of being a predominately Protestant country, Britain is finding its way back to the veneration of saints and shrines. Simon meets the people re-igniting the long forgotten act of pilgrimage and walks with them discovering that Chaucer would recognise the myriad reasons and the diverse characters on pilgrimage today. He sees how people are engaging in pilgrimage with a contemporary take: as he sits behind a reverend astride a Harley Davidson who is on pilgrimage; as he meets political activists using it as an act of protest; and meets those who now revere recently installed relics or create new routes for families to enjoy together. Episode 2: Pilgrimage to Rome Simon joins pilgrims across continental Europe. In France he experiences solitude GÇô as so few walk the Via Franca, and those that do tend to make an inner journey as well. But once he reaches the beginning of the St James Way to Santiago de Compostela here he will get a sense of what it was like at the height of its popularity in the 15th century GÇô a communal, often deeply spiritual experience. And in Rome he will feel the force of the Catholic Church as it inspires piety, respect and devotion still to this day. Episode 3. Pilgrimage to Jerusalem Simon investigates how ancient conflicts still rage over the land where Jesus was born, preached and died. He visits key sites of the early Christian church in Turkey before finishing his journey in the centre of the Christian world. Simon explores the footsteps of Christ and discover whether this has been a truly transformative experience.
Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve