Monday, 4 June 2007

Pilgrimage from Canterbury to Calais 01/06/07

It all started out really well today but it was very short lived. We left Canterbury at 07:00. There are a few different paths from Canterbury to Dover but the one we were hoping to take should have been about 30km. We lost the path for a while but found a different one so we decided to follow it. Luckily after 12km Dan spotted a signpost because after finding the trail again we had taken it in the wrong direction!!!! We still had 30km to go! And if we had kept walking we would have been back in Canterbury within the hour. Obviously this was quite demoralizing. Especially since we decided not to eat breakfast when we woke up but rather wait till the first cafĂ©. It still hadn’t appeared..

So after this two extremely hungry and slightly subdued pilgrims started back on a 30km walk to Dover. We heard from some other people there was a bakery just off the track so I decided to track it down while Dan decided to carry on. The bakery ended up being about 1km away so gave it a miss as well. It was a blessing though to be able to walk by myself as I was starting to feel very sorry and sore. It was great to be able to rest whenever I felt like it!

After another 8km and still on an empty stomach I got a bit of relief. The signposts for the trail looked a bit dodgy to me so, not wanting to get lost again, I decided to follow the motorway. This led me to a caravan on the side of the road where these two lovely English girls made me the best “hotdog” I have ever eaten. They called it the “wide load” and it was more like a hot breakfast in a roll. Three eggs, bacon, tomato, sausage and mushrooms all piled into the biggest hotdog bun I had ever seen. It was AMAZING!!! Truly heaven sent J

After that my walk became pure torture. Having not trained before starting and having way too much weight in my backpack I was starting to become more and more demoralized. I was psychologically prepared for a 30km walk the first day but a 40km walk wasn’t doing it for me. Especially walking the next 20km along the motorway.

But after many rests, two blisters and many mp3 songs later I managed to stumble down to the ferry terminal at around 18:00. Luckily Dan had made it as well so we set straight off to Calais.

We arrived at about 22:00 and heard there was a camping ground just out of town. We decided to eat first and each had a well earned stake.

After walking for about 1km after dinner, and the camping ground only having meant to have been 200m away, we decided to camp in a park. Luckily there was a hedge around it so we were invisible from the road and if it wasn’t for a few drunken teenagers we would have had the whole night in peace.

And thanks for the tent Debbi, it is GREAT!

So, not quite the start I was hoping for but a start nonetheless. It is beginning to bring back vary vivid memories of the Camino de Santiago. Its funny, people (me included, but after doing one you would think I would know better) seem to have a very romantic view of pilgrimages. But after doing one you realize it is just really bloody hard work!!! I’m giving my pack a week and if I still struggle after that then there’s a lot of stuff going back…

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