Yesterday we completed 1/100th of our entire pilgrimage! It’s not much of a milestone but it is a milestone nonetheless, because every journey must have a start.
After a fabulous night’s sleep in the Travel Lodge in Woolwich we hit the sidewalk/pavement at 7:15 am. This takes some getting used to for someone who prefers a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Winding our way through the city streets alternating with some nice shady wooded areas, and commons* was a pleasant change from the fast fading London bustle.
We eventually found ourselves following a trail along the river marsh area to our left. Unfortunately a very ugly industrial area was on our right so basically, we just kept looking to the left!
The day felt hot and muggy to us. I can only imagine how poor Madeline felt. It seems to be an unwritten rule that when we decide to begin a pilgrimage the temperatures must take a drastic rise. That makes all our friends want to come hike with us, right?!
Currently we are enjoying a beer and juice in the Tiger pub in the little town of Dartford. Pub life is a beautiful thing in England. I love that the locals are cheering-on formula one races.
For us we are just enjoying the cool air inside and out of the sun. We are finally cooling down.
The proprietress at our lodging is just wonderful. She is fun to chat with and very helpful. Our rooms are little, but wonderfully clean plus a mini fridge and microwave. These may sound like simple things but part of being a pilgrim is living simply. Small unexpected things like these when you’ve booked very economical lodging is a treat. This, The Fulwich is an economical price pub/hotel that we’d highly recommend for someone satisfied with simplicity.
How to summarize today? Well, honestly it wasn’t the best of days in terms of scenery or history, but even the mundane is part of pilgrimage. The woods and commons were nice and the few times in the afternoon that we found shade were wonderful. For example, we sat under a tree adjacent to a shopping center adjacent to a busy road for lunch…but it was nice because of the shade, a nice breeze, and lunch. Simple pleasures.
Tomorrow will be a tougher day. We have to cover over 18miles to Wrotham. We plan on an early 6am start to help beat the heat but we will still end up walking well into the afternoon regardless.
* a Common is an open grassy area that is reserved for the public. Originally these were “common” areas whereon anyone could graze their sheep.