What a beautiful day. The weather was dryer and just a bit cooler. The fact that we will arrive in Canterbury after a short 12mi walk also makes me feel happy. Better yet, we have a rest day planned there. And to top it all off, we will get to wash our clothes in a proper washing machine. Oh, the simple joys of pilgrim life.
As we started off from the Flying Horse, we walked through a wheat field of which I couldn’t stop taking pictures. The morning light and the sun played with the field in such a way that I just wanted to soak that moment in. I looked up after a bit and could barely see Allison and Madeline up ahead in the distance. I guess this moment was just for me. It was glorious.
<Allison> The first village we encountered was Chilham. There is even a castle here! Yes, you guessed it , Chilham Castle. The castle is actually privately owned and it’s for sale. Sorry, the price is no where near something that anyone I have ever known could afford. The village however was beautiful and quaint and friendly.
The next village we entered had a beautiful church and and a friendly lady to chat with She kindly showed us around Saint Mary’s church in Charlton. After she heard about our adventure, I think she was almost ready to pack her bags and travel with us. She promised to ask for prayers for us in the church’s newsletter. I thought that was really sweet.
<Mark> The walk toward Canterbury was serene. For the latter half of the day we walked alongside the River Stour. It was crystal clear and flowing along in a very British way; fast, but not overly so, gentle but purposeful.
<Allison> For lunch we found a sweet place by a lake in a grassy shaded field. We ate with the ducks who keep begging for food. It was a perfect spot, and the temperatures at mid day were actually enjoyable for the first time since we started hiking in England. Heat waves seem to follow us.
<Mark> We walked past a drake and a pen and seven signets along the Stour. We also met a nice couple on a bridge in Charlton just before Canterbury.
<Allison> Today’s hike was a short one at about 13 miles. Having a cooler day, plus a short one in mileage, was perfect! We made it into Canterbury!!!
<Mark> As we approached the city, all sorts of signs emerged to indicate this city’s Roman and Pilgrim past. History “popped”, as it were, and we felt the excitement of approaching a milestone.
<Allison> And the first thing we did was get our pilgrim passports stamped. Doing so has the side benefit of free-entry into the Cathedral. Being a pilgrim has side-benefits. So we will come back tomorrow for another official pilgrim blessing and to tour. Our next pitstop was to find a place to get a cold drink.
<Mark> A cold drink was excellent. But more memorable were Martin and his friend. These two gentlemen had already spent some significant time at the bar before we’d arrived. Martin was of particular interest to me. He was an Irishman by birth and had a good soul. He had had a recent tragedies in his family’s lives and seemed quite devastated by it. He seemed truly touched by the gift of a key and promised it would be treasured.
His friend was younger but also had had a tough childhood. Upon receiving his key, he told me no one had ever given him anything. He also seemed genuinely happy to have our simple gift.
Attempting to find our lodging turned out to be more difficult than we anticipated. We were actually following directions via google maps. But as we all know, the Google maps app is not infallible. A local gentleman heard us chatting while on his walk home. He interrupted his walk and led us to the entrance of our hotel. I am thankful for small blessings today.
Well I’m closing this blog entry at nearly 1am and I’ve made the decision to greatly scale back the entries. You’re all probably tired of reading all this content anyway. But for my own sanity and to enable me to function. I have to stop this.
I’ll still post, but it will be less content. The video compilations etc will have to wait for post-pilgrimage editing. I’m glad I did it through Canterbury at least. I’ll post one last compilation below.
<post Via note: Although I did scale back efforts, I also got a bit better at it and learned some tricks to speed up the uploads. As a result I was able to upload better video content later during the pilgrimage.>