Today is a rest day. This was always in our plan but it feels pretty luxurious to take a rest day this soon. Then again, resting on the seventh day is also quite appropriate. It’s just not something that the EU visa time limits will allow once we hit France*.
Today we have a few items on the schedule, laundry, cathedral tour, Evensong and touring in general. The purpose of the day however, is to stay off of our feet for as long as possible.
In the end we postponed laundry day, and basically spent all day at the Cathedral instead. After a heavy Continental breakfast with toast, fruit, cereal, jam, Nutella etc., we went for a paid tour of the Cathedral-proper (entry was free, but the tour had a charge).
Afterwards, we took some time to shop for a few things (improved inserts for one of our pairs of shoes, soap, etc) as well as lunch supplies. We consumed our lunch and popped back to the Cathedral for our fourth and final official blessing. This one marks the start of the Via Francigena.
For those that think that we’ve gone overboard with these “blessings”, you may well be right. All I can say is that each one has been special in some way. In addition to being a gift offered to us, we have been introduced to several wonderful people, and we have chosen to be participants, and not just observers, in history.
After this gift, we walked around for a bit before attending an Evensong service. These music-focused services are beautiful and ancient. I’ll not attempt to describe them here. They are plentiful to see online if you are interested. In fact, Canterbury Cathedral broadcasts theirs on line if you are interested:
We ended the evening with a dinner and a decision – mainly driven by the lack of available accommodations and weather considerations – to forgo the intermediate stop at Shepherdswell and walk straight through to Dover tomorrow. It will be a tough day.
Because our ferry is already booked, we can’t leave Dover any earlier and will have another rest day in Dover. I’m afraid we’re going to lose our “edge” with all these rest days.
Anyway, good night all.
* For US Citizens there is a 90day VISA limit for a stay within Schengen countries. The UK is not within the Schengen region so any time here in England doesn’t count toward the 90days. Switzerland, although it is not part of the EU, is part of Schengen, so once we board the ferry for France, the clock starts. Making the voyage across the continent in 90 days is do-able, but it won’t be easy. We will have some long days and rest days will be few and far between. But we also have several options to shorten the trip if necessary. We can make days longer, we can cut out some longer sections in favor of a “shortcut”. We can take a ferry across Lac Leman in Switzerland in lieu of walking around the lake. We can take a bus or train if needed. And finally, other than a personal challenge, we have no mandate to make it all the way to Rome in the first place. We could always stop short and pick up the trail some other year. It is all just too far in the future to be too concerned about.