Day 9 Dover to Dover – A Day of prep

Our bikes

Today began with us making quite a list of things to do. First we walked to a barber shop where we picked up two bikes we had purchased online. We needed these, not because we’ve decided to ride to Rome but because the ship to Calais has temporarily suspended foot traffic. It does allow bicycles. This seems strange to us, but those are the rules and you can’t fight them. Our alternative was to take a train back to London, then to Paris, then to Lille and then to Calais. That alternative would cost more and would take up an entire day. So buying bikes it was.

Apparently it is true one never forgets how to ride a bike but I’ve never ridden while wearing a backpack. It should be easy enough I guess.

The two helpful employees at the tourist information center in Dover assisted us with printing out the forms required to enter France. We will need these to board the ferry in the morning. Most of the required information was electronic. One form however required a real signature. The website did not provide an electronic means to do so. Old fashioned paper was the answer. These all seem to be related to Covid so if your traveling in a “normal” year perhaps you will avoid this hassle.

After returning to our lodging with our bikes, we headed out for breakfast which became brunch since it was already after 10 am. We ate at the Beano restaurant which serves breakfast all day plus other food choices. This eatery came as a recommendation from a taxi driver who we chatted with on the street. Note to self, always follow the local people’s advice! We found “great food and a cheap price” – which was exactly what we were searching for.

The White Cliffs of Dover

Early in the afternoon we decided to stop for a glass of wine after touring the visitor’s center. The visitor’s center houses 3 levels of a museum. Each floor houses one of three interesting, if disassociated, exhibits.

  1. The History of Dover
  2. The Miracle of Dunkirk
  3. The Recovery of a Bronze Age Boat

Our nerdy side was satisfied for a little bit if time. Next came that glass of wine I mentioned. To be truthful we bought a bottle of wine because that is a better deal and we needed to spend the last of our British pounds as well. What a way to do so! We saved the remaining for dinner. Our little visit to the cafe was only spoiled by the expert aim of a passing seagull – yep, splat, right on my shoulder.


That’s really it. It was a walk-around day as we had to wait for the ferry in the morning. Little else to report. But we were full of anticipation. A whole new country awaited in the morning. A long continent to cross was ahead of us.

Our ferries for tomorrow

Tomorrow morning will be eventful as we cross the channel into France. One of the white buildings in the photo is our flat for the night. It may look swanky but I promise you it isn’t.

Dover Castle
Pebble beaches

Day2 Woolwich to Dartford – Commons

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!

Our last view of the Thames at Low Tide

Click here for a cool 3D image of our last view of the Thames

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?!

Old Post Box

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.

A very boring shot…but this is what we do!

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.

The Fulwich, our Bed for the Night

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.

Quarantine Day3 – Walking in place

Allison’s thoughts

Today is Tuesday and day 3 of our required down time. I am sure you are wondering what we do to entertain ourselves.

Besides completing crossword and sudoku puzzles, route planning for our hike, eating and sleeping, we do exercise. But creativity is key! So here is little clip of what has become one of our daily habits.

We really had to find a way to stay in shape! Aaaaaand Action:

Mark is getting really good at plotting our journey too. The GPS map of one of walks should give you some idea of what we’re going through. It’s kind of funny.

Pre-Flight Day10 – Decisions decisions

<Allison> To walk in England or not to walk in England? The UK is certainly putting a kink in our original plans. The 10 days of quarantine has yet to be lifted. What a pain! France and Italy are welcoming US visitors with no quarantine so…in the next couple of days we need to decide if England is a go or no go. If not, we will travel directly to France and begin our adventure there. Let’s not forget to mention that this also affects our dates of travel too. Exactly how many flights have we booked so far??? Guess away! The answer is yet to be determined.

Pre-Flight Day12 – Playing with technology

By Allison

Sunday, the day of rest is perfectly situated after a long day of hiking. A joyful day beginning with praising the Lord and worship with so many friends. This afternoon we chatted with Madeline about our upcoming adventure. Seeing maps with our walking routes is inspiring and chatting about transportation and accommodations makes the trip real! Not that it was fake before mind you. This evening it is time to begin getting comfortable with posting and learning how this app works. Have to say, I am not feeling the love of technology at the moment. But practice makes perfect…after a bit of frustration.

Modern hiking, almost always connected.