c a n t e r b u r y - c a l a i s

I lived more in this one day- marching 20 miles from Canterbury to the white cliffs of Dover and on to France, than I have in a  while! 

I started out on the empty streets of Canterbury, saying a prayer inside the cathedral grounds at 7:00am to start my trip. 

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I made not less than one wrong turn before exiting the city limits. I met dogs, people, people walking dogs, and asked for directions everywhere! 

At one point I was lost in a field of daisies and freed a baby bunny that was caught in a wire fence.

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I think the growing bunny just misjudged a small link of the fence it could squeeze itself through, and got its head and ears before being stuck, like a chubby finger on a ring.

I felt a range of emotion watching the sweetest thing I have ever seen squeak and wretch and nearly suffocate itself clawing and pushing for a way out. I couldn’t walk away and leave it to die, but I also was very scared myself to terrify the poor thing further by handling it which stressed it terribly. I did not know how to wrench something so delicate free. The animal finally came to a point of exhaustion with struggling and I was able to put a finger of space between its neck and the fence wire to cut the bunny loose with nail clippers from backpack. I felt such relief watching it hop away. This photo is or after the incident, where it either trusted I was not a predator enough to let me close or was still catching it’s breath. 

Sometime after the baby bunny incident, I stopped at the Duke of Cumberland pub in Barham to ask for a water bottle refill and left with a terrific stamp of the Duke himself, (a hero in the war against the scots) on my pilgrim passport and a cadbury bar.  The humanity!

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Barham to Lyddon, Lyddon to Dover, the mileage itself felt epic. I was having a lot of trouble navigating from the trail markers, but I felt I had to make good time to Dover though, motivated to honor the ferry ticket i had already bought for 4:30/5:30pm, and the constant knowledge I only have 90 days in the EU. So instead of backtracking to pick up the trail and risking getting lost in the wrong direction, i just followed my compass SE along country roads and hoped to pick up the trail where I could - even if it was the Dover ferry! A looser interpretation for sure, but I decided early on that my main concern was to go the distance and not be turned around. 

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My second stop was Temple Ewell and at this point I wanted to ditch everything. My stuff was heavy to carry on my back all day, and that’s a metaphor and not a metaphor. I also experience being pretty hungry for lunch and walking for miles before finding a grocery store at 3pm in River for a sandwich.

And yes, somehow at the end I was following the River path to avoid uphills and empty into the sea! 

I was greeted at Dover city limits by a view of the castle on the hill and a jazz flutist in the walking tunnel. I started to get a second wind (or was it the second costa coffee :))  

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The city scene gave me so much life after the day I’d had! There were points Dover seemed out of reach, so when I saw the white cliffs, (well, first an Indian take out restaurant called ‘White Cliffs Tandoori’ 😂) my heart nearly burst. 

I met a lovely American family of fellow foot passengers on the ferry. It’s like I also forgot how nice it was to have a real conversation after being to myself walking. It was a great experience, and I truly felt that ferry was more luxurious than the original titanic after the day I had! 

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