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Published: August 22nd 2019
River in Canterbury
We arrived in Canterbury in the afternoon and that gave us a few hours to wander around the city.
Hiking from Canterbury to Dover
This year we decided to take the first week of our vacation to go on a hike. The trail we chose is an ancient pilgrim route called Via Francigena. The route goes from Canterbury in England to Rome in Italy. We have no intension of walking all of it. We don't have the time. Walking all of it would take maybe three months. But also, it wouldn't be fun. We enjoy hiking but one week is quite enough for us. More than that and it would turn into a project and that is not what we are after.
We began the hike in Canterbury. Before we went there we only knew of two things about that city:
1 it has a cathedral
2 there is a book named the Canterbury Tales (we haven't read that... guess we have to...)
We arrived in Canterbury in the afternoon and that gave us a few hours to wander around the city. It was closing time when we came to the cathedral so we only had half an hour or so to look at it. After that we walked around in the
Canterbury city gate
We walked around in the old town for a while. One of the things we saw was this gate.
old town for a while. Among the other things we saw was a statue of Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of the Canterbury Tales. When Ake saw the statue all he could think of was the movie A Knight's Tale. The character Geoffrey Chaucer is portrayed somewhat differently from what you might expect.
The first day we hiked from Canterbury to Dover. The trail mostly goes through rural farming country. There was one town on the way, Shepherdswell, and a few small villages. We love English countryside and small English villages so we had a wonderful day. We would like to write a bit more about a few of the places we visited this day.
- That's a tiny village with a funny name. The village happens to be ridiculously British. It felt like we walked into a film studio where they have set up a few houses for shooting scenes for an episode of Midsomer Murders.
- another very British village. We stopped at the church for a while because we needed a short break. One thing that fascinated us was that the facade of the church was covered with flint.
Statue of Geoffrey Chaucer
In the movie A Knight's Tale Geoffrey Chaucer looks quite differently from this statue.
We have never before seen this much flint in the same place. Later, when we were walking, we noticed that most rocks in the soil were also flint. The sedimentary rock is mostly chalk in this region. It seems like if there is chalk there is also plenty of flint. Maybe you are not surprised by this. But we are from Sweden and we have very little flint here. I can also add that the cemetery in Patrixbourne was nice and photogenic.
- We stopped there to get something to eat. We were looking for a café but instead we got invited to a private home. The couple who lived there talked about the town history. Shepherdswell is not far from the coast so there was a lot of action there during the Second World War. The couple told us that in a railway tunnel in town they kept one or more railway guns
. We'll never see any of those guns with our own eyes because they were all scrapped after the war. But it was cool to at least see the tunnel where one of those massive guns had been kept.
• All Saints Church in Waldershare
- Strictly this
isn't a church anymore. It was a church until 1980 when it was declared redundant, which means that it is no longer used as a church. The church itself is under the care of Churches Conservation Trust and gets the necessary maintenance. The cemetery, however, isn't maintained. Much of it is overgrown with shrubbery and ivy and looks like a really good setting for shooting a horror movie. We took a film of it to give you an idea of what it looks like.
As we said further up, most of the day we walked through farming country. We took one film of a particularly lovely meadow.
In the late afternoon we arrived in Dover. We left our bags at the hotel and did some sightseeing. Even though we were tired after walking the entire day we had to see the white cliffs of Dover
now that we were there.
The next day we took the ferry across the English Channel and continued the hike in France. We will write more about that in the next blog entry.
Finally we would like to say two
It was closing time when we came to the cathedral so we only had half an hour or so to look at it. It was repairing time as well as you can see
things to anyone who is thinking about hiking the Via Francigena.
• Download the app to your phone. It is very useful as it has very detailed maps linked to GPS.
• Be aware of that in England and in France it can be a bit tricky to find accommodation.
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