Looking back the day I spent wandering along the path to the Coast and Dover was probably one
of the best days weather wise of my trip thus far. Yes I had very strong head winds, but the sky
was only lightly cloudy, no sign of rain, and in hindsight - I felt warm!
The path was easy - mostly down with "ups", there were pleasant things to see along the way,
and some good views looking out across the countryside.
I was surprised by Dover. I was expecting a drab town, not sure why, but found it quite pretty. I
had a lovely B&B and was greeted by name by everyone in the bar - I guess I was the only crazy
one walking from Canterbury on that day! Comments like "you made it"! - does a lot for one's
After the usual ablutions I set off to explore. I was too late to look at the Castle, butwent up the
hill anyway to look from the outside. It is massive, and one day I would like to go back and
explore it - but it would need a whole day to do it justice.
On the way down the hill I started chatting to a strange man (as in unknown) - I find I do this often
while I am on the road. He invited me to walk with him along the shore - he was going for a
nightly constitutional, though I didn't really need that! As Patrick and I walked along we chatted
about what I was attempting to do, and by the time we parted ways I think that he had heard the
Camino "calling" him - all you Camino people reading this will know what I talking about. I hope
he has found this blog-site - I was a bit tired and couldn't remember the address properly! He also
gave me the tips on how to get to the ferry which was very fortunate because I would have gone
down on a different side of the road and that would have made things very difficult for myself.
Not only did I get to see the "White Cliffs" in the evening, but the sun shone on them the next
morning as I was leaving, and Patrick was right - they are very bright in the sunlight.
We had an uneventful crossing - thankfully, but for some reason my balance went a bit awry. It
may have been the Kwells I took or having an off day, and so after walking about 2 hours out of
Calais I decided to return and just catch the train to Dunkerque. I enjoyed the few hours in
Calais. It is, like Dover, a much nicer town than I thought. There was some sort of running race
in the square in, which meant that the toilet facilities in the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) were open.
This was a bonus for 2 reasons - one because toilets are really hard to find(!) and the other being
that I got to see the interior of the Hotel de Ville!
After staying the night in Dunkerque I set off towards Iper. I went through the town of Bergues, a
medieval town that is still in an original state as it avoided destruction during the wars. There was
a market in full swing in the town and I had to weave my way through the stalls, while listening to
the sounds coming from the Belfroi (belfry); I actually walked into the town to the carillon of
the "Loch Lomond"! I stopped opposite the tower in a bar so that I could listen to the carillons
which went on for the whole time I was there.
Bergues is very close to Belgium, where most people speak English! That night I had the luxury
of a 3 star hotel right in the heart of Iper. Again I was greeted with "you made it", and went to
my luxury room complete with a king size bed and a bath! Bliss! This day was to be the last that I
walked in my shirtsleeves. From now on it is fleece, beanie and gloves! (plus poncho often!)