VIA FRANCIGENA | Day 2
Dover to Licques, 32.2 km
England is in the bag now, a quick ferry ride across the English Channel and I'm in the land of the Francs.
One minute update
Early 4:00 am wake up call to catch the 5:50 am ferry to France failed miserable as the ticket office didn’t open until 7am. Without realizing it I walked pass all the security checkpoints before realizing where I was. I headed back to the terminal and no one was the wiser. Security is very relaxed around here.
I had breakfast while I waited, there were passengers sleeping on the floor waiting for the ticket office to open. Once it did, I got my ticket in no time and boarded the bus to the terminal. We had our passports checked and stamped from the comfort of the bus window. it was really something else.
It was a quick ferry ride across the English Channel and I sat foot in the land of the Franks. Calais to be precise. I gather my thoughts, setup the trolley and walked into town. I saw my first via Francigena sign just outside the terminal and it gave me a boost of confidence.
Once at the city center I took out 300 euros cash from an ATM and bought a tuna sandwich and a coke for lunch. I started walking late, around noon. Although it was 72 degrees the scorching sun forced me to take more breaks than I wanted to.
The path paralleled a Canal into the countryside. My feet started to hurt, I stopped by a tractor tire on the side of a bike trail and I switched from running shoes to hiking boots which seem to alleviate the pain. An older lady riding bike with her granddaughter recognized my Camino scallop shell and struck a conversation. it was half English half French, but we understood each other, and she wished me a "buen camino".
At Guines I walked into a bar with no food. It was a soda and a bottle of water. On my way out of town I came face to face with the first commonwealth war grave. The scope of the devastation and the sacrifice made by so many young soldiers is palpable.
Walking on the narrow side of country roads is something I will have to get used to. But for now, I settle for the beautiful gardens and châteaus. The French are great drivers, growing up in Miami and living in South America gives me a different perspective. No stamps were collected as all churches were closed. a stark difference between the Via and El Camino.
But what was open was a pizza food truck that came out of nowhere and at the perfect time. It had a wood fire oven that completely took me by surprise. The owners spoke English and loved Disney theme parks. They visit Orlando every chance they get. Funny, I live 200 miles south. They gave me a Sprite free of charge and I ate a couple of slices at a bus stop. I decided to leave the rest for dinner.
Got lost in the woods as the sun was setting near Licques. I'm not going to lie; the forest was getting scary. I pictured myself wild camping in a clearing but secretly wished to get out right away. This was a test, especially the tough climbs on overgrown brush with the trolley. I keep thinking I was training for the alps.
I Jumped over a fence and made it out into a busy road. the sun was nearing the horizon and the shadows were growing long. it was by a cross on the side of the road that my phone gave out. I was about half an hour away from Licques.
Not my tent. I was too tired even to photograph my own, but you get the idea.
Thanks to Erin’s donation I was able to stay at Les Pommiers de 3 Pays Camping. Electricity was an extra but my large capacity mophie power bank has enough charge to power all my electronics for two days.
I badly limped my way to the showers and wonder how I was going to put myself together and walk tomorrow. It's funny how the body knows it's in a survival situation and lets you push it harder than back home.
I had a slice of pizza for dinner and went to sleep as soon as the sun set. I was tired and somewhat defeated.
Tomorrow is another day.
Beauty shots compilation
Daily Cost Breakdown
Today's stage broken down with the help of Google Earth.
Google Earth Overview
Chambres D'hôtes du parc
101 Rue Du 11 Novembre
Chambres D'hôtes Le Cercle de malines
12 rue des Malines
Chambres D'hôte Nuit d'ailleurs
54 rue Berthois
Hôtel Les Dunes
48 Route Nationale
Chambre D'Hôte Villa Vent D'Bout
rue Des Francisaines
Camping les Pommiers des trois pays
273 rue de breuil
Camping le Canchy
830 rue de Canchy