Sheperdswell to Dover 15.2 km
It was hard to pull away from the interesting conversation over breakfast this morning, with old friends and new – Krishna and David were also staying at Susanna’s. But, with blue skies beckoning, we set off with David and Anne for St. Andrew’s Church, for our pilgrim stamp and a search for the “green man” stone carving. We think we may have identified it…! Passing the Celtic cross war memorial, we made our way across fields and coppices on the North Downs Way, stopping to view a 17thC Palladian folly (a belvedere, unfinished) and associated modern sculpture, through Waldershare Park and past its stately home. At Ashley Sutton, while siting on a grassy bank, enjoying a break and Anne’s delicious nut cake, another walker approached, Kevin McCallister from Massachusetts (yes, “Home Alone” references were made!) on his way to Dover to complete another section of the VF (mid—France to Rome completed last year). Krishna and David soon joined us. Late morning, the clouds began to roll in and we donned our rain gear, although the rain held off until later. Just after crossing the A2, we encountered a temporary construction fence, which required a slight detour. Unfortunately, Krishna and David ended up having to climb the fence to get back on track! We then joined an old Roman road, which eventually brought us to the outskirts of Dover. We had our pilgrim passports stamped at St. Paul’s church, thanks to Krishna who went next door to get the custodian, and ended our walk together with a good lunch and well-needed coffees at Cafe Melange, a great find (thanks, Anne!). Krishna and David were spending the night in Dover, but we expect to meet up again along the way. David and Anne headed back to London. We so appreciated their company on the first two days of our walk. We hopped in a cab, stopping at Dover Castle for a quick photo, and then to the ferry dock, to board the 5:25 P&O ferry to Calais. With our passports stamped, the 90 day Schengen countdown begins!