Day one is complete, filled with both emotion and excitement!
Yesterday Saturday 28th Septemeber 2013, I visited Cambridge to celebrate my good friends Pippa and Alex’s marriage in our college chapel Corpus Christi. It was an amazing ceremony with beautiful weather to accompany us punting down the river to the Cambridge Union. I managed to punt the bride down the river where we met the groom coming the other way when he jumped into our boat! (In full wedding attire!)
After some great speeches, a little drinking and a lot of rockaoke (that’s rock charaoke) I managed to get a good 6 hours sleep before I uncontrollably woke up with huge excitement about the day (and weeks) ahead.
Lunch consisted of smoked salmon, bagels and fish balls and all the other things that come with a nice Jewish brunch. I was joined with my mother and close friends which lead to an emotional goodbye.
I left from my flat in Camden Town, like I have done many times; this was however different. I am not coming back in the same day, let alone the same month, actually maybe never since I moved out the day before – yes it’s been a busy week!
In the first mile it suddenly hit me that I was off to cycle a good distance for most days of the next month. Alone. As an extrovert this is likely going to be challenging. But hey, this blog can provide me with an outlet and hopefully will prompt interesting messages of support and interesting facts about the war – tweet me!
Regardless of this I started thinking about the meaning of this trip. To journey along the liberation path of World War II. Although not going off to war, I felt sad to be leaving friends and family. The dangers for me on this trip aren’t great, but for the soldiers at the time it must have been an odd sensation. Perhaps never seeing family again. I feel for the mother’s of the teenagers who have to let their son’s go.
I quickly remembered that this trip is about taking a positive spin on everything. In just under half an hour, visiting the Bomber Command memorial by Green Park, I passed Buckingham Palace and reached Big Ben and Westminster. A couple from Sweden took a photo of me next to the statue of Churchill (after I took one of them). Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister at the time of the D-Day landings. Interestingly, despite being in charge when we won the war, he was not re-elected. It was here at Westminster where the decisions would have taken place to give the final go ahead.
D-Day landings happened on the 6th June 1944. However they were planned to go ahead on the 5th, but the weather was looking too bad for that many ships to cross the channel. All of the people involved in those landings must have been extremely excited and nervous, but then told to hold that excitement for the next day. I feel a similar sense of “lets get this over with” but have to wait for another night until I will cross the channel, by modern ferry (not quite the same). However this waiting is frustrating even in this lovely bed and breakfast.
The ride down here to Farnham was quite pleasant; not many hills to slow me down and good weather too. I am exhausted from the festivities of the wedding from last night but adrenaline is still pumping!
I did notice it being nice and quiet because it’s a Sunday night, however a few people have looked a bit miserable; perhaps because Monday is looming. With me cycling past, singing along and smiling, I always had the smile returned. This has led to a fantastic feeling at the end of my first day as I have made a lot of people happier for just a moment.
Tomorrow will see me heading to Bournemouth to stay with some friends which should be very pleasant, before heading over to France where I will have no data coverage and a relatively poor grasp of the language. Don’t forget if you have anyone along the route who you might be able to hook me up with, for a coffee, maybe even a sleep on their sofa, or perhaps even a bed to stay in, I would be extremely delighted for the company!