Now my “trail mix” is going to cover a little bit of everything. (Shocking, right?) I will comment on the actual trail as well as my experience with the walkers and people I met along the path.
For my first day on the trail, Tuesday, I walked the lengthy portion from Farnham to Guildford. I’m going to start out by remarking how much modern society has affected this sort of thing. I mean the National Trail begins not out away in nature but alongside a major street (A31). It doesn’t exactly push you into reflection of the good kind but more about how modernized life has deteriorated some of the wonders of travel, especially by trail.
I became more cheerful attitude in a little bit, and the trail veered away from the highway and into a more scenic route along the Wey River. Here the noise was of pleasant birds and flowing waters, not the hustle and bustle of the traffic scene. Contemplation was afoot (pun intended) and I found myself wondering why I had never really pursued any trails before. I counted myself lucky, it was supposed to rain all day, but I found the morning weather easy with only slightly ominous clouds in the sky and a wind that suggestive of rain for later in the day. When I had a few miles to go, it did start to rain, but I was prepared with my poncho, umbrella, and backpack waterproof cover when it did.
The topics varied frequently throughout the walk. I generally gave my spill about what brought me to England and my pursuits as an English major, then we would talk about other topics. One lady I met was originally from New Zealand (Middle Earth!!) and that sparked a conversation about her job back there. Apparently she worked in a film studio where Peter Jackson had worked on BrainDead. While she didn’t work close to him (she was an accountant), she said some of his early stuff showed his interest in special effects. Sweet!
While passing a field along a woodland, we encountered a man riding bikes with his two kids. We stopped to chat for a moment, and he pointed out the significance of the field. It had just been used most recently for the latest Robin Hood film (the one with Russell Crowe, he specified). Now the field was pretty as it was, but it was neat to be able to put a story next to it. And on doing some research later, this area had been used for the filming of several popular movies, such as Gladiator, two of the Harry Potter films, and Captain America. Neat, huh?
I must say Puttenham is my new favorite place. I ended staying about an hour and a half in The Good Intent, a local pub (my first pub ever by the way). I was invited to sit with some locals, and I laughed so hard my sides hurt. They had awoken with hungry stomachs, due to the beer festival that had been going on all weekend in celebration of Queen’s Jubilee. They pointed out that British don’t drink that often. Not only did I get some good laughs here, I also ate some tasty chips and learn that Cockney Rhyming Slang. After leaving the pub, I eventually passed next to a golf course, where I encounter some slightly (?) intoxicated individuals who had set up a tent. One lady was apologetic of the group, repeatedly saying they were just being funny and that they aren’t usually like this. (I’m guessing this country doesn’t drink much, or at least doesn’t like to claim that they do. I was amused.)
Overall this part of the trip was an exhausting one. I felt physically drained upon reaching my B&B, and my feet were not too happy with me. But it was interesting to see what conversations struck up on my way. And despite the differences between me and the people I encountered, we still found common interests that allowed us to share and enjoy the trip. (Another indication that society still can relate, despite varying histories and boundaries! Whoop!)