Our Hiking Adventure Along the South Downs Way

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July 10, 2010: Arundel Castle Day
With a day off and Corina’s “bon voyage” gift to us, we hop a bus to Arundel and buy the “Gold Plus” pass, which entitles us to the many and varied beautiful gardens, “the keep” (where nobility could barricade themselves in comfort against invading armies), the first floor rooms with an amazing library AND the second floor bedrooms and baths (my favorite!) at Arundel Castle.  

The outer walls of the 11th century Arundel Castle.

Although originally built in the  11th century, most of what we now see, other than “the keep”, is 18th or 19th century.  We saw the bed Queen Victoria slept in on her three day visit (sometime during her 1837 to 1901 reign.)  For her impending visit, the owners spent two years creating a six room suite complete with specially carved furniture.  For a three day visit!!  Apparently the woman liked red, so they redecorated the library, with its two stories of glass-fronted and richly carved book shelves, in red carpets and lavish red velvet drapes that divide the long hall every 20 or 30 feet.  Unfortunately no picture opportunities here.

The Duke of Norfork and his family are still in residence in a large private area of the castle.  It is startling to see modern photos scattered about of his five children.  Even the publicly viewed parts are their home.  The weekend before we were there, one of the Duke’s daughters celebrated her 21st birthday with a big party, pulling the red chaise lounges from the library into the outdoor party grounds and letting overnight guests sleep in the bedrooms.  No one got to sleep on Queen V’s bed!!

The keep at Arundel
Glenn walking back down from the keep at Arundel Castle.

Arundel Castle
Part of the newer section of Arundel Castle, build in the 19th century.

July 11, 2010: Geocache Day
We are glad to be back on the trail today, and Glenn finds his first geocache after days of the GPS being dead after our flight.  I feel so vitalized and energized by being outdoors 12 or so hours a day surrounded by natural beauty. 

Michele against the backdrop of the English countryside: a typical day on the South Downs Way.

When we arrive at our final destination each day, we are not tired as we expected to be, but, after a shower, are ready for fun and exploration.  This evening finds us in our favorite town so far: Steyning.  We have been in utterly charming small villages, but this town has a little more to it, more like a town we could imagine ourselves living in.  We find a great Indian restaurant for supper, where we strike up a conversation with a well-traveled waiter. In the evening we watch the final game of the World Cup with some Italian middle school students and their English teacher. I call Julius to ask who I should root for, but alas, the Netherlands lost 1- 0 to Spain in the last four minutes of the thirty minute overtime.  We have a great room at a the Springwell Hotel, which can best be described as faded opulence, but had a big tub for bathing and laundry.

July 12th, 2020: Long Day
I know Medieval mentality has seeped into my consciousness when upon arriving at a beautiful sweeping panoramic vista, my first thought is, “This would be a good place for a fort.” This is our 20 mile day, for which we have a Plan B.  If after 10 miles, we are tired, we will catch a bus to our evening’s destination of Kingston.  Early afternoon found us at a nice pub for refreshment and  ready for the rest of the day’s walk.  Around 6:00pm, we thought we were almost there, having sighted for a few miles a big white thing, which we were told was the base for an armless windmill and very near our B&B.  When reality didn’t seem to coincide with our trail book, we realized we had a huge two mile or so loop to make around a grassy bowl.  Once over our chagrin, we enjoyed the incredible evening breeze on top of the world! 

Glenn and cattle
Glenn amongst the cattle, with the hills of the Isle of Wight far off in the distance, at the horizon.

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Last Updated July 19, 2011
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