In which I walk to the airport

Next time you are in Exeter in England, and someone tells you that you probably shouldn’t walk to the airport from wherever you are, smile politely and do it anyway. A remarkable fact about the Exeter area is that it is riddled with bicycle and pedestrian routes, including bridges and backroads, that lead one past exquisite delights and wonders.

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I’d been encouraged by Katherine to visit the Exeter city center, to see the cathedral, which would have been lovely, but what with planning the next leg of my trip, and having no British money on my personage, I decided that I would find a suitable diversion in walking the three miles from the Holiday Inn I was at to the Exeter Airport. My father and I had looked up directions the night previous, and it looked like there was a leg of the trip that didn’t have sidewalks, and so I was a little worried, but none too badly – I figured I’d deal with that when I got there. I found instead that my path wound through fields and neighborhoods, down skinny lanes and between hawthorn hedges, underneath old oaks bursting into leaf, and through tiny, hilarious hamlets.

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I found amazing and interesting flowers blooming amongst the nettles.

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In my musings, I found myself thinking how much Anne Shirley would enjoy such a walk. And then what did I find?

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There were more bluebells here even than in France!

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And the stitchwart came in drifts rather than patches.

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I found walls that people had taken the time to make beautiful.

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And, though I did not manage to get to the cathedral in Exeter, I found the rectory in a small town nearby, and though I could not go in, I admit that I poked around a little.

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I arrived rather early for my flight, but it meant I had time to think and have dinner and get all my luggage sorted properly. And now here I am, in Ireland, thankfully having caught the train to Limerick, and watching the grey-and-green Irish countryside go past, dotted with new lambs and old trees. The thought occurs to me that my adventure yesterday may be the last sun I see until Italy, but you know what?This is an adventure. The gorse can be my sunshine!

And you know what? Yesterday, even though I had to find a way to the airport and then get from the Dublin airport to my hostel, I wasn’t stressed at all. Normally I’m out of my head. But I think that walk was exactly what I needed, and so even though I got horribly lost trying to get to my hostel, and even though my plane was late, and even though I was all alone all day, I was smiling more or less the whole time. And you can’t beat that with a stick.

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