Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Why England - Conclusion

To see no other verdure than its own;
To feel no other breezes than are blown
Through its tall woods with high romances blent


In the last post I tried to explain why I didn't choose my home country (Italy) for my first long distance walking experience.
Today I am going to tell wherefore I preferred England to other nearer countries.

Probably there are many fine long distance walks in other European countries but, as far a I could understand exploring Internet, no other country offers like England (and Wales) such a rich choice of trails managed by an official organization (National Trail) providing - through a dedicated website and guide-books - a comprehensive support to walkers for planning their trips: maps, distances, accommodation, photo galleries, etc.

Nowhere else I have been able to find such a help which allowed me - absolute beginner - to choose the best fit trail and smoothly organize my trip.

Moreover what pleasant surprise when - perusing some maps of England - I discovered that, beside the 4,000 km covered by the 14 national trails, the whole country is reticulated by a grid of public footpaths allowing to actually go everywhere on foot.

Thus, practical motives were determinant in choosing England but this choice matched a preexistent inner inclination.

It is not that I don't like France or Germany but England has something undefinable which strikes a chord with me.

Well, how to say?

One almost magic aspect deals with the relative intactness of England: since medieval times - excepted some bombings in World War II - she has scarcely suffered from war destructions not in the least comparable to Germany or Italy. Actually it is the fire which has been the main ravager.
This aspect is also due to her inhabitants who generally don't throw away things just because they are out of fashion.
I have been fascinated by pubs where one expects to suddenly behold Tom Jones or Falstaff.
Even the very fences or signposts are quite discreet in this country, barely impacting on the landscape.

I could resume my feelings saying that, walking in England, I rarely get a clashing sensation. My sharp aesthetic sensibility is seldom upset and I feel at peace.

In the next post I going to tell why I chose the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path among the 14 national trails.

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