Walkabout 3: Sandlings Walk
It's always great to have a walk outside of China, both for the change of scenery and my own personal sanity. This week's walkabout is from over a month ago when I traveled to England for the National Week holiday. It had been a seriously long time since I'd seen Kate, and despite the trouble it took to get there in the end, the week we had together was perfect. Having a picture of what our life together in the UK could be like and then having it rudely snatched away as I returned to China really galvanized me into action. We're taking the first steps to have my Unmarried Partner Visa processed. I will not be coming back to China after the Spring Festival holidays, really for real this time. But I digress; this is something I can write an entire post about later.
We rented a cottage outside the village of Snape, and to get the most important bit out of the way, yes, Rowling indeed named Severus Snape after this village. I was disappointed there wasn't a statue in Alan Rickman's likeness in the center. The walk we settled on - and there are many options out there in Suffolk - was a combination of the Sandling's Walk and a few roads that couldn't be avoided. We were lucky in that the entrance to the trail was right at the end of our road, and we entered the Turnstall Forest from there. The forest walking was very relaxing as the trail was wide, flat and easy to navigate. Perfect for someone who may or may not have had a few beers the night before.
The forested area probably lasted about 4 miles until we came out onto some grassy farmland, which made up a large part of the walk. We walked by several enclosures for pigs that I can guarantee are a lot less depressing than in either China or America. They each had their own little hut and seemed as happy as pigs...um...in mud. I wouldn't feel so bad about eating one of them. We eventually came to the River Alde, both the river itself and the exposed bed at low tide reflecting the sky like a mirror. The river empties into the sea at Aldeburgh, where you can find one of the best chippies in England. We took a detour and followed the river to Iken. There was an old church over there that we had to look at.
We backtracked along the river toward Snape Maltings and got caught in a downpour. Being England, I was shocked we weren't constantly walking through rain, so it didn't bother me so much. We encountered more and more pensioners the closer we got to the Maltings, which were used to malt barley for brewing in the Victorian era, but now serve as a music hall. Having the metabolism of a cheetah, tea and a scone were very welcome at the café there. Well, enough rambling from me - enjoy the photos below!