Showing posts from November, 2014

dover castle

I've never been inside Dover Castle.  Let me just get that out of the way.  This was my 3rd attempt over 15 years, and each time I arrived at the gate; '.. sorry luv, it's closing in a bit, we're not letting anymore people in'.
Perhaps there's merit to taking the tour bus after all.  Maybe next time I'd do just that.
All was not lost though.  Atop the hill is from whence the most breathtaking views of the channel and the town of Dover it self can be seen.  You can see sheep grazing within the walls of the castle, the rolling hills of Kent, heck, I could have sworn I could see the Eiffel Tower :)
Defensively speaking, this place has been strategic for hundreds [perhaps thousands] of years. Archeologists found evidence of activity since the Iron Age, but Dover Castle itself was first built in the 12th Century.  It wasn't this magnificent at first though - the original castle was built out of clay. Apparently it was burnt down during the life of William t…

the road to Dover Castle

They say it's often not the destination, but the journey that's important.  This couldn't have been more true on this day.
You can take a tour bus up the hill to the castle if you want, but what fun is that?  Instead, we trekked through residential areas and bits of woodland - burning off vital calories previously attained from scones and crisps in the process. 
If you're fit, I'd recommend walking up the hill.  It's not only good for you, you may get to speak to some locals on the way like we did.  Doverians are such nice folk.  You also get to see some peculiarities of the town.
Dover has been a military town due to its strategic location, so there's a lot of related relics to see and some of which you would miss if you just took the bus up to the hill.

fuelling up

Usually people stop for refreshments after they've done the climb.  Not me.  I fuel up before instead. Especially when going up a hill such as the one Dover Castle sits on.
My friend and I were the only ones in this lovely cafe.  The refreshments weren't the best, but the whole place was really kind of charming.  Perhaps it was the eerie emptiness that gave it its charm.

dock your boats at the marina

This is why I'm going to be a millionaire one day.  I'm going to have one of these boats, sail along the channel to and from the mainland and moor my boat here at the Dover Marina while I catch an Earl Grey and cucumber sandwich under the shade of the cliffs.
To quote Pharaoh Ramses II, ' let it be written.  So let it be done.'

the white lighthouses of dover

My favourite lighthouses are probably on the coasts of Spain.  Having said that, the UK has some of the worlds most exquisite lighthouses in the world. Worldwide Lighthouses has all the information you may need if you're interested.
These are the Dover Breakwater lighthouses.  People seem to be fond of fishing around them.  I've never truly understood recreational fishing to be honest.  I mean, yes fishing in a remote lake somewhere peaceful and serene - I get that; the calm, the peace.  Fishing on a busy pier though?  

white cliffs and brown stones

The beach in Dover was the first stoney beach I'd ever seen.  I still remember how confused I was during my first experience of it.  It was similar to the first time I saw snow - which was also in Kent back when it used to snow properly. Prior to that, I was used to white sandy beaches, and brown stone cliffs. So you can imagine the disorientation I felt :)

the oldest pub in dover

The church is in ruins, but the pub stands - a testament to which 'spirit' the Brits hold more dear :)

It got it's name in 1818 but the building itself started life as the dwelling for the Churchwarden of the adjacent St James Church in 1365!  Yes it has probably gone through countless renovations since during the time of Edward III, but what an old building indeed.

It's also been the residence of Dover's 'ale taster' [a much coveted job I can imagine].  It's been bizarrely called 'City of Edinburgh'.

Read all about it at the Dover Society website.

looking up in dover

Ah. Dover!
This town holds a special place in my heart.  When I first came to England back in the day, I lived in Canterbury - 'The Garden of England' - which is slightly north-west of Dover.  It was my first 'getaway' trip ever in the country.  Since then, I've been there a total of 4 times, which is quite surprising as each time reminds me how much I loved it the previous time.  It's not so far from London, so one would think I'd visit more often.
The town apparently derives it's name from River Dour [if when you pronounce it, you can see how, considering the way languages morph over the centuries].  It has been inhabited since way back in the stone ages.  This is no surprise of course as it is the closest point to France and mainland Europe generally, so contrary to what many people may think, it has been the most popular point of immigration for millennia unto the British Isles. 
The British Isles, or 'Albion' as it would have been known ba…

like a dead end

Some times the path ahead resembles a dead end and one is tempted to do a 180. I've seen enough of these however to know that things are not always as they seem.  Besides, one should reach the end to see if it is truly dead, or the birth of a new path.

venice city of romance

Unlike many 'romantic' hotspots in Europe, Venice has actually kept it's romantic essence despite the hoards of tourists that head there every year. 
Here are some of your romantic options :)
1. Go to Punta della Dogana.  You can just sit there together taking in this view of San Giorgio Maggiore. 

2. Walk to the Rialto Bridge through the shops, cafes and back streets.  Look up often to appreciate romantic historic structures.  Masks, Canals, Bridges,  Glass, Lace, amazing. 

3. If you don't want to walk, let Fabio, Marco, Antonio or any other such sleek Italiano zoom you off in one of these awesome water taxis.

4. Have an early lunch in the shadow of said Rialto Bridge and experience la dolce vita.

5. Let your lunch settle in your bellies as you ride in a gondola on the Grand Canal.  [Actually, you may also want to take a gondola through the narrower canals for real romance].  Some of the gondoliers will even sing to you. Take the ride all the way to the Piazza San Ma…