Saturday, July 22, 2017
Over in Dover
Over in Dover
For some, it was over in Dover, and many of our travel companions including Sharon and Peter left us to start the next phase of their holiday.
We debarked early and chose to walk into the city centre which probably takes around 30 minutes. There is a Cruise Terminal shuttle, and for around 8 pounds you can get an all-day pass that will take you the town centre as well as Dover Castle and the White Cliffs. Taxis are also available if you would like to visit Canterbury or Leeds Castle. I believe that the local buses work well too.
Our first mission for the morning was to find a barber for Garry. Nothing opened till 9am, so we stopped at the Eight Bells pub, chosen for its traditional appearance. For us it was coffee, but for others, it seems never too early to consume a pint or two.
The main plan for the day was to visit Dover Castle. Following our trusty map we made the trek up the hill. With burning calves, we climbed the last of the steep steps only to find we were only half way there. Not opening till ten, we had a little wait until we could purchase our tickets and continue up the hill.
It was during the time of Henry II that Dover Castle started to take shape. The Great Tower takes pride of place and many rooms have been recreated as they would have appeared in Henry’s time. You weave your way in and out of each of the rooms and continue climbing the spiral stairs that lead you to the roof top. There you are rewarded with sweeping panoramic views of Dover and the harbour, or so I have heard. It seems that the minute we reached the top the fog rolled in. A thick pea soup which left us with a visibility of nearly zero. Damn that was a long walk up….
Damn, Damn, Damn, it had cleared by the time we finished our cream tea in the café, but there was no way we were making that climb back up..
Not only strategic during Medieval times, Dover played a big part during the first and second world wars. The Secret war tunnels just below the castle are also very popular with tourists. There are two tunnels that can be explored, as much as we would have loved to have done both, the two hours wait in potential rain was not an option, so by choosing the shortest line we explored the Underground Hospital.
Small groups are taken through every 30 minutes. They are conducted as a light and sound show, giving you the same feeling as those who worked there would have experienced. As you walked deeper into the tunnel the air became cooler and mustier. The dim lights flickered with the muffled sounds of bombs dropping in the distance. The voices around us re-enacted a young injured pilot being rushed in, and we followed him through triage and straight into the operating theatre. We walked through kitchens, bathrooms, wards and dormitories, where people worked and lived without seeing the light of day. For us it was only half an hour for them it would have been weeks or months.
Following our tracks back down the hill we stopped for a drink at The White Horse. Now my booklet says, “Dover’s Oldest Pub on the route to Dover Castle”. Hmm with the lack of punctuation does that mean it is the oldest pub in Dover, or just the oldest pub on the way to the castle…. Regardless it was very nice and if we hadn’t had that cream tea we would have indulged in the fish and chips.
We have been to Dover several times before, and although the Cliffs were tempting, we decided not to walk up there again, but just wandered the streets.
On our return, we grabbed our laptops and made the most of the excellent wifi in the terminal building. We completed all our updates, downloaded all our emails and caught up with all the goings on with our facebook family, then headed back onto the ship and our traditional sail away drinks.
PS those who watched outlander… check out the picture of the British officers, doesn’t one look familiar….handled.