Monday, December 2, 2013
Backing up again, to the week just before Halloween, I took a midweek day trip to Dover Castle. As a new owner of a bright and shiny English Heritage Pass, I thought I'd break it in by taking it to the most expensive attraction on the map. This was my second time in Dover, the first being the third day of my trip when I had to leave the country and flee to France. This trip I had a little more of a leisurely walk through town, which isn't my favorite to be honest, but still has some pretty bits. I stopped at the library and picked up two new Alexander McCall Smith books, and made my slow plodding way up the hilariously steep hill to the castle. I was panting, sweating, and about as gross as you could get. I actually laughed out loud when I'd made it about halfway up and turned the corner to see the longest staircase in the world. Thank you, thighs. You did a noble service that day.
The first thing I did when I arrived was wait in a queue for about an hour, because as luck would have it, I was visiting the most popular English Heritage site during half term, so all the families were out and about. I did enjoy observing these British children and their fashion statements, and that kept me busy as I waited. There was one mother in particular who seemed to be having an ongoing argument with her own mother, and she made use of the time by telling her friend about the incident in great detail. So although I'm now privy to her family secrets, I'll keep them to myself, and keep all of you in suspense. This line was just outside the sign in the third picture, and was for the WWII tunnels that snake all the way around and through the huge cliff that Dover Castle is built on. It was a very interesting tour and had a lot of multimedia elements added in to just seeing the tunnels. So I enjoyed it, but what I was most looking forward to was the castle itself and the Halloween events that were meant to be taking place that week.
Up another ridiculously steep incline, I found myself at the castle. Being privileged enough to have already visited several castles by this point, I found it to be pretty similar in its medieval re-creations and areas for the kiddos. But the view from the top of the tower was magnificent, and I got to see France again since it was such a clear day. In the fifth picture—that little strip of land—that's France. I still haven't gotten to take the typical walk over the white cliffs, but I've seen them from a couple of angles now, and I love them just as much as I always thought I would.
I found one of the ghost tours on my way out, and was treated to the sight of lots of families and children dressed up in Halloween costumes. The stories had a fun theatrical flair, but were mostly aimed at children so these did not succeed in scaring me. The Medieval Tunnels, on the other hand, were plenty creepy. I didn't know they existed until I checked the map of other places to visit at the top of the hill, and I made my way down into the darkness. Some parts of them were genuinely pitch black and would have been easy to lose yourself in. Dads were running around and trying to scare their teenagers, so screams echoed around the tunnels no matter where you went.
The last sight I tucked in before I made for my train was the ancient Roman lighthouse and the Medieval church that stand side by side. Both were really lovely in their own way. I felt chock full of information and beautiful sights by the time I left. All in all, a successful day!