Day 5 - Dover and Canterbury
15 July 2007 - Sunday
Woke up early and grabbed breakfast in the basement of the hostel.
Kristina had woken much earlier and got an early-morning tour
of London without tourists.
We caught the tube to Victoria Station, which is harder than it
sounds because the Victoria line was closed due to construction and
we had to take the less-direct Circle line. There were also difficulties
getting train tickets in a timely manner, but eventually we were on a
train going in the right direction.
Our train car kept telling us its designation was "10 of 12", causing
us to wonder if it had been assimilated by the Borg.
We arrived in Dover. The castle is on a hill overlooking the city:
We hiked up the hill to
Dover Castle. The walls along the path, as well
as many of the buildings in the area, are studded with black flint stones.
At the top of the hill was the castle:
We went in and walked around. Here is a trebuchet:
They were having a falconry demonstration while we were there. If you
look carefully you can see the falcon in this picture:
It rained briefly, but thankfully it did not last long.
Inside the castle walls you can see an old Saxon church, and an even older
Roman lighthouse (both in the upper right in this picture):
We went to a few of the exhibits they had there. In the Princess of Wales'
Royal Regiment Museum they showed all of the wars in British history.
Of the American Revolution, they lamented that England had "won
all the battles yet lost the war".
We went inside the castle keep, which was really neat. We eventually
got to the top:
My favorite part about our visit to the castle was the tour of the
underground tunnels. Starting in Napoleonic times,
tunnels have been carved from the chalk beneath the castle.
During WWII these tunnels were enlarged
and several important military operations, including the evacuation from
Dunkirk, were planned there. It was only relatively recently that
the tunnels were declassified and made open to the public.
Only so many tunnel tours run during the day, and while we were at
the very top of the keep we suddenly realized it was almost time for
our tour, so we had to quickly navigate the maze-like interior
in order to get there on time. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed
The castle had seen nearly constant military use for over 1000 years,
which impressed us. Here are some guns from a more recent time period:
Whatever you do, don't throw arrows off the cliff at sunbathers:
And here they are, the famous white cliffs of Dover! France is out
there across the English Channel somewhere, but it was too hazy to see.
Down below is the ferry port if you do want to go to France.
It was starting to get late, so we bought some excessively
expensive ice cream and then walked back to town to catch the
train to Canterbury.
Continue Day 5 in Canterbury