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: Dover Castle

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:
Dover 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):
Church and Roman Lighthouse

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:
top of the keep

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 underground.

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:
Danger Guns

Whatever you do, don't throw arrows off the cliff at sunbathers:
Sunbather Sign

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.
White Cliffs of Dover

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