Dover UK 2009 BellaOnline Gathering
Sunday morning Gillian, Tracie and I met up in the front lobby. It appeared it would be just us three for the day, and we had a fairly tight timetable. Tracie had to be back at the ferry by about noon to be able to get her ride across to her car, and start the long drive home. Then Gillian and I would make our way to the train station to take our own long ride back to London.
Sunday - Dover Castle, Train to London
First, breakfast. We walked the now familiar route into town and took an outside table at the same little restaurant we'd eaten at yesterday. The breakfast was lovely and filling. Then we walked down the street to the taxi station and waited in their little lobby while we waited for a cab to come get us. It was maybe 10 minutes before the taxi arrived and we piled in. It was a long, steep drive up to Dover castle, and the cabbie agreed to come back and pick us up in a few hours.
It turns out the entire keep was CLOSED completely for renovations! So there was no way to go inside the castle. However, the WW2 tunnels were open and a tour was starting soon. So we paid our admission fee and walked in. The keep complex is huge and very impressive. We only walked along a very small portion of the wall and even so we saw a lot. Soon it was time to go to the tunnel tour.
We weren't allowed to take photos inside the tunnel system but I did record the audio program which I'll load up soon. First we saw a little video about WW2 and how they began using the tunnels for wartime organization. These tunnels had existed since Roman days but had been widened and extended over the years. In fact even now there are tunnels under the castle that are unexplored for safety reasons. After the movie we began the tour.
The had an audio program that made it seem like we were down there during the war, with background discussion of things going on. They would talk about "not revealing secrets because the walls have ears." They were very worried about German spies. The tour was really quite interesting. Then when we were done we had time for some tea before the taxi came.
We got down to the main ticket office right on time and the taxi was there waiting for us. He took us back to the hotel, and Gillian and I got out here. Tracie got her bags and we wished her good luck! Then she was off to get to her ferry.
Gillian and I walked into town to the bronze age boat museum. It was great! There were four floors with all sorts of artifacts including the ancient boat. I enjoyed that a lot. Then went on to the painted house museum. It was closed! Their volunteer staff member was out sick. It figures!
It was now lunchtime so Gillian and I went back into town to look for a restaurant. Most places were closed, so we finally ate outside at one of the pubs. They had good pub fare food. I had to order inside at the bar, and they brought the food out to us when it was ready. Once we finished lunch we went back to the hotel, gathered our things and had a taxi come take us to the train station.
Gillian already had a pass so I got a one way ticket in to London and we took our luggage up and over the platform - luckily they had elevators - and the train was already there waiting for us. So we tucked our bags into the side area where the doors wouldn't be opening, and took a seat at a pair of benches by a table. The train didn't fill up much so we had the table to ourselves. In short order a man was waving a circle-paddle and the train was off!
It was a lovely train ride, lots of pretty vistas out the windows. I took a lot of photos. Finally we pulled into the main station and got off the train into the crowd of people.
We had to go up stairs, down stairs, and buy more tokens (which Gillian nicely did for me as I undoubtedly would have gotten the completely wrong token!) and down some more stairs to the subway platform. I was beginning to regret stairs with my heavy luggage :) Gillian kept me from getting onto the wrong subway and eventually our car came along. It was packed. We had to stand balancing our luggage as we went from stop to stop. Eventually we got to our stop, muscled our way out, lugged the luggage up to street level and we were almost there!
We went up and down streets and eventually got to the street that both her apartment and my hotel were on. It was a long row of all-the-same house fronts all connected together. I dropped her off at her apartment, then went a block down and there I was. Finally, it had been a long day!
Unfortunately the people in front of me in line were REALLY slow. Eventually I got to the desk, checked in, and was given my room number. I headed to the elevator.
I got up to the second floor and went down the aisle. I didn't find my room number! I went down it again. Finally I looked down a side corridor that had a long flight of stairs down. They literally went down to my room and nowhere else! Talk about bizarre, and tiring :) I began lugging my bags down one at a time and got them all in the room. Then I called Bob to let him know I'd made it this far safely.
After resting a short while I walked down to Gillian's apartment, and we headed out to dinner. She had a favorite Italian restaurant a short walk away. It was quite lovely! They had great food. Then we were done with dinner, I dropped Gillian off at her house, and headed back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep.
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Dover UK / Champagne FR Trip
Lisa's 2009 Travelogues Main Page
Lisa's Travelogues Main Page