Got up and had a beautiful English Breakfast of eggs, bacon, tomato, ham, bread, mushrooms, and sausage, served with OJ and English tea – all served on pink linens – quite a show! We had a laugh with an older couple from North England who asked about my travels. “So it sounds like you prefer urban to rural environments?” “Yeah I think so, though we came out here to Dover to experience a rural part of the country.” I replied. “This!? Rural!? Hahahahaha!!! We come from a town of 80 people!”
Laura and I dropped off our bags and walked up to the stunning Dover Castle, perched powerfully over the rest of the town. For 3-4 hours we explored the castle, but could have easily spent an entire day.
The castle was built in ~1180, and for over ~800 years was constantly transformed to fit British needs through the Cold War. Initially built by Henry II, it traded a bit of function for form. While it wasn’t as strong militarily as some other castles of the day, it was built in a style to bring up thoughts of old power and prestige – important characteristics to the king who used the castle to show off for important guests and display his lavish wealth. The castle eventually transitioned into more of a defensive stronghold, and expanded during wars of the 1600’s and 1700’s. In WWI and WWII they used the 2-3+ miles of tunnels built into the white cliffs as barracks and a hospital. In the 1980’s it was the proposed location of a makeshift government in the event of nuclear war. Wild stuff.
We explored the grounds, inside of the tower where the king showed off to other nobility, and the top of the castle. The views of Dover below were great.
Gravity pulled us down the hill where we got our bags and managed to catch the bus to the train station just moments before it left, and then only waited 5 minutes for the train back to London. Yesterday Laura and I discussed theater shows – I was a big fan of the 3 Broadway shows I’d seen, and she could rarely find anyone interested in going to any shows in London. We stopped by the London TKTS booth and got some great seats to see Kinky Boots the musical for 35% off.
I knew the story and liked the movie when I saw it ~10 years ago, and had heard the play was great too. Laura wanted to see it, but until we were walking to the theater I was unaware that she knew nothing about the story – only that a friend she trusted said it was good. For fun I asked her to make up a plot for the story. Needless to say it was a bit different than the play (which ended up being great!)
One late night subway ride later and it was time for bed. Last day in London tomorrow!