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Published: July 14th 2018
One of many designs. You stood at the end of the cement in front with a boom and a listening device (before microphones), and listened for the engines of planes from Europe.
Days 13, 14 and 15 - A Driving Tour of (part of) Kent
When planning our summer, everyone had some ideas of what they wanted to do. One area that appealed to everyone was the Southeast area of England. Tony put together a general list of places to visit and we set off by train on Saturday to Ashford to rent a car. Much easier than renting in London and trying to drive out.
Our first stop was the sound mirrors near New Romney. They were used during WWI to track aircraft flying over the channel from France. They were the preceding technology to RADAR and were pretty successful while they were being used. The access to the site is only open two days a year and we happened to be able to catch one. The tour guide was very informative and the information was fascinating. The 1.5 mile hike to the mirrors was a pretty good workout, too.
After the hike we drove to Dover for a night in a Guest House and to see the Roman Ruins and Dover Castle. The Dover Museum has a great exhibit
Yep. In the Southwark station, caught a glimpse of home.
on the Roman era in Dover and also has a special exhibit of a Bronze Age boat found near Dover in 1992. We were also able to see an excavation of a Roman house that still had some surviving painted plaster. The whole site was covered over with a big building so that it could be preserved and worked on. They also had the remains of a prehistoric hippopotamus that was found near the Dover River. Downtown Dover is going through a downturn, however, and many shops are closed. We recommend you don't stay out too late.
The next morning we headed up the hill to Dover Castle. The site of the Castle was used as a roman fort, a palace for kings and a military post over the years. We took a tour of the secret tunnels that were used to plan the Dunkirk Evacuations, and later setup as fallout shelters for the regional government. They had set up a very nice tour and presentation that gave you a feeling of what it was like leading up to the Dunkirk rescue. We then visited an ancient Roman pharos, or lighthouse, at the top of the
I have a solid lead that there might be flooding the basement.
site. It was one of a pair that sat on the cliffs on either side of Dover harbor. From the wall around the lighthouse we could see all the way to Calais (as in France). France is so close to Dover, that Booking.com suggested some hotels in Calais as alternative lodging.
The lighthouse was next to an old church that had been restored in the late 1800s and is still used for services by the military stationed at Dover Castle. After taking a look around the church we explored the castle proper. It was set up as it was during the time of King Henry II. We had a great time exploring from bottom to top and through all the nooks and crannies.
From Dover we headed up the coast to explore another castle, Deal. Deal is set up right on the coast and was part of a network of three castles and four forts that protected the coastline. It has a distinctive clover shape. The bailey was open so we were able to explore the lowest levels (that often flood) and the moat. Michelle and Tony had a great time running
Well, it was a bit squishy. There were Wellies in the castle for when it is really wet.
(literally) around in the bottom level. Tony’s mom says that he used to do the same thing when he was a child, in that very same castle!
After Deal we were castled out and decided to head to Canterbury. We were hungry, so we looked for a town along the way. Tony saw a town called Sandwich, and joked that we should go find a place to eat a sandwich, in Sandwich. (Silly Americans). Tony’s mom says that, when he was 7, Tony also convinced his family to go to Sandwich, for exactly the same reason. During neither trip, however, did Tony actually eat a sandwich, in Sandwitch.
As it turns out, Sandwich was hosting their annual Folk and Ale Festival. We found a place to park and started to tour the festival. There were plenty of folk dancers and singers, crafters, and food booths. Anne asked one craft booth owner about the festival and she replied that “it’s the boozy one”. Apparently folk dancing is thirsty work. We decided that we had gone far enough for the day and instead of pushing on to Canterbury, we would find a good B&B
In the Dover Cliffs
A section in the Dover cliffs at the end of the Secret Tunnels.
and stay the night. It was not a hard search. After quickly checking Booking.com, tony only had to look up from his phone (literally) to the white building next to the Church we were visiting to find an available Bed and Breakfast. The owner was out when we called, but quickly came back and made up our room. St James Bed and Breakfast was extremely pleasant, with a small steep staircase, super skinny hallways, a pleasant garden, and big comfortable beds. We are thinking of staying there overnight next summer before boarding a cruise leaving from Dover.
Sandwich was lovely and Tony said it looked like an English village should. We walked along the river and found a newly opened pizza restaurant that came highly recommended by more than one town resident. We decided to take the long way back via one of the dozens of walking paths that cross through town. We went a short ways onto a trek path which goes out into the countryside. Apparently, Sandwich lies on the path of the Ancient Roman road between Dover and Canterbury, and on to London. Michelle says it would be fun to walk from town
Old and Older
Roman lighthouse along with an old Church (rebuilt)
to town, and stay at Inns along the way. Tony Agrees.
Monday’s return to London was uneventful and Tony hurried off to Shoreditch to finish his last days at the office. Anne and Michelle did more laundry and took it easy in preparation for a trip to Liverpool tomorrow.
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