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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Dover and Sandwich

The first Saturday after I was back from Canada, Kate and I got the hell outta London and took a day-trip we'd been talking about for a few months: Dover and Sandwich.

Really, this started when one or the other of us (probably me, because Kate's not this dumb) said: "I really want to have a sandwich in Sandwich." And then we realized that they were on the same line (if only it were really that simple) so we decided to go.

It took us nearly three hours to get to Dover because some of the train tunnels are closed for construction (renovations?) so we had to take a bus part of the way. Amazing, that I could get to Paris in the same amount of time as Dover.

Anyways. Dover is boring. No, that's not true. Not entirely. It's just kind of scuzzy. It's not a tourist town--there's a lot of old people, so maybe it's where old people go to relax?--but there's the ocean, and seagulls and the white cliffs and a castle, so there is enough to keep you going for a day.

When we first arrived, we went into the train station and asked one of the tellers for directions how to get to the ocean. John, as that's what his name is, talked to us for quite a while, telling us what sites to see, telling us about a boat ride up to the cliffs that his buddy runs, and telling us funny jokes about names in the area. At one point John told us about another funny-named town nearby to Sandwich (which is also his hometown). He pulled out a card, and wrote the two town names on it, and then held it up to the window. It read:

Hee hee. Anyways. He was full of useful information, which is good because he's also the tourist commissioner and the deputy mayor of Dover. (He gave me his card.) And he works at the train station, selling tickets. Excellent.

So we walked down to the ocean. On the way, however, Kate noticed that Dover is a bit trashy; indeed, the people are also a bit trashy... ugly clothes, bad hair, tattoos and generally scuzzy. Forget the White Cliffs of Dover... It's the White Trash of Dover!

Dover, as I thought and Kate articulated, Dover=Delaware. As in, "Hi, we're in Dover," a la Wayne's World. (The movie Natalie's finally watched!)

After finding the ocean, we looked for a restaurant. Ok, most seaside places, touristy or not, feature a choice of restaurants on the ocean-front, even if they are just fish and chip takeaways (which is what I wanted anyways). But no, not in Dover. We walked forever into town before finding a few crappy cafes and a shitty pub that Kate was scared to get closer to: "I just know it smells like old sponges." Eventually, we found a B&B with a restaurant.

After eating massive sandwiches and drinking bottled beer, we went on a boat ride under the white cliffs. Okay, it was a bit lame, but I was happy just to be on the water. I love boats.

Then, we walked up a steep and tall hill to the castle, aptly named Dover Castle. This is a pretty cool place, and I think we would have had more fun if we'd been less tired (I couldn't sleep the night before thanks to jetlaggedness). It has underground tunnels from both the Naploeonic Wars and WW2 (apparently not WW1, tho?) and I'm a big fan of tunnels. There was lots of old buildings (I think I'm getting old-building-weary, just in time for Mel/Meru/Tony's visit, which is good, as Tony doesn't want to see any old buildings... which might be tough.) But there was a Saxon lighthouse from 50AD and a Norman church from 1000AD that were pretty cool, and even better, we played frisbee next to them. And, I got to make a "Saxon, Saxoff" joke, which made me laugh.

Then we left. John's promise that one could spend days in Dover without getting bored was a lie. We took the train from Dover to Sandwich. Sandwich is gorgeous. All we did was eat and walk around (and have extremely one-sided conversations, as Kate lost her voice--I started telling her random wedding stories and Tony's slaughterhouse stories just for something to say). All the doors in Sandwich are brightly or boldly painted, with wicked door knockers, shaped like fish or dragons or hands. The town also has a canal-thingy, that used to be an open sewer system, but is now disused and purely asthetic. There were also some pretty good street names. My favourites were Bowling Lane and Knightrider Road (or something.)

And yes: we had sandwiches. Tuna ones.

We had to catch the train back to Dover to get home, so we hung out at the train station for a bit. Then the train pulled up. It was seriously old-school; no buttons to open the doors on this thing, but handles. And, it was drenched in dirt, and the inside had lots of metal grills and weird looking over-head compartments. And the driver: he was skeletal looking. This was one scary looking train. Part way between Sandwich and Dover, tree branches got stuck in one of the open windows and made a funny noise, and Kate and I both jumped. It was seriously creepy.

Anyways. That was Dover and Sandwich.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind seeing at least one old building during our trip. You can wait outside, I'm sure I'll be quick (we can leave Tony in the Mac Store) and later we can play frisbee.



Blogger Nicole said...

Actually, It's impossible to be in London (and England, I'd assume) without seeing old buildings. Unless we gouge his eyes out, it'll have to happen. Anyways, the Apple Store is on Regent Street, which means the building it is in was put up in the early 1900s. So it's really unavoidable, you see...



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