To complete Adelle & Katie’s Excellent Adventure that Became a Bit Bogus we caught the bus to Dover on a fairly cold Monday morning, after a pre-9 walk to St Augustine’s Abbey (closed, but we saw it through the fence) and the Westgate of Canterbury. As soon as we left Canterbury town, we began to see evidence of just how cold it had been – rolling hills dusted in white!
Arrival in Dover was icy, snow drifts were everywhere and the paths were slippery with ice. Anticipation loomed, as it does when you can glimpse a castle on the hill, so we checked with a lovely man in the tourist office who assured us the Castle was open and to maybe not try and walk along the Cliffs today, it was just a bit too icy. So, after leaving our bags with a kindly Pub Owner, we walked to the Princes Pier to get a good view of those White Cliffs before the sun disappeared behind the thick clouds. The White Cliffs of Dover are every bit as enigmatic as the many song homages maintain. Mysterious, craggy, towering, white – how much I would like to explore them one day! ignore the various industrial stuff at the base… it’s the best we could do without getting stranded or killed. We walked past the spot where the swimmers Start/Finish their swim across the Channel – and on a day like that, it seems a very foolhardy thing to do!
Back into town for coffee & cake then up we hiked to the Castle. When we got to the gate however, one of those dun-dun-dun noises should have played – the Castle was closed due to heavy snow. We took the news with disappointment, but rallied and built a little snowman out of the sticky snow – we named him Engelbert, because it sounds Saxonish and he had a particular charm about him, including his leaf hat. Down we trudged back to the town, a little unsure about what to do now that the main point of our visit had been closed off. We found some church ruins, of the oldest church in Dover, it had been destroyed in the war, all that was left were crumbling walls and the altar. I spotted a sign that pointed towards the ‘Bronze Age Boat’ and so we went.
The boat is displayed at the museum in the middle of town and this is where we spent a few hours, wandering the Saxon & Roman exhibits before finding the Bronze Age treasure. The Boat is the oldest sea-worthy vessel ever found and that fact in itself is extraordinary. It was found during some road works and quickly excavated, and then submerged again to preserve what was left. soaked in a special solution, the boat was then freeze-dried, studied then put on display. I can imagine that Those in Charge put up quite a fuss to have the Boat stay in Dover – it would have made a fantastic addition to the BM…
It is extraordinary – It looks just like an old boat from 50 years, except that this one was built when the Ancient Egyptian empire was flourishing. It is held together with rope & wooden nails – and it has survived under the mud of Dover for thousands of years.
After the museum, we wandered in search of other amusement, but the Roman Painted House is closed during the cold months, and there did not seem to be much else to do on a cold, icy day such as this was one was. So we made our way to the pub that was holding our bags, had a pint and then got the bus back to London. Where snow had not fallen yet.