Saturday, October 9, 2010

"The Key to England"

Dover Castle on a foggy morning

Cooking in the Castle Castle Feast

Dover Castle

It's 3 am, and I decided to start writing this blog about Dover because I can't sit and stare at facebook any longer! I woke up about 2 because there were loud drums coming down the road. Why in the world were people doing this at this time..I have no idea! I still don't fully understand the Brits yet.
Well we took a trip with all of the other study abroad students to Dover Castle Friday. It was about 45 minutes away from Canterbury on the coast. Our morning ride over to Dover was so foggy. We all thought it would be another rainy cold day in England. My first view of the castle was this foggy spooky looking old castle. I thought for sure that it was haunted. I was pretty much in awe the entire day though, even from the beginning. Dover is named the "Key to England" It's because this castle and the war tunnels were used in many different time periods, from the iron age, napoleon, and the world wars. I had to write a paper about all of this so I kinda know more than I would have ever expected to want to know about Dover and Dover Castle. Well, the first thing we did was our tour through the secret war tunnels. These were all located under the White Cliffs that Dover is famous for. These were mainly used during World War II as a hidden communication system, housing and underground hospital. We weren't allowed to take pictures in the tunnels, but I was lucky enough to snap a quick shot of us entering. The tunnels were so dark and damp. It felt so much like a haunted tour. I can't believe that these were so important and used back in World War II. The hospital beds were still there, and the bunk beds for housing. The most interesting room was the telecommunications like room. It was where the women worked all day and all night locating who was coming up the coast, and what was happening in the invasion of Europe. We learned that the Castle and tunnels were never bombed or harmed during this time, although at some times people did know about them.
When we exited the tunnels. It was free time to walk around for the rest of the day. We were so lucky that it was a pretty day and the sun was out, there aren't many days in England that are like that. A few of us climbed a huge hill and ate on top and looked out among the English Channel. It was gorgeous. We could see for miles. The grass here is so fertile and green, and that's what makes the view so spectatular. After we ate we just started walking. This place was so big, we had no idea where to start. One of the first things we saw was a lookout building that they used during the wars too. It was a little small building, but I'm sure played a very important part. There were little windows that when you looked out it was a perfect scan of the horizon.
After we left the lookout building we started to walk towards the main gates of the Castle. At an instant I was shocked! It was so big and amazing. This is actually something I have never seen in my lifetime. A real castle is something all little girls dream about, and I started thinking back to when I was little and would play princess and all. It took us all day to walk around the entire castle. The castle tower was probably one of the coolest things. We went inside and I'm sure we were in there 2 or 2 and half hours max. There were so many stairs and different passage ways to take. We would randomly pick one and start walking up. Rooms in the castle were decorated in cute little cartoonish but real like rooms. There were little beds that were made as queen beds. There was a great feast table, and kings chair. There was an entire kitchen like area, where fake hams were hung up, and wheat bowl. We played around like we were kids in a make believe world. It definately felt like that. I loved it. When we got to the top of the Castle the view was amazing. This was the prettiest view I have had of England so far on this trip! I could see sheep grazing in the rich green fields, the English Channel with waving waves, and the white cliffs of Dover. Standing on top I definately realized how big the castle actually was.
Going to Dover Castle and the Secret War tunnels is one of the best places I have seen so far on this England trip. I reccomend anyone who goes to England to come here, and not miss out in seeing the "Key to England"

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