It’s already been four weeks since we posted a blog?! Time had never flown by as fast as it does here in London. It’s been a busy month of getting into routines–Zach started off the new school year at the American School in London, is taking swimming and piano lessons, I started working at the Embassy (part-time) , and Ray continues his love affair with the local Hopper bus and Underground Tube…. London has really started to feel like home!
As there is so much to do both locally and out of the city, we really have to plan our weekends wisely. Yesterday was a gorgeous Autumn day, bright shining sun, and temps in low 70’s. In fact, it was a “Let’s Go Explore a Castle” kind of day. So we hopped in our car and off to Dover we went. As we drove an hour THROUGH London just to start heading East, we quickly realized that the route we were taking on the way to Dover, was NOT going to be the route we would be taking on the way home. What took near three hours to get to Eastern England going through the city, took only1hour and 45 min on the way home taking the ring road(which is equivalent to the Washington beltway). THIS White house learns fast 😉
Dover Castle spectacularly sits atop the famous ‘White Cliffs’ of Dover. This one’s a GIANT–in size and in history. The bulk of the castle dates back to being an Iron Age hill fort from circa 1000AD. In the years following, King Henry the II built the Medieval Fortress designed for royal ceremony and to house his traveling court. The great square tower, stands 83 feet tall in the center of it all and commands beautiful views across the Straight from the atop the Keep. (Yesterday was so clear, we could see Cailles, France– only 17 miles away. (the shortest seas crossing between England and the continent) Zach explored the Roman lighthouse on the grounds as well, one of the best preserved in Europe.
The most impressive part of the day to me however, was the exploration and guided tour of the secret war-room tunnels, a maze of underground tunnels, deep beneath the castle, used during WWII. It was in these tunnels that the evacuation of 338,000 British and French troops from the shores of Dunkirk, France to Dover, England was planned. (codenamed “Operation Dynamo”) With original footage from news-reels and recordings and testimonies from veterans, the interactive experience was gripping. Imagine if Vice Admiral Ramsay had not pulled off this great organizational feat? Perhaps it would have changed the history books forever!
We finished up the day by driving over to the famous White Cliffs and taking a little stroll along the path’s edge. Had we had more time (and energy) there was a two mile walk along the cliffs leading to a tea room on the hill. We’ll save that for another time, as the gentleman in the parking lot warned us that if we weren’t out by 7pm that we would be locked within the gates for the night–no kidding!
Until then, The Righteous Brothers say it best when they sing, “They’ll be bluebirds over The White Cliffs of Dover– tomorrow just you wait and see.”