35. Diary Entry: Dover, St.Margretts Cliffs

Today we went to our starting point in the south of England, Dover. There we had two choices. Seeing the impressive Dover castle or going on a hike along the white cliffs. Unfortunately we could not see both, because that what i wanted to do. But in the end i decided to go on a little nice hike with a small group of about 12 people. We were stepping along a road with almost no walkway. Also, i still had problems with the left-driving situation so i did not know exactly when i should jump into the muddy edge of the road. But soon we went on the real path from where you could see the Channel, the port of Dover and the magnificent castle above all of that. We followed the footpath into the countryside and soon we were confronted with the numerous shit, which the cows seem to place deliberately on the path instead of the other hundreds of acres available.

Much more frustrating was that even there, away from any house or shop, garbage was laying on the ground. The remains of what was a fast food meal scattered over the green grass. But i decided not to get moody but enjoying the rest of the day. The path along the white cliffs is not a straight one. It goes uphill, then downhill, then up again and so on and on. The way was not directly at the edge of the cliffs, that would be far to dangerous, but some fifty meters away in safety. From time to time you could get very close to the abyss. If you wanted to look down it is recommended to crawl at the edge. Not only is it a quite long way down to the sea, but sometimes there are also some parts of the cliff falling into the abyss. There were some opportunities to get down at the so called beach, but we did not have the time to do that, so i had to wait to do a little bit of swimming. All the time i had to think of Asterix in Britain, in which the Romans sailing towards the white cliffs and starting their invasion, while two Englishman standing on top and just saying: Let us welcome the Romans on our green lawn. I do not know for a fact, that the Roman soldiers climbed the cliffs, but if they did it was a poor choice, as there are some more plane landing possibilities. Like the beach in Broadstairs, where the Vikings set foot on English soil.

Then we arrived at St. Margret’s at cliffe, where we rested for a little while. There was a beach with a great range of interesting stones. So i took a few with me for my stone garden. It is an international stone garden, consisting of minerals and some rare stones which i found on my trips abroad, also including some gifts of friends which know of this habit. Especially the stone which have a consistent hole gained my attention. It is believed that these stones are bringing luck, plus they are pretty cool looking. After dipping my foots into the Channel and a few more kilograms heavier we continued our way upstairs the cliff, along some fancy houses. I was wandering how long these houses will stay if the cliffs are wandering into the land because of the erosion, which take part for part of everything which is coming in contact with water. The force of nature is strong and will take back the world. But this will happen in a long time, when we will be long gone. Till then we try to use this power to mankind’s advantage. On the horizon we could see a giant off-shore park of wind turbines, which i never saw before. I did not know what i should think of this. On one hand it produces clean energy, but on the other hand it does not look nice, rather impressive but nevertheless ugly. Well, better than a nuclear power plant, i guess.

Shortly after we passed a golf course, which was pretty skewed. Apparently it was still playable, because there were some golfers bashing balls up the hill. Again down the cliffs we arrived at Deal, our final destination. First i thought that this hike was not as long as i expected. Little did i know that Deal was pretty stretched and it was still four kilometre along the promenade, which seems to be highly frequented by dog owners and joggers. Every fifty metre there was a bank with gravures of epitaphs. After walking past numerous of these banks we walked past the Deal castle, which did not look anything like a castle. More than a defensive position for canons. Since i had nothing to eat all day long i was searching for a little bite. On the main shopping road of Deal a few fellow students and me were discovering a man, which had some kind of colourful bird on his head. I do not think that this was a parrot like the pirates used to have sitting on their shoulders. Later the bird was wandering along his glasses. Pretty neat. A little later the Dover castle group arrived as well. They were amazed about the castle, which made me a little bit jealous that i could not be there too. But i am pretty sure it was the right decision to come on the walk. The air, the landscape, the minutes of silent and reflection was worth the missing stone structure. We sat down at the coast and i continued gathering some nice stones. After a while other people started to searching for stones as well. It was a nice sight to see everyone looking down on the ground and being aroused as soon as one found a unique specimen. After one hour at the beach of Deal we drove back to Canterbury, where i drank a hot cup of sage tea as we arrived.