Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 6: Lullingstone & Dover

So I am now relaxing in Dover. This morning we clambered into a generously large taxi and were conveyed to the hire car company. After fiddling a bit with the GPS, we were off!

Cazy had no idea what the speed on the motorways was (there are no speed limit signs) but by driving alongside others were eventually guessed that it was 70 mph. We turned off onto smaller roads after one hour, heading for Lullingstone’s Roman villa. This was our first bout of English country driving - it was stressful! Lullingstone has very narrow streets. We clipped a parked car but we were going slow so we only shut their mirror. Whew!

Then we had to drive over a quaint narrow bridge more suited for pedestrians - the lane beside it was flooded and I’m not sure if it is a proper lane to begin with! We were lucky not to meet oncoming cars on our way to the villa - there was no room to squeeze two side by side.

We had to shove the car into an unforgiving space that seemed to grumble when Cazy tried. It was tight. We used gymnastics to get out and then traversed the car park to the villa. We picked up our Overseas Visitor Pass (a cheap way for foreigners to see sites under the guardianship of English Heritage) and they also gave us a coin to get out of the car park. Free parking for us! I'm very glad I researched the OVP beforehand. ;)

Lullingstone Villa

The villa It was a very warm day in southern England but the fully enclosed villa was preserved in a chilly room. I barely noticed as I took it in. I saw the large mosaic of the dining room, saw a painting of a water nymph in the cult room...saw the baths, saw so much...I loved it.

I feel bad for Roman tilers - that must have taken ages!

Lullingstone Villa is interesting because at the end of its 300 year life it was showing symbols of Christianity. This villa yielded Christ’s name and angelic figures. The villa showed signs of other types of change - they started by using a well and closed it over when an aqueduct arrived (it made the baths easier to use!). It made me think of the video game Caesar III - you start with cheap wells and upgrade when you have enough money!

There were skeletons there - a baby and a 24-year-old (ish) man who was reportedly buried near a similarly aged woman, either a wife or a sister. I was reminded of that morning when our taxi driver assumed Cazy and I were married. I was struck by a deep sense of sympathy. 

Great site - highly recommended. And it had lots of things for kids to do (dress ups, Roman games, etc).

The gift shop robbed us and we ate lunch in the sunshine. Dover awaited.

The White Cliffs greeted us as we drove into the city. There was a busy, large dock lying beneath them. What a site! And Dover Castle is a mammoth!

After checking in, we drove to the cliffs and walked the 20 minute track. 

Now all I need is a giant chalkboard...

The castle was the greater sight as we were now too close to the cliffs to appreciate them properly. Magnificent photos were still possible - we saw all the way to the White Cliffs of Calais!

The White Cliffs of...Calais!

There’s a lot of unknown history at the cliffs. For example, convicts and POWs from WWII laboured there.

We returned to our hotel.

Sleepy. Tomorrow will be tiring.

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