At Dover Castle

The sun surprises by shining brilliantly as the sea below it shimmers in the heat. From the train wending its way along the coast around the chalk cliffs I can see yachts sailing. Gradually, the view to Dover becomes clear with the castle resting on the hill above the town. The town itself is the usual English seaside mixture of old churches, bunting in the streets and Victorian buildings combined with dilapidated concrete buildings and the industrial presence of the port. I make my way up the hill towards the castle. The area taken by by the castle is quite considerable and for much of the time as one walks along the battlements looking out over the white cliffs, it feels like a country walk in spite of the remaining gun batteries. The presence of Hobbit-like bunkers buried beneath grassed mounds does little to dispel this sense. Eventually, I come to the Keep. Much of the Keep interior has been refurnished by English Heritage to show it as a medieval palace; the results are interesting but the brightly painted wooden furniture and hangings sit oddly in the otherwise gloomy interior. I then walk to the church of St Mary Ad Castro, with its Roman lighthouse. Originally Saxon, the interior is cavernous and dark, only partially relieved by the Victorian decoration.

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