Postcards from Dover & the White Cliffs

Above: Van Gogh’s painting of Wheatfield with Crows.

Just an average day with random thoughts.

The painting reminds me of this scenery, on the trail along the White Cliffs of Dover last year.

Except of course these are not wheatfields, and there no crows. In the background: South Foreland Lighthouse. Apparently Faraday (yes, the Faraday, father of electromagnetism) conducted some work here.

More photos of the Dover White Cliffs below.

These are the white cliffs that line the British coast along the English Channel, facing France. The trail is well-defined, and I doubt anyone can get lost – just walk along the coast and get your bearings from the vast sea on one side!

The walk on the eastern cliffs is a pleasant 2-2.5 hours walk round trip. A beautiful green turf greets me as I walked northwards away from the harbour and the din of lorries and cargo transport at the Dover seaport. Spent some time stooping to look at interesting plants. I wish I had more knowledge of botany.

Situated at the south-east of England, Dover is the closest departing point from England to France via the English Channel. Given its strategic point, Dover was historically the site of some battles/defences between the Brits and the French.

It was a wonderful leisurely ramble along the dramatic coastline with gulls squawks echoing in the afternoon sun. And from such heights, the views are marvellous, especially on a day blessed with good weather like this. For the most part, I was the only one walking along the trail, with some occasional avid dog walkers. There and then, I found a great sense of contentment. (Was reviewing some of my self-portrait shots – I looked so happy!)

The cliffs are white because of the white-chalk texture.

The next day, I crossed over to France via the once-common British way (before the existence of Eurotunnel and budget flights): – by the P&O ferry from Dover to Calais. Paid tooth and nail for the ferry, as P&O was the only existing service for foot passengers like me. (Tip: tell the ticket clerk that you have a rail card which qualifies for a helpful discount). Nowadays, it’s so much easier and cheaper to get from England to France by bus: there are direct regular bus services (e.g. Eurolines) from London to Paris, and a round trip can cost as low as £28. Instead what I did was: took a train from London to Dover and spent a night in Dover before continuing on next day by ferry to Calais. It’s a long-winded route. A day’s stopover at Dover was intentional and proved to be worth it, since I had an entire afternoon to myself spent enjoying the white cliffs and sea view.

As the ferry departs from Dover, the semblance of a white fort stood steadfast in the morning mist. No wonder it’s said that the white cliffs once bore symbolic sentiments for Brits when they leave or arrive from France through Dover.

From Calais, my adventures continue here.

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