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3 of 3: A Day in Dover


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My final photo day was to Dover, on the far eastern coast of England. It's a 2.5 hour trip by train, with one transfer at the Victoria station, but still a pleasant trip. I wanted to see the white cliffs of Dover, look over the English Channel toward France, and walk within the fortress that is Dover Castle.


Knowing how bad the weather can be there this time of year, I planned it around the sunniest day forecast. It was still cold and very windy, but still a great day. And yes, you could see France across the channel (21 miles here). This strategic waterway is a main port for the UK, and more than that it was critical to defending the nation then and now.




This view is from atop the "Admiralty Lookout tower" from which enemy ship movements were traced and reported to the Allies. You can see the ferries docked here. It's also near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, a 31-mile rail tunnel that connects England and France. Notice a small portion of "white cliff" toward the left.




Dover Castle itself is massive, and the oldest and most important fortification in all of England. Being in use for more than 2,000 years, there are things to see from all eras, starting with this lighthouse (the tower on the right), built by the Romans during the time of Christ. It's the oldest structure in all of Britain.




Next to it in the shot above is the small stone St. Mary-in-Castro church from the Saxon era, built one thousand years ago. Here's a different angle as the sun sets (it sets early in this part of the world), just after 4:00p.




Next is "keep" of the castle (built in 1181), which refers to the strongest central tower that serves as a final defense within the walls of the castle.




Here's another view of the same thing, which I thought was an interesting way to frame it.




My favorite shot, probably, is this one taken of musket slits in tunnel dug in medieval times (built in 1216, to shoot downwards onto enemies in the moat).




As the light disappeared, it was time for the walk back to town. Along the way I came across St. Mary's church, from the Norman period (ca. 1100 AD).




Here's a close-up of the tombstone, where you can make out that "Charles Hart" died in 1836 in the Battle of Waterloo.




Finally, this sea of bicycles was captured in Paddington Station, where workers ride to the train stop and lock their bikes up before taking the train or underground to work. Can you imagine finding your bike in this mess?




This was tough to capture. To get the depth of field I wanted, I needed to expose the shot for 13 seconds.


There you go. It's been a nice trip.

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Thank you, Francois. When I saw that you had replied, I swallowed hard, thinking I'd screwed up something about European history. :grin: I'm still have lots to learn.


There's so much to photograph here that it's almost paralyzing.

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David, you put me to shame. I have never stopped to visit Dover though I have passed through countless times whilst traveling to mainland Europe.


Also, it happens I was less than 20 miles form Oxford on Wednesday - on leave as well. C'est la Vie.


Great pictures as always. Enjoy your stay, Andy

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Sorry we didn't get to connect, Andy. About Dover, you're a WWII buff as well, right? My reading hobby centers around the British and Spanish elements of the French Revolution, so I just felt like I was swimming in my books while visiting Dover and London.


I jotted some observations about the US vs. the UK. Just stupid little random things as I walked the streets:


People push trolleys around. They are very strong.


Some toilets aren't free--carry some pence around.


The NHS (National Health Service) gives folks a strong safety blanket and peace of mind.


Everything else is damn expensive.


The wayfinding generally good.


The streets are narrow, even in the larger cities. I'm guessing they didn't seem that way a thousand years ago.


It would take two garages to get the typical SUV inside. Four if you were in love with a Hummer.


A much greater percentage of service personnel here than in the US speak no English. They act like they do, though, because it's easier than asking you to repeat it.


Smoking must be more addictive over here.


Never saw one mobile home or house of wood-frame construction. I'm sure they exist, but everything seems to be brick or stone.


Gas stations are as rare as real football games.


There seems to be a bit less individualism here. There's the expectation of greater conformity, which seems to bring less straying from a geographic center and greater adherence to a schedule. Every person who asked about my trip expressed incredulity that I would go to Oxford and back, or Dover and back, in one day. They are more citizens of the world, but they don't seem to be adventurous travelers like we are.


They need more trash cans. You've got to walk blocks to find one.


They're long-haul freight trucks look like they just came off the showroom floor.


The mass transit system makes me jealous. I went all over the country without using a taxi or rental car.

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The trolleys hurt your ankles.


In the UK, we call visiting the bathroom "Spending a penny"


The NHS gives great peace of mind - and we can also use private health care instead if we wish.


The usual math is to change the dollar sign for a pound sign - except for Fuel and Hotels where you have to double the number first.


The problem with old cities is narrow streets - and even narrower Bridges.


Garages are also a modern addition - there was not much room left to fit them - oh and up until recently, our cars were 1/4 the size of yours anyway - leave alone SUVs etc. A Range Rover is a very big car over here.


The service personnel in the South East tend to be recent immigrants from the caucuses these days - a few years ago they would have been South African and before that Australian.


We do have a lot of smokers. Too many.


Mobile homes are seen as for holidays (vacations) though there are one or two Mobile Home villages around - they are not seen as low-rent areas.


We have two kinds of timber based homes, those built in before the 17th Century and some modern 'trendy' timber-framed homes. Only Oak can stand up to our damp climate for very long.


Petrol stations have very low margins here - a lot have closed over the past 20 years.


We have many real football games - and some American Football games as well.


The conformity thing is interesting - certainly, straying from the norm can be detrimental to employment here. As for travel, there is an old saying - "To an American 100 years is a long time - to an Englishman 100 miles is a long way." I get the same reaction when I go on 500 mile days out on the bike - or pop the 90 miles down to visit Steve.


Most trash cans were removed when the IRA were at their peak - too easy to put a nail bomb in one and just walk away.


The Haulage industry is very heavily regulated in terms of vehicle condition, driver hours and speed - max 90KPH - or 56mph - enforced by governors and Tachographs.


I love the mass-transit system. I can get anywhere in the country with ease - but is is cheaper and faster to use my bike or car for most journeys where I live, due to its rural nature.



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That's great insight, Andy. But that bit about real football was a cheap shot. :grin:


I do love the sense of humo(u)r here, too. It's allowed me to be my normal smart-ass state in the seminars.

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Quote "The service personnel in the South East tend to be recent immigrants from the caucuses these days - a few years ago they would have been South African and before that Australian."


I was one of those back in the middle to late 70's and don't worry we struggled with the language as well , I was serving beer in clubs and pubs and could not understand half of the orders asked for by the english/ irish/welsh customers , some of the accents I just couldn't understand. {a bit like some of the latest English and American television that we receive , they need subtitles } I really struggled in Scotland with the accents so did bar and bouncer work


I have read reports in the papers that the number of Australians in the UK is dropping by about 2000 a week ,which is unusual , it may be a bit like the dolphins saying "and thank you for the fish"

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Thank you Brian. You know the strange thing is that a 35mm camera (or a digital, full-frame sensor camera that looks like one) is a real oddity these days. Pretty much all I saw was P/S cameras everywhere! By the end of each day, I was wanting the lighter weight of one myself. ;)

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Last week, someone complimented one of my photos by suggesting I might have missed my calling. Seeing yours reinforces my reply -- that all I really do is point and shoot. Nice job!


Also nice to see green grass in December.

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Thanks, Joel. I think hobbies should be defined as an unmerited devotion to something illogical. I do enjoy it. I really enjoy walking through photo exhibits, too. And a bunch of people on this board are really, really skilled at capturing a particular perspective.

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Last week, someone complimented one of my photos by suggesting I might have missed my calling. Seeing yours reinforces my reply -- that all I really do is point and shoot. Nice job!


Also nice to see green grass in December.




I could be at the rim of the Grand Canyon at Sunset during a combination Ferrari show and Bikini Model competition, with a $10,000 camera and I'd come home with 12 pictures of my thumb and 200 mediocre photos of red cars with girls in front of them. Guys like David could take a picture of a cigarette butt in a Walmart parking lot with a disposable camera and it would be art. The bicycles shot is a classic example. It's just a bunch of bikes. If I took a picture, it would just be an unremarkable picture of a bunch of bikes. But that's an awesome photo!


OTOH, that's one thing I really like about digital...I can take 12,000 pictures and throw away all but the one good one. It's the photography equivalent of the old "infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of keyboards" bit. :grin:

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Russell, that cropped version I posted above doesn't really do the "mess of bicycles" justice. Check out the original here:




I converted the one I posted to black/white. That blue bike in the foreground was messing with my OCD. :grin:

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