Dover, Again

I was still at Dover Castle, and I decided to go up to the Keep. It was totally onthe other side of the compound from the tunnels, so I started that way, walking briskly for like, a minute. The combination of the altitude, the HILLs, and the ferocious gusting wind resulted in my having the lung capacity of a tiny baby, and I had to slow down before I stroked out.

Dover Castle encompasses 88 total acres, and despite having lived in a farming community for the majority of my life, I still don't know how that breaks down into miles. (and I don't care, either.) I'm guessing, based on the fact that I died seven times on the way to the Keep, that it's approximately 629 miles. What I know for sure is that I didn't ride the little train at all, which was an incredibly stupid decision on my part.

I caught up to a group of three older women as I got closer to the keep. They were going at about my same pace, that is to say: slow. One of them was using a walker, which should give you some indication.

We went up some stairs to get into the Keep yard. Then we went up some stairs to get up to the Keep door. Then we went up some stairs to get into the Keep itself. We turned a corner, and--

At this juncture, I can do no better than to quote one of those three older women, who, when confronted with her fourth staircase of ten grumtillion steps, cried out, "JIMINY CRICKETS!"

(I am afraid my own exclamations would not have been so genteel.)

I took a deep breath and creaked up the stairs, finally entering the Keep. It was empty.

Well, practically. There were things set about as though the castle servants were preparing for the arrival of Henry VIII, but mostly ... it was empty.

wall hangings, or something

Henry VIII's throne

I confess I was a little disappointed that it wasn't made from gold. Also, the time period referenced in the displays was around 1539, after he had already started getting fat, so I'm not so sure that throne would survive Henry's, you know, GREATNESS.

I dragged myself up some more (!) stairs and came to a fork: I could stop climbing stairs and visit the gallery, or I could continue vandalizing my knee bones and go up to the roof. So I chose the gallery, which was an incredibly stupid decision on my part.

The gallery, like much of the Keep, was empty. Well, it had no furniture, but it wasn't exactly ... empty. And I sometimes joke about seeing ghosts and whatnot, but I am telling you in all seriousness that there was a palpable malevolence in there, and the further I walked into the gallery, the more I felt it. So stairs or no stairs, I hurried out of there and went up to the roof.

Where I was promptly bowled over by the wind. No gentle breezes here. No playful puffs of air. It pulled my hair out of my ponytail holder; it was WINDY.

In spite of this, I managed to look out over the castle walls and saw ...


And from the other wall ... well, at the other wall, I looked down to the ground and saw men building gallows in the yard. And, y'all, I cannot watch a hanging. Not that I've ever been given the opportunity, or anything, but I can't even watch a fake one on television, whether it's an execution or a suicide. It freaks me OUT. I was still feeling kind of icky from my gallery experience, and also the wind was really whipping me around, so I headed downstairs--avoiding the gallery--and into the yard--avoiding the gallows.

(I took a picture first.)

I began to walk in the direction of the Saxon Church, helpfully pointed out, though ambiguously (as always) by a sign with an arrow pointing BETWEEN two roads. There were hills HILLs to be reckoned with on the way.

The church is right next to an old Roman lighthouse. I admired it dutifully and walked toward the church. There were a few embarrassing seconds when I tried to open the door by pulling on the handle instead of pushing, obviously.

It took me all of four seconds to take in the features of the interior, and I left, this time without any trouble from the door.

It was time for some cliffs, I thought. Because: why had I come to Dover in the first place? And what had I seen neither hide nor hair of? Yeah, that's right.

I conquered some more HILLs to get up to the battlements, and I walked around toward the sea. Finally, I saw a white cliff off in the distance.

It was the closest I would get.

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