As we drove into the city of Dover I hummed the song “There’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover…”, feeling excited, elated and curious. I saw part of the white cliffs as we drove towards the city centre and took a photograph but it is not as impressive as the ones I see in tourist brochures. They were just too far for me to take a good picture and also I took the shot from a moving vehicle.
Back to this famous song – in the UK I learnt that the song was sung by Dame Vera Lynn then and is as timeless as the Dover cliffs.
Dover is situated close to Folkestone and driving there after the church service on the August Bank Holiday Sunday seemed such a wonderful way to enjoy the short break.
Besides, the other reason for the excitement to go to Dover was the thought of Dover sole for lunch – find a restaurant that served Dover sole – simple!
During the search for the Dover sole which took us all over the length and breadth of the city, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that there was a castle in Dover and a few other things. It is an interesting city. We came across other visitors mainly from the European continent. There were groups of German, French and Italian tourists.
Dover seems to be a very strategic gateway not only to south east England but to London and other UK destinations. I couldn’t help thinking that these seaside cities especially Dover and Folkestone and their close proximity to the European continent makes them lucrative tourist destinations. Their rich histories beckon more than just well-to-do visitors.
We visited the centre of the city looking for Dover sole but no-one seems to have it and when they did, it was not cooked to our liking. Our search for Dover sole led us to so many delightful discoveries – the Dover castle, memorial to Walter Tull in the church yard on the hill, the plaque on the roof about David Copperfield, the church in town and the museum. I’m sure that there are other things we could have discovered if we had given ourselves a whole day perhaps.
The museum included displays of Dover’s development and military history. I found that really interesting and educational.
Downstairs in the sovernir shop visitors were purchasing souvenirs with Euros. That was something! They paid with Euros and received their change in British Pounds. That was really educational too. Tourism needs to be flexible so that it does not inconvenience the service provider as well as the tourist. It was definitely a win-win situation.
We learn something new each day. Guess what? visitors were allowed to take pictures of displayed historical pieces. Yes, take pictures of the antiquities inside the museum. There was an old boat dating back to long long ago.
Dover has a really interesting history as a seaside city during its growth over hundreds of years. The harbour keeps on growing and expanding. Was an informative and educational visit to this quaint little museum.
We had lunch at an Italian restaurant in the centre of the city and then headed uphill towards the Dover castle.
Wow! The castle was a sight to behold! Prior to the trip to the caslte I was taking photos of the city when a woman pointed out the castle to me. She even showed me where I could take a good shot of the castle from the city centre. What a majestic sight! Such friendly folk – a big plus for any tourist destination.
It was like a guardian or benevolent sentinel watching over the harbour below.
There seems to be a castle or a site of cultural significance in almost any city in the UK. Each of them has a unique story to tell.
In PNG we have hundreds of sites of cultural significance and I wonder how many of these are accessible to the tourists that visit the country.
I am sure that these sites dot each square mile of the country and in every village, ward or district – some larger than others and most are natural not man-made. Wonder how challenging it would be to find all of these.
I guess for starters it will take a lot of travelling by every mode of transport conceivable or appropriate to find these sites of cultural significance to Papua New Guineans. Of course, taking great care not to damage the fragile and pristine environment where they are located.
At the end of a very very fruitful afternoon and all the discoveries we made in Dover – I have to say I was still on the lookout for the illusive Dover sole.
I need not have looked farther than the Clifton Hotel in Folkestone where I was spending the August Bank Holiday weekend. There on the evening menu was the much sought after Dover sole.
I found out that Dover sole is a generic name for a fish that looks very much like the flounder.
In a way I guess we were not too far from the truth when we assumed that Dover sole came from Dover as information I gleaned from my limited research showed that ‘The name “Dover” is taken from the English fishing port which landed the most sole in the 19th century’ – (courtesy of http://www.recipes4us.co.uk).
Well, we learn something new each day.
You can find Dover sole almost anywhere around the world especially in the US, Pacific, the Atlantic and Europe.
I really enjoyed my search for Dover sole because the search led me to discover a lovely Victorian hotel, the famous white cliffs of Dover, a majestic castle, a least known memorial, an interesting little museum and Dickens corner.