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Day 2

Sunday, June 20 , 2004

Our plan was to get up at 5:30 in order to catch the 8:02 train to Dover. Unfortunately, Karen did not sleep well and since we were not on a schedule, we decided to sleep some more. We slept 'till 7:30 and arrived at Victoria Station in time for the 10:02. We ran into a little problem trying to buy tickets. The line was long for purchase and we decided to buy from the machines. There was only one problem; none of the machines selling tickets to Dover were taking notes! We found a change machine but it only changed coins. We started hunting all over the station for a machine that would work. At our last machine we discovered 2 men who were manually selling tickets. Good thing for us.  
  We arrived at Dover at Noon. We caught the bus to the ferry dock. Unfortunately for us the Hoverspeed was at the West dock and the bus went to the East dock. Concurrently my eyeglasses fell apart and I tried to fix them. Fortunately for us a sympathetic couple was sitting nearby and offered me her reading glasses. With those I was able to fix my own.
We made the mile plus walk to the West dock and Hoverspeed. It was cool and the wind was blowing hard. It began to occur to me that there was not adequate time to take the Boat to Calais and get back in time to see the Castle. I was not sure what time the last train back to London was but I didn't think it was very late. As it turned out there was a train available as late as 9:30, we still decided that there was not enough time to take a 2pm boat over to Calais and get back with time to see any of Dover.  
  That decided, it was now 1pm and we went for walk along the pier. The long dock allowed a good view of the White Cliffs, Castle and town. With binoculars, we were also able to see well the shoreline of France.  
  It was now time to eat. The staff at Hoverspeed recommended the 8 Bells restaurant in town. We found our way there. It was part of the Wetherspoon chain, but the food and beer were good. I had fish and chips with a Theakston ale. Karen had chips with a light ale. We finished a little after 2pm. Across from the pub was a neat old church, a tiny ancient thing that was not open.  
We had the idea to take the hop-on hop-off tour bus up to the castle, but we did not know where to pick it up. As it turned out we walked all the way up the hill to the castle, no mean feat.
  The castle is cool, with parts dating to the 12th century. By the time we arrived it was already 3pm. We wanted to catch the 5:22 to London Victoria. We asked the ticket teller at the castle about the tour bus. He informed us that the bus runs every hour at :40 past the hour. We figured on catching the 4:40 bus to return us in time to catch the 5:20 to Victoria.  
We explored the Castle with the goal of making our way to the Channel-side for views of France and the Cliffs. We did achieve our goal and enjoyed our exploration. It included a view of the ancient St. Mary's of Castro Church. I used my camera binoculars to good effect to photograph France.
  We caught the tour bus in time. Because it was his last run of the day and we were just going to the train station, he didn't charge us. We did get to the station with time to spare, which we used to get a beer at the Priory Hotel, across the street. I had a John Smith's and Karen a Stella.  
  Our train ride back was uneventful. I did have some did difficulty staying awake while writing this narrative, but it was nice to sleep.  
Back to our hotel, we rested for a bit and then headed down the street for dinner. Since it was a Sunday evening, we decided to stay close to home since much would not be open, and the Tube would be a bit unreliable. Our first choice was the pub next door, the Barley Mow, but they were packed with Euro Cup fans and not serving food. We ended up at the Bella Italia where we each had pizza.  
  Back at the hotel, we watched the U.S. Open 'till after midnight, while Karen tried to sleep. Unfortunately, Phil Mickelson 3-putted the 17th Green and lost.

Day 3