"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came." — JFK
Growing up in Florida, I've always lived close to the ocean. Even as I've gotten older and lived in new cities or explored foreign lands, I'm always comforted by the sight of the sea. Like an old friend, the familiarity of the salty air combined with the crashing of rolling waves never fails to envelop my spirit with a feeling of home.
Recently, I've been trying to wrap my head around a feeling of homesickness, a concept that is as strange to me as eating your french fries err chips with utensils (it's not proper and polite to do otherwise according to the Brits). A trip to the White Cliffs of Dover for sweeping seaside views was just the sort of chicken noodle soup for the soul that I needed a few weekends ago. While I always seem to dream about the adventures beyond the horizon, it was comforting to look out at sea for once and know home lay just beyond the horizon.
Where: White Cliffs | Dover Castle
(Dover is only an hour's train ride from London)
When: Would not recommend going in the snow...
I think the ideal time was early autumn when the weather wasn't too hot yet the grass was still green.
Why: Dover Castle: Not only a medieval castle since the days of Henry II, but also a refuge with underground tunnels used for British soldiers during the evacuation of Dunkirk.
White Cliffs: Due to natural erosion over millions of years, the cliffs are a build up of white chalk that became exposed above sea level today. Stretching about 10 miles along the coast of Dover, the White Cliffs include the South Foreland Lighthouse and views of France on a clear day. I guarantee you the cliffs will also make you feel like you're in a Jane Austen novel, like this scene from Emma. ;-)
Tyro Tip: Stop at the Dover Information Center for a free leaflet with very thorough directions on how to get to the cliffs from downtown. I naively thought it would be somewhat intuitive to figure out how to get the cliffs (how hard could it be to find some giant white cliffs after all?); it's actually 2 miles just to get from the train station to the start of the cliffs!