A Travellerspoint blog

A Walk On The Wall

Thursday, 22 June 2017


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Today's forecast is at least 10 °C lower than yesterday. We decided to take a walk along the City Wall. There is only a small section that is accessible but it is worth the effort in that the wall provides an unrivalled view of parts of the city. We dropped in at the Bus Information Centre and the most helpful staff sorted out our day trip to Dover.

Almost everywhere there are remnants of stone structures and complete complexes of castle-looking buildings. The Christ Church University was very attractive but does not permit casual visitors through the gates. Unfortunately, most of the "attractions" want to charge what I consider to be an excessive entry fee.

We completed our circuit just before lunch to the sound of an approaching thunder storm. Decided to aim for somewhere close for lunch and were just inside when the sky opened up. In mere seconds the gutters were overflowing and pedestrians were ducking for any available cover. Those of us in the cafe were in no hurry to leave. We eventually braved the rain and were surprised that the drops appeared to be very large. We were able to dodge the puddles and flowing drains and arrived back in our room only slightly damp.

Within 30 minutes or so it was all over and we enjoyed the drop in temperature that persisted through the remainder of the day. Spent some time trying to access the Internet and try to plan our trip to Dover. Being unfamiliar with the local geography I relied on Google to work out distances between the bus terminal and some of the "attractions". Finally achieved a connection and was able to get the answers I was after. I'm beginning to realise that the printed maps make a town look bigger than it is because of the scale they use to fit in the many narrow streets and lanes.

Should sleep better tonight and will head off early tomorrow.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 11:59 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Some Retail Therapy

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


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With another scorcher forecast we got out on the street as early as possible. Visited the Information Centre and received confirmation that a day-trip to Dover should be possible provided the predicted cool change arrives. Looks like Friday will be the day.

We're now quite familiar with the layout of the inner city and can confidently walk to most of the significant places directly. Dropped into the Pound World store to stock up on some sweet treats.

Took our purchases back to the hotel and then decided to visit the Mountain Warehouse store. It doesn't look like much from the outside but has great depth and is loaded with outdoor gear. I located a pair of great hiking boots and Jenny found some comfortable sandals. Bought their stuff on-line before and it was great to see the stock physically. Took the purchases back to the hotel. I'm certainly clocking up some FitBit paces today.
Back to the main street to find a number of market stalls erected and crowded with people. I wonder where they all come from. Jenny spotted some light-weight pants that were the right size and a reasonable price. Stocked up with some fruit and two combo meals for lunch. Once again we returned to the hotel where we adopted the horizontal position again to hibernate through the heat of the day

Internet connection has been flaky, no doubt due to the heat. The heat was responsible for closed rail-lines when the the track buckled yesterday. Got ready to hit the road about 19:00 and walked to an Italian Restaurant out on Castle Street. The busiest venue we've experienced. The dishes were excellent and the service both friendly and efficient.

Called into Tesco for some Pepsi and an ice-cream. The sun was still bright when we returned to the hotel. We kept the curtains closed for now. The sun went down behind the rooftops at about 20:30 so we opened the windows and the curtains. Will try to upload this lot if the Internet gods approve.

More tomorrow if we can find the energy 8-).

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 13:01 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Sweltering in Canterbury

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

sunny 33 °C
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The 40 year record temperatures continue so we went for our walk as soon as we finished breakfast. Walked to the West Canterbury Station to explore the possibility of a train trip to Dover. A very nice person there explained that we should have gone to the East Canterbury Station. We walked through the Westgate Gardens which straddled the local stream.

Found the Station which was unmanned and we therefore failed to find out what we'd been looking for. Will have to go back to the Tourist Information office to see what they can arrange. It was after 11:00 and starting to warm up quickly when we strolled through the Whitefriars shopping precinct. Decided to do the meal combo again and headed back to the hotel to eat it.

Stripped off and did as little as possible for the afternoon. Ventured out into the cool of the street after the 18:30 News which again predicted Heatwave conditions. Consumed a very tasty hamburger at the local Byron Restaurant then wandered around in the refreshing cool at 17 °C. Back to the room and opened the windows to let the trapped hot air escape.

More hot weather on the way tomorrow.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 12:56 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Exploring Canterbury

Monday, 19 June 2017


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The Continental Breakfast included in the room rate was adequate and served at the table. It was difficult to fill the coffee cup as the floor and the table are nowhere near level. While it was still relatively cool we walked to the Visitor's Information Centre to obtain a map. We walked the High street and found the local Boot's store. We would be inclined to refer to this store as a 'pharmacy' but this place is so much more, they even stock ready to eat food and drink.

Just next door was a Tesco where we bought some fresh fruit. We were also impressed with the three pound meal combo. A can or bottle of drink, a prepared wrap or sandwich and some prepared fruit or other snack. We headed back to the hotel as temperatures were on the rise. Ate our lunch, closed the windows and curtains to try and keep out the heat. There's no refrigerator so we can't keep anything. Will have to adjust to buying just enough for the day.

Stripped down to the bare essentials and sat back to conserve any expenditure of energy. Read, dozed and perspired copiously. The locals are having difficulty coping with the conditions.

Ventured out again at 18:30 with the temperature still around 25 °C and returned to a Fish & Chips place we'd spotted this morning. Jenny had the Fish & Chips while I tried a Beef & Ale Pie also with chips. The meal was generous served in take-away format at an outside table. We found an ice-cream shop and indulged. Managed to eat it before it melted.

Back in the room, stripped off again and sat down to record today's journal. We've come to the conclusion that air-conditioning is not a common facility in Britain.

More hot weather on the way tomorrow.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 12:42 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

Southampton to Canterbury

Sunday, 18 June 2017


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Clear sky, light winds and temperature forecast in the high twenties. Very crowded on Deck 15 as we have our last breakfast aboard. There's no rush but we clear the cabin and head for the Elite/Suite lounge on Deck 7. Some small pastries, a cup of coffee and a British Sunday paper keeps us occupied until our designated disembarkation at 10:00.

We walk ashore to one of the largest luggage retrieval spaces we've ever seen. It is huge and by this time almost empty. Our lot is not difficult to find and we push out to find a taxi. No Immigration, no one even wants to see the passports. The waiting area for taxis and coaches is enormous and fully under cover. The traffic flow is orderly and well managed. Must be about the best disembarkation we've experienced.

Taxis are a bit thin on the ground though as there are three other ships in port. In reality it only takes 10 minutes and we're off to the Coach Station. We arrive there to find hundreds of people and their luggage with nowhere to sit. We have over two hours to wait for our coach and there are a number that arrive over 30 minutes late due to heavy traffic. We find a place in the shade and wait. Our coach arrives on schedule and we're off at 12:20 with a minimum of fuss. The coach is very modern and the leg room in the front rows is very generous. The seat-belts are very firm though and after a while the pressure on the chest needed to be eased. The air-conditioning works so well we need to put on our jackets.

The driver finds a route that is moving at least. We appear to travel along freeways - 3 or 4 lanes each way - down to country lanes - one narrow lane each way. All that is nothing compared to the congested city streets as we travel through the outskirts of London. Arrival at the Victoria Coach Station is a bit of a shock. The temperature is up to about 30 and the crowd of people, coaches and luggage reminds we of scenes from third world countries. It is hot, seriously crowded but appears to work. We have to make our way from Arrivals to Departures and are lucky to attract the attention of a Porter with a hand-cart. Not only does he take care of our luggage, he finds the correct departure gate and even finds a seat for Jenny.

At 15:30 we board the coach and negotiate the narrow, congested back-streets of London to eventually find the motorway to Canterbury and Dover. The traffic is heavy but better in our direction. The driver comments that most of London's population must have spent the day on the beach. That wouldn't surprise me, they love any chance to get their gear off and bake in the sun. Traffic on the motorway is flowing smoothly, 4 lanes in each direction, when suddenly the warning signs indicate some problem ahead. There has been a burst water or sewage pipe and all lanes on both sides are flooded. A sole policeman on a motor-bike is trying to manage the traffic into a single very slow line. It must have recently happened as we were clear of the area in just 5 or 6 minutes.

We are only slightly late when we arrived at the Canterbury Coach and Bus station. First impression of the city centre is of age. Stone walls and ancient buildings with narrow cobbled lanes. We've no idea where we have to go and although we'd been told that our hotel was withing walking range we hunt down a taxi. The driver at the front of the rank was not delighted to see our luggage and learning of our destination. The intervention of another driver convinced him to take us to the hotel. We drive along those narrow lanes and arrive at a less than imposing hotel entrance. We're really put off by the narrow steep stairway just to get to reception. I decided to leave Jen and luggage outside on the street and climb up to find out if we need to cancel our booking.

There are two problems, the room is quite small and our luggage generous :-) the other is that access is a multitude of narrow steep stairways. There was no real alternate, we were going to stay. The young fellow at reception helped us wrangle the five pieces up to our top-floor room. The heat, the stairs and the bags certainly took some of the starch out of him. The room is small but has most of what you'd expect but is definitely more suited for a one or two night stay.

Having found our feet and waited for the sun to drop a little, we took off for walk around the neighbourhood. There are dozens of bars and eateries in the area and despite it being a Sunday and getting late we chanced on Cafe Mauesque where we enjoyed a mixed Tapas plate for two. From there a short stroll back to the hotel. Not quite the comfort of the ship's stateroom but adequate all the same.

We'll explore more over the coming days.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 01:11 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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