Monday, August 26, 2013

The Port of Dover in Dover, England

It was exciting to begin our trip from the US all the way over to the beautiful country of England.  We had a very comfortable eight-hour flight arriving at Heathrow Airport, which was about a 40 minute drive into London.  We had a catch-up day in London to make up for the five hour time difference.  Then we prepared to catch the tour bus that would transport us down to Dover, England where we would get on the cruise-ship and begin the cruise segment of our travel adventure.

We drove on what looked like an Interstate Highway with our bus traveling on the left side of the highway .... Now that is really a strange feeling!

A quick photo from the tour bus window shows a beautiful first day in England.

The drive down to Dover took about an hour and a half.  In the below photo you can see the Ocean Princess cruise-ship off in the distance just sitting waiting for us to arrive.

From what I can find out,  this seaport of Dover dates back to the early 17th century and is one of the busiest and most popular ports in the world,  serving over 16 million passengers every year.

The cruise-ship Ocean Princess, is one of the smaller cruise-ships with capacity for a little over 600 passengers.  Even though this is a smaller size ship, that still seems like a lot of people on one boat.  Getting checked in was a smooth process and before we knew it,  there we were on board the ship.  We headed right for the top deck to try to get the best picture taking platform.

All my life I have heard about "The White Cliffs of Dover."  Well, there they were right before our eyes!  How amazing!  We knew in advance our schedule would not allow us to do "everything,"  but, wow!  I sure would have loved to walk up on the walking-trail that goes along the cliffs.  Can you just imagine the views from there! ... I am sure that would be some amazing picture moments!

Off in the distance toward the left there is what looks to be a huge cargo ship.  Whatever it was, we watched several just like that one come and go as we waited for our scheduled departure.

Someone was out there enjoying this beautiful day in their sailboat.

Then we watched the little tug-boat in the below photo go by, and we wondered if he was headed to pull our boat forward ... never did know for sure, but shortly after he went by our boat did begin to move away from port.

If you look up on top of that hill in the below photo, you will see what is a very ancient castle.  That would have been another interesting place to visit.  This is a medieval castle founded in the 12th century.  It is the largest castle in England and has played a key role in defending England throughout history.

One of the special things I love about England is that they have so much history, including the town of Dover.  The first known inhabitants in this area were Stone Age farmers.  Stone axes were found here in Dover dating all the way back to the Stone Age.

As you can see in the below photo the cruise-ship is proudly displaying the British flag.  You can see a bit of the town of Dover off in the distance as well.  Dover has thousands of years of history and has been invaded over and over, but today it is quiet and peaceful and is busy taking care of the many tourists arriving in town.

It was fun and festive on the ship with some beautiful music being played by those two folks way up front in the little alcove past the pool.  You can just barely see them in the below photo.

We had a great view from the top of the ship as we look out over the town of Dover.

Plus from here there is a good view of "The White Cliffs of Dover."

At this point the ship has begun it's departure.  We are moving out and passing the light-house that was built here in the harbor back in 1909.

Continuing on out of the harbor leaving the historic town of Dover in the background.

In the below photo,  as we pass by the "White Cliffs of Dover," 
 if you look off in the distance to the right,  you can see a light-house.

It is a beautiful evening as our ship moves out into what is called the Straits of Dover,  which actually is the narrowest point of the English Channel,  and not very far at all from the coast of France and a town called Calais, France. This is the most popular route for the cross-channel swimmers to swim from Dover, England to France, which is a distance of about 21 miles.  On a clear night, the lights of the coast of France can be seen from here.

We come to the close of what has been a very exciting first day of our adventure.  We found our state room and settled in before going down to dinner.  I looked out on the balcony of the stateroom and had to go grab my camera to capture this beautiful sunset.

By the time we arrived down for dinner there again was the beautiful sunset at the close of our day.

We arrived down to the dining room and looked for our assigned table seating.  We met the three sets of other folks with whom we would be joining each evening at our dining table for the rest of the trip.  Two sets of guests were coincidentally going to be in the same continuing education class with my husband.  Oh! my goodness! ... What a great group of dining companions!  I knew we were in for a really fun dinner each evening ... Some of the stories they did tell!  There was never going to be a dull moment during dinner for the next 9 days.

Well! That was the first day of our adventure.  I must say a couple of times I felt like pinching myself to see if we were really there in England.  I have such a special image of England from reading multiple novels set in England,  and I love all the history of this beautiful country.

Join us again as we see what the next day will bring.  I do hope you too have been enjoying your Summer days wherever you may be.

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