22 September 2011

Mom and Dad's Visit--Part Four: Dover Castle. . .

We ended our time in Dover with a trek up to Dover Castle.  It was built by William the Conqueror following the Battle of Hastings in 1066. . probably within an already existing Iron Age fort.  It has been rebuilt and expanded over the years, and has served as a fortress from medieval sieges through the Second World War-- when it was modernized for artillery warfare with anti-aircraft weaponry.  Its underground tunnels were adapted in the 1960s to serve as a regional seat of government after a nuclear attack.  We only toured the really old areas of the castle; next time, we will hit the World War II part.

The views were pretty incredible, especially out across the English Channel, but one of the most entertaining parts were the people dressed up in period garb walking around in character.  One guy in particular (his picture is below) was excellent; we met him when he was searching the grounds for his wife.  He had suspicions that she was "making a cuckold of him" and our conversation was interrupted when he caught sight of her and raced off hollering at and chasing her.  Later he returned to teach us a bit about life in the castle.  Then about an hour later, the girls caught sight of him dragging the "other man" up a set of steps.  We followed and witnessed a bit of a trial--the eventual outcome was that she was expecting their first baby and the "other man" was the midwife's son. The girls loved it!!  We also got to meet Henry the II--who built the great tower as a grand residence and a place to welcome important guests.

Our hotel from the night before was on the "beach" in this shot.

The very entertaining and highly suspicious baker.
Henry II

From left: Church of St. Mary, Roman lighthouse, Colton's Gate

The brick ceiling in the Great Tower was something like 20 foot thick--I assumed for protection from attacks, but it is that thick to be able to withstand the vibration from the cannons shooting out of  Dover castle.  This part of the castle has been redone to look as it might have in around 1186.

The top of the Roman lighthouse. . probably built in the second century A.D.

Colton's Gate--built by King John.