Day 1: the White Cliffs and the broken bike

London – Dover – Folkestone

Why “Day 1”, if we are in Britain for almost a week by now? 
Because we have finally moved out of London and started out way along the Southern Coast!

That’s us in Dover. 
We went there by bus, not by bikes.
There are three reasons for that: 1. we reeeally need to get to Portsmouth by July, 10th^ the road from London to Dover is boring – and we rush to enjoy sea views, and, finally, the price – a bus to Dover costed us 5,5 pounds. To compare: to get from the airport to our friends house by the Tube costed us 5.70. Just 9 stations – which is a pretty short distance for London. The bus is normally 4 times more expensive – those were discount tickets, that you can find on The National Express site if you start looking for them early enough.
The bus had awesome leather seats and a kind driver, who brought our folded bikes all the way from the station doors to the bus. Pur tickets said we can carry only 2 suitcases no more than 20kg each and no oversized baggage, but the driver didn’t say a word. Folding bikes are so cool!
So, instead of riding along the monotonous fields the whole day, we came to Dover and had lots of time to see the city!

Dover is a typical English seaside town except for one 37km-wide paticularity – Pas-de-Calais or La Manche, the narrowest part of the water sleeve (that’s how “La Manche” is translatet from French), which separates England and France. Englishmen call it “The English Channel” – not so vivid, right?

House owners in Dover seem to be competing in decorating their lawns. Here you can find fountains, flower compositions and statues of all kinds… We think, other English towns are also involved in this «sport» =)

Somewhere in this blossoming jungle a terrible thing happened: Tasha’s bike broke!
Оk, not so terrible – we wrote it to get some attention ) It was a indicator chain of the hub. Nothing serious, but the hub got stuck on the highest gear, which means that going on flat land became a little tougher and going up the hill – almost impossible.

And Dover is all hills! Actually, because of this high white cliffs of Dover, seen from the sea, Britain got its ancient name «Albion». An old Dover Castle is looking over the town from the highest point.

The bike problem didn’t stop us from climbing up to the Castle! We walked all the way up! Got a little tired =)))) SAMSUNG CSC

And then we got even higher – on the very top of this old building. We sat on the stone wall, which is almost 25 times older than us, and had lunch. It was raining, but can it be of any importance, when you sit on the stones from the 12th century and the sea is beneath you? 

Going down was a true joy – we got to the sea in just a few minutes. And couldn’t help but wet our feet in the sea – the water was surprisingly warm!

The seaside is beautiful: you can sit on one of the benches and watch the big ships leaving for France. Fat seagulls stare at you hoping to get something tasty.
But we couldn’t let ourselves relax on a bench – 8 miles to Folkestone were ahead.
Quite a short distance
, but when a bike is tough to go and half way is going up the hill – it is quite an adventure! We had to switch and ride it in turns to give each other some rest. 

Fortunately, the views along the route were fascinating. Yep, we worried that we would have to go on a highway, but the whole way we were led by a cycle lane! It went through private territory and was there only “by kind permission of the landowner”. Sometimes we had to open and close wooden gates on our way.
Our way went along the fence, behind which in redolent green fields cows and horses were grazing. Some brave horses came straight to us and ate clover from our hands!

Finally the fence ended and we decided to walk to the edge of the cliff. The view was completely breathtaking!

We have heard that the view in Beachy Head is much better, but this is the one that will stay in out hearts – this was the first time we have met the white cliffs.
This is the view of Folkestone – a little town, where we booked a hotel for the upcoming night:The town is putting up its lights and is very magnetic to us, tired travellers. We were lucky to make the final distance very quickly – the road went all the way down!

We decided to spend this night in a hotel. We were so busy in London, that completely forgot that we have nowhere to sleep the first night out of the city ) We have found a great hotel on the seafront with a 65% discount: 27 pound for both of us! To compare, we spend about 8 pounds a day just on food, and here we’ve got a nice room and a full English breakfast for just a little bit higher price.

We are so used to spending every day with some nice people, that it seems a little lonely in our comfy hotel ) That’s why we decided to post a picture of Nick from TFL – we met him early in the morning this day, on our way to the bus. And of course didn’t leave him without a present from Russia! Ahead are about 70 miles to Eastbourne, a town near Beachy Head, a cape famous for its gorgeous views of the white cliffs. So our nearest plan is to find a Bicycle Repair!

Today we understood that all the difficulties of the journey become as small as a pea when you pet horses, smell the wild herbs, eat blackberry straight from the bush and feel tears of happiness when standing on a white cliff far above the sea.

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