Dover via Canterbury

The White Cliffs of DoverAt Dover Cliffs
Scarce hear the surge that has for ages beat,
Sure many a lonely wanderer has stood;
And whilst the lifted murmur met his ear,
And o’er the distant billows the still eve
Sailed slow, has thought of all his heart must leave

― William Lisle Bowles¹

Take a walk at the White Cliffs of Dover (Map from the National Trust)

Note: My Flickr album is organized sequentially.

Dover as a tourist destination is a little like the Poconos circa 1980 something. It’s heyday has long past and there are placards everywhere promising redevelopment. It doesn’t have the shopping of Brighton or the history and dining of Bristol. It’s a port city you pass through. Who knows though what places like Dover (and the Poconos) will like be post-pandemic as the cost/inconvenience of international travel changes domestic tourism.

As a gateway to the Cliffs of Dover the city is fine (even IF the relationship seemed badly neglected). My first afternoon was spent ambling around the town centre (getting my bearings) and probing the approach to the infamous cliffs. I’m not a typical traveler and don’t depend on guide books or countless hours of research on the internet. My trips are usually centered around an event (e.g. football match) or a place and the rest is just freeform exploration and discovery. The absence of an agenda makes it very easy to whittle the hours away at a coffee shop.

Ambition
The eastern approach to the cliffs via the Athol Terrace/Coast Path was kind-of-maybe-sort-of-closed because of falling rocks (chalk in this case) so I found an alternative route via Castle Hill Road. The site of Dover Castle from any vista is impressive but dominates the horizon as you make the climb up Castle Hill Road. My adventure for the day unfortunately ended at Upper Road due to overambition². On my way back to the hotel I took a picture of St. Martin’s Guesthouse because of its promise of ‘tea and coffee making facilities’ (plus it’s the surname of the pastor at my church).

Miracle of the Feet
It was a fast start on Sunday morning after my feet (and legs) had a couple of hours to rest. My approach to the park (national trust) was via Upper Road. There’s a church on the route that was damaged in WWII and is now preserved as a Grade II listed building. I stopped for a photograph on the top of Connaught Road and a sign post for Burgoyne Fort (for Bear). There was NO sidewalk/trail/path on Upper Road but it was SO early that cars only passed sporadically.

I finally made it to the visitor centre and my first vista of the White Cliffs of Dover! I had NO idea HOW big the park was so my decision to “call it quits” the day before was just lucky. On Saturday night, whilst subjecting my feet to a recovery regimen that was some Mr. Miyagi style stuff, studied a map of the park. The walk to the lighthouse is about 50 minutes, BUT I stopped to explore every nook and cranny SO it was well north of that number. My return trip included a descent into Fan Bay (feets of strength™) before climbing down to sea level to explore the ribs of a wreck on Langdon Beach.

I left the park via the aforementioned eastern approach (the one with the signs about falling chalk). This route gives you a nice birds eye view of the port and takes you under the A2. I’m not a very good writer because this post omits the absolute majesty of this amazing space but if you’ve ever wanted to live in a Turner painting visit the White Cliffs of Dover. I think English skies are so beautiful because all that chalk acts like a filter when it’s picked up by the breeze.

IMPORTANT: There are few times when my feet and legs have been so tired/sore so IF you plan on traversing from sea level to lighthouse to bays and holes (the latter is inappropriate) wear something more durable than Vans (and bring sunscreen).

¹Sonnet: At Dover Cliffs, July 20th 1787 by William Lisle Bowles (poetry.com)
²Overamition in my case is a combination of NO food, a very early start, and poor footwear

2018/2019 by the numbers…

I’m using my retreats as bookends so the timeline covers the period between December 7-9, 2018 and December 20-22, 2019. What I didn’t know before my first retreat ended is that I would spend 6+ months in Paris for work beginning in March.

Some notes…

I’ve provided dates for specific events (matches, concerts, etc.) and if you’re keeping score at home my teams / clubs went 5-1-1. All the links in this post are to Flickr, Vimeo, and/or official sites. While I briefly mention my trips to Belgium (Orval Abbey) and Germany both are covered extensively in other posts. The second part of my post will focus on life in Paris.

Timeline

  • Retreat at St. Josephs Abbey 12/7 to 12/9/2018
  • North Carolina 1st Visit 12/16/2018
  • New York Islanders (6) vs Ottawa Senators (3) 12/28/2018 (WIN)
  • Paris 1st Sprint 3/9/2019
  • La Marche de Saint Joseph 3/16/2019
  • Weekend in Metz 3/30 to 3/31/2019
    • FC Metz (2) vs FC Lorient (1) 3/31/2019 (WIN)
  • A.J. Auxerre (0) vs FC Metz (0) 4/6/2019 (DRAW)
  • Weekend in Southampton 4/12 to 4/14/2019
    • Southampton (3) vs Wolverhampton (1) 4/13/2019 (WIN)
    • Solent Sky Museum 4/13/2019
  • Weekend in Belgium (via Luxembourg) 6/22 to 6/23/2019
  • Kingdom Hearts World Orchestra (NYC) 6/29/2019
  • Bastille Day 7/14/2019
  • North Carolina 2nd Visit 8/15/2019
  • Weekend in Angers 8/24 to 8/25/2019
  • Angers SCO (3) vs FC Metz (0) 8/24/2019 (LOSS)
  • Weekend in Trier Germany & Luxembourg City 9/14 to 9/15/2019
    • Eintracht Trier (3) vs TuS Koblenz (2) 9/14/2019 (WIN)
  • TWA Hotel 9/22 & Walt Disney World 9/23 to 9/29/2019
  • New York City 10/24 to 10/26/2019
    • New York Islanders (4) vs Arizona Coyotes (2) 10/24/2019 (WIN)
    • Emanuel Ax Performs Beethoven @ Lincoln Center 10/25/2019
  • London 11/17 to 11/24/2019
    • Mail Rail at The Postal Museum & Guildhall Art Gallery 11/18/2019
  • Bristol 11/22 to 11/24/2019
  • North Carolina 3rd Visit 12/14 to 12/18/2019
  • Retreat at St. Josephs Abbey 12/20 to 12/22/2019

Paris 1st Sprint
I spent my first weekend in Paris participating in the La Marche de Saint Joseph. It was an amazing event but notable for two reasons— we attended mass at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris less than 1 month before it was devastated by a fire on April 15 and we visited Notre-Dame-des-Victoires. The former was my refuge whilst in Paris, and it wasn’t until my retreat to St. Joseph’s this Advent that I realized HOW special this cathedral is.

Here is Saint Therese of Lisieux on Our Lady of Victories:

“We reached Paris in the morning and commenced our visit without any delay. Poor little Father tired himself out trying to please us, and very soon we saw all the marvels of the Capital. I myself found only one which filled me with delight, Our Lady of Victories! Ah! what I felt kneeling at her feet cannot be expressed. The graces she granted me so moved me that my happiness found expression only in tears, just as on the day of my First Communion.”

Here’s a photo and video from the limestone archives from inside the cathedral. Coffee and books will feature prominently in this long post and I spent many weekends at Bar du Moulin (right next door to the cathedral) sipping coffee and reading in the shadow of Our Lady.

Metz & Auxerre
My first trip outside of Paris was to Metz via Gare de l’Est. The goal of my weekend excursion was a football match between FC Metz and FC Lorient. This photo of Stade Saint-Symphorien is one of my favorites. I was able to the explore the stadium the day before the match completely unmolested and the walk from Gare de Metz to Stade Saint-Symphorien follows the beautiful Moselle. Don’t miss the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains, Cathedral of Saint Stephen of Metz (Good Lord’s Lantern), and Temple Neuf. When you need a little caffeine and rest find La Moselle. It’s one of three really exceptional cafés discovered on these trips. The others being Foliage Café in Bristol and The Caféothèque of Paris.

My second excursion was a day trip to Auxerre for a football match. I was perched outside the stadium early enough to see the club arrive via bus.

Southampton
I returned to the US via Southampton and London. A brief summary of my trip was captured in Southampton, P2. One of the highlights was my visit to the Solent Sky Museum and it’s featured in a documentary about the Spitfire on Netflix. I was also there for a football match at St. Mary’s.

>> Related: Southampton, P1

Belgium
I took two really great weekend trips outside of France during my assignment in Paris. The first was to the Orval Abbey in Belgium whilst the second was to Trier in Germany. I took the train from Paris to Luxembourg for both and then rented a car. The Orval Abbey and St. Joseph’s both share a Cistercian and Trappist history. I stayed at the Hotel Le Florentin and it’s one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed at (not exaggerating). The area around Florenville is also very pastoral / bucolic.

I was back in NYC in June for the Kingdom Hearts World Orchestra and the highlight was meeting Yoko Shimomura!

One perk of this assignment was the opportunity to celebrate two national holidays within ten days of each other on two different continents / countries— Independence Day and Bastille Day. I have never seen better fireworks than the ones in Paris (and having the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop just adds to the pageantry). I also had access to a special viewing section (long story for another post).

Angers
One of my last weekend trips in France was to Angers to see newly promoted FC Metz get steamrolled by Angers SCO. The city follows the contours of the Maine. The area around the Château d’Angers offers excellent vistas and don’t miss the Tapestry of the Apocalypse within the castle. The Crêperie du Château is a nice break from adventuring, and I’m NOT a foodie so its inclusion in this post is significant. You could also spend a half-day taking photos in the narrow streets around the creperie.

Trier & Luxembourg City
My trip to Trier was just before the end of my assignment and included a football match between Eintracht Trier and TuS Koblenz. I also revisited Porta Nigra (was there once upon a time). I spent the night at the BECKERS Hotel and Restaurant and you can see vineyards from the property.

Some poor planning on my part resulted in almost a full day in Luxembourg City (kind of a happy accident) which included a self-guided tour of Saint Michael’s (the oldest Catholic Church in Luxembourg City) and a stroll through the Parcs de la Pétrusse.

TWA Hotel and Walt Disney World
I spent a night at the TWA Hotel at JFK in September with my brother en route to Walt Disney World. I’m not going to write about the latter because it’s getting much more difficult to see any trace of Walt Disney. The restoration of Eero Saarinen’s Bird Terminal on the other hand will result in an architectural and historical sensory overload. We spent most of the night just wandering around the hotel taking photographs. I wish Disney would restore Tomorrowland to its original Saarinen-like design.

>> Up, Up and Away with TWA (Flickr Album)

New York
I did return to Paris for one final sprint but work obligations made any weekend excursions difficult. The end of my assignment and return to the US coincided with the start of hockey season (AHL/NHL) and a concert at Lincoln Center/David Geffen Hall. I went home to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum a couple days before my birthday to see the Isles (founded in 1972) play the Arizona Coyotes. The Isles WON 4-2 and I caught a puck in the third period.

Fun Fact: I saw the North Carolina Hurricanes (Hartford Whalers) defeat the Arizona Coyotes on 12/16/2018 3-0 on my first trip to Raleigh.

London and Bristol
I finished Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History sometime in the summer (no doubt at Bar du Moulin in the shadow of Our Lady) and was enamored by a painting depicting one of the important battles. My trip to London in November included a day trip to the Guildhall Art Gallery to see the painting Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar, 1782 by John Singleton Copley. I also rode the Mail Rail at the Postal Museum. IF you are not claustrophobic (and love trains) this tour / museum should be managed on your itinerary like expedited first class. I also went to the London Transport Museum for some gift shopping and left with British Rail Architecture 1948-1997 by David Lawrence for the limestone library. I haven’t finished the book yet but quotes are appearing in posts and correspondence to friends. I was so inspired by a passage about an experimental station that I’m managing something similar in my backyard (in miniature of course).

I left London for Bristol via Waterloo Station. The highlight of this trip was the Foliage Café and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The weather was really (really) lousy but I was still able to explore the city by foot. Make sure to explore Giant’s Cave. If you fancy vinyl there’s a Rough Trade on Nelson Street.

Paris Closing Notes
A quick list of my favorite places and things in Paris not mentioned in the body of the post:
RATP / Châtelet / Paris Métro
La Défense
Saint Joseph’s
Hôtel de Ville
Ashiana (Indian Restaurant)
Au Plat d’Etain
Gare de Bercy/Gare de l’Est/Gare Montparnasse
Jardin du Luxembourg/Jardin des Tuileries (Big Wheel on Place de la Concorde)
The Abbey Bookshop
Marché couvert les Enfants Rouges
Cinq Fois Plus
The Musée de l’Orangerie
Grand Palais
La Caisses de Bières
Arc de Triomphe
Sacré-Cœur
La Droguerie
Le BHV Marais (Caran d’Ache)
Atelier des Lumières
Marche aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux

Companion Books and Music
Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History by Roy Adkins and Lesley Adkins
Absolutely on Music: Conversations Haruki Murakami with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa
Orval: Histoire de la reconstruction de l’abbaye by Danièle Henky and Èric Hance
British Rail Architecture 1948-1997 by David Lawrence
The Baroque Oboe: Harold Gomberg performs Vivaldi, Telemann and Handel; Seiji Ozawa conducting the Columbia Chamber Orchestra with the Gomberg Baroque Ensemble

Weekend 379.0 (Ice is forming on the tips of my wings…)

(1) Stunning Photos of Trains Roaring Through Picturesque Landscapes (My Modern Met)

Some of these photographs remind me of the Yellow Train by Francois Roca.

(1a) Flashback: Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival

(2) Brightline Brings High-Speed Trains To Florida: The 125-mph Brightline trains will be the first privately run passenger service to debut in over 100 years (The Drive)

Channeling Henry Flagler?

*Scan is from The Art of Makoto Shinkai

Weekend 377.1

I thought I was a decent curator until I heard Faith Salie on Sunday Morning. She’s tough, but I agree with her.

I have a scanner now (ditched the printer) and have been thinking about a project using books from the limestone library. I was thinking about one scan a week or one post a month themed around Disney (shocker).

I finished restoring 5620. You can see photos here. I have a fairly ambitious backstory and photo shoot planned but it will have to wait for warmer weather. The find comes courtesy of mom (and brother) at a tag sale. It’s a fairly rare model (although the market collapsed after it was reissued a couple of years ago in green). I had to find an engine cover (30 23 3662 / 30 23 3642) and radiator/lights (30 64 1360) as part of the restoration.

These days I also have Gotham/Metropolis/The Big Apple on the mind. It was probably caused by re-reading the Great Gatsby or rumors of a special-edition NYC Brompton (confirmed). Maybe it’s just the excitement of seeing In Transit in a couple of weeks. Either way, one of my resolutions for 2017 is to spend more time exploring the city via cycle/subway/foot before the option becomes a geographical improbability.

(1) Artist Tyrus Wong’s remarkable life (CBS Sunday Morning)

(2) See How ‘Rogue One’ Brought Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia to Life (Yahoo!)

Weekend 274.0 (Baskets Encouraged)

Finished A History of Capitalism According to the Jubilee Line by John O’Farrell and The 32 Stops by Danny Dorling. The latter is a clever work using facts to provide insights into the human geography of London along the Central Line.

Also, finished A Northern Line Minute by William Leith last night. It was like method acting (in book form) in preparation for the lead in a biopic on Woody Allen.

*Updated graphic!

(1) Heathrow’s Future Is Up in the Air: Debate Over Expansion vs. Building a New Airport (WSJ)

(2) Railroad company logo design evolution: 100 logos from American and Canadian railroad companies

(3) That time a giant airship darkened Toronto’s skies

(4) These Bikers Race for Last Place: Cyclists say slow riding is response to hard-core fitness world (WSJ)

“Cyclists who are looking for tough workouts have plenty of company. But for other bikers, that is just not how they roll. Instead, they are meandering over to ‘slow-bike’ clubs that are cropping up around the country. There was even a Slow Bike Race last month in Newburyport, Mass. The last one to cross the finish line won.”

“In 2011, she [Molly Peterson] launched the Slow Bicycle Society on the Eastern Shore, an Alabama club with 100 members and a mission statement: ‘No Spandex needed!’ In Tennessee, the Murfreesboro Slow Ride Cyclists, which formed two months ago, calls itself ‘a never-get-left-behind fun bicycling group’ with ‘baskets encouraged.’

(4a) Orange Bike Pron

(4b) Fluttering About: the Papillionaire Sommer (Lovely Bicycle!)

(5) Bonzart Ampel Tilt-Shift Camera: Fun With Tilt-Shift: The Ampel isn’t the only camera you’ll ever need, but it might be the most entertaining (WSJ)

(6) The Autobiography of George Orwell: The author of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” disdained biographers, so we must rely on his correspondence for insights into his work and life. (WSJ – Registration Required)

(6a) George Orwell from ‘On a Ruined Farm near the His Master’s Voice Gramophone Factory’ (1933)

There, where the tapering cranes sweep round,
And great wheels turn, and trains roar by
Like strong, low-headed brutes of steel —
There is my world, my home; yet why

So alien still? For I can neither
Dwell in that world, nor turn again
To scythe and spade, but only loiter
Among the trees the smoke has slain.

(7) A Writer’s Daily Bread: J.F. Powers made great fiction from the mundane obstacles and triumphs of everyday life (WSJ)

From the ‘Son of a Florist’ files…

(8) A Rothko-Inspired Flower Arrangement (WSJ)

(9) Tidying up loose ends…

(a) You Can Do Anything: Must Every Kids’ Movie Reinforce the Cult of Self-Esteem? (The Atlantic)

(b) The Innovation of Loneliness