Desolation in Dover

You have not lived until you have schlepped 6 pieces of luggage from one end of Victoria Station in the middle of the night amongst travelers of distinction across the street winding through late night diners out enjoying a last minute pint or two as you gather all your reserves of energy not to look too exhausted.

Those of you that know me know that I am not too keen on dirty places or fond of using public restrooms, thus I was definitely out of my comfort zone and had been for many hours upon reaching destination 2 of our 3 destination day.

I was putting on a brave front but the idea of spending a few hours waiting for our next bus transport was putting me close to the edge of tears.

Just as Joel and I were discussing our situation we spied an Express bus unloading hours ahead of  the reservation we had so Joel approached the driver hoping there was room on the bus and room for our luggage in the cargo hold.

With a smile and thumbs up he came to rescue me from the cold hard chair in the waiting area and with a cheeky pronouncement from the driver “You got all your rubbish loaded. Right!” off to Dover we headed.

3 hours later with various stops in hidden away little villages and finally dropping off the cute generation x-er that kept up a steady stream of patter in a husky French voice we arrived after midnight in Dover.

The station was utterly and completely deserted. Devoid of any signs of ever being in operation plus it was freezing with a bitter wind randomly cutting us to the quick.

We stood dazed and bewildered. The hotel room we had booked had already warned us that check in would be impossible since there would be no one manning the reservations area and suggested we phone another hotel in the city of Folkstone.

After about an hour of shivering and scouting out the nearby area for hotels we came up with nothing just as we despaired of standing in the cold all night a couple of dock workers came strolling by on break.

They did not have their mobiles with them but promised to make a call on our behalf for a taxi once they returned to their office. 30 minutes later still no taxi. Joel found a few coins in his pocket and was able to phone the hotel which had no vacancies and for some unknown reason could not phone a taxi for us, however they did suggest another hotel which turned out to be a lifesaver.

Using his last coin and a phone call made from the red emergency phone on the wall we finally secured a taxi and away into the night we took the 20 minute drive into Folkstone.

Winding up and over the twisting path I asked the driver upon arrival if he’d remembered to leave his trail of breadcrumbs to find his way back, to which he replied he’d been driving a cab for 40 years and knew the road like the back of his hand.

South Cliff hotel in Folkstone was our home for the next 2 days and what a delightful experience we had from start to finish.

Welcomed into the hospitality of Ian at 2:30 in the morning he helped lug our baggage into the tiny lift and back again once we deemed our room too small and dismal.

He sorted out a larger room with en-suite and a balcony to which he cheerfully escorted us around and then invited us back to the lobby where he bent the rules offering to pour us a pint to help ease our way into a much needed slumber.

Joel and I huddled on the couch eating our packed lunch of cheese and crackers with two frosty British beers and fell into bed sleeping away our ravaged brains and bodies for next day’s adventure.

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