Day 23. London to Wye in Sussex

One of the old family homes – Leeds Castle

After sleeping so well in a midgets room we’re off early again, “adventure before dementia” The Navigator has on her bag. We wrestle the bags down the skinny stairs, then into the grubby early morning foggy London Streets to Kings Cross St Pancras to brave the Tube, with full travelling kit, to Victoria Station.

A little stressful on the crowded tube train when some wanker tries to get on too late and the doors jam. The driver puts a message over to that effect but meanwhile, for a short time we’re in a steaming hot, blacked out Tube train while they are trying to reset the doors. Luckily it all works out and we’re at Victorian Station, The South Eastern Line area waiting for our train out to Mainstone, a Macca’s breakfast is the go while we wait.

There is hardly anybody on the train so the conductor chats to us the whole way to Maidstone East where we are to pick up our hire care at Europcar. A short walk to the car hire offices and they have a small problem with our allocated car showing a service message so they ask us if we’re ok to upgrade to new Mercedes 300d sedan rather than the wagon they had allocated. Unfortunatley our eyes weren’t calibrated too well and we couldn’t fit our bags in the boot so they give us a Mercedes 200 Station wagon – we say “That’ll do!” A bit later we’re sitting in the car park trying to work out what all the Merc knobs and wheels do, where are the gears. Eventually we get under way, they first stop planned is Leeds Castle.

We have the car GPS running with Google maps on a phone, so confusion initially means we drive down a few dry gullies, but it works out. We make it to Leeds Castle, which is not in Leeds city up north its near Leeds village in Kent. This castle was built with many and varied versions starting in 857 ad, in the 13th century my 20 something great grandfather Edward I (aka Edward Longshanks) used it as his favourite residence, It the 16th century Henry VIII used it as the residence of his first wife Catherine of Arragon. The gardens and surrounds are stunning and beautiful, befitting its long and illustrious history.

Getting better at the driving and navigating we skop the edges of Canterbury and head to Dover for a look at the White Cliffs of Dover. Dover is the busiest sea passenger terminal in the world, or so the internet says. The ferries are coming in and out, the seas are choppy and sloppy, it blowing a gale, not a day to be on the English Channel. Abover Dover sits the imposing Dover Castle. We have a large lunch/afternoon tea and walk along the cliffs and are nearly blown off the wind is so strong.

We drive down the coast to to Rye where we have a B&B booked for the next 2 nights, a little down time tomorrow to catch up after the recent hectic pace, we’re all a bit tired.

Its a lovely drive down the coast, the Merc is lovely to drive and sticks to the road like the proverbial sh.t to a blanket in the drizzling rain and howling wind. I think the 300D would have been super cool to drive though. Oh well maybe next time.

Our B&B is on West Street, Rye. Rye is in Sussex, on the sea, its an old town with a lovely vibe. There’s Dennis Denuto from The Castle again!

Dinner is at a pub reccomended by our host, the Standard Inn which is about 150 yards away. The place is packed, its warm, no, hot inside in the way of English places, always hotter than they need to be. We have a few drinks and 3 of us have pies and Genelle has fish and chips. We chat to a couple of gay blokes (pretty sure they were) and a young couple from London (he’s a lawyer and she works for Christies in the fine arts sales area)

A great night, after a walk home in the rain its a good nights sleep thats needed.

Cherio from Rye in Sussex, England – Pauolo


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