London is a beauty – busy streets, neon lights, the hustle and bustle constantly surrounding everything within its social sphere. But after a month of being in the city, trying new things non-stop, my country soul needed a break from the bright haze of a city that never sleeps. So when a few of my new friends said they were going to Dover, I jumped at the opportunity.
I grew up in a very small town at the edge of Wyoming, nearly to the Nebraska border. My hometown is so small, we have to drive half an hour, out of state, to buy socks. There is only one university in my entire state, and the nearest international airport is a three hour drive away. London, being so big you could live here and never see it all, was quite the shock to me.
Dover or the Rockies?
Thankfully, there’s a lot to do in England and Great Britain that isn’t in the city – Dover being one of them. So, my roommates and friends found some bus tickets and hopped on. Two and a half hours later, we were in a small town that reminded me more of home than London ever will. The bus dropped us off at a small station, one with no indoors and no toilets, and drove away, leaving us to wander the cliffs and town at will.
In Dover, much unlike London, you do not need to find a crossing to cross the street. There is no reason to read the ground to see which way you will need to look first. No air of tourist traps, no want of flashy signs or extravagant shows to attract the crowds. There was a JD Wetherspoons free house, a few small shops, and the walk to the cliffs or castle. Simple and to the point.
As the group of us walked, first across roads, along highways, and under bridges, I found myself feeling like I was no longer in Great Britain, but back in the Rocky Mountains so familiar to my home. The weather wasn’t the same – the cliffs were misty and chilled, and low clouds hung for most of the afternoon – but the feeling of a small mountain town was surrounding me in a way I hadn’t felt since stepping on the plane in Denver.
The White Cliffs
We hiked up and up, first along a path towards a welcome center, and then out onto the cliffs. The hills reminded me almost instantly of home – green and rolling, almost infinite in the way they were laid out before me.
When we reached the first look out, it wasn’t only the wind taking my breath away – there we were, right alongside the ocean, being sprayed with the mist as waves crashed against the rocky beach below. Dover may have felt like a Colorado or Wyoming town, but it most certainly wasn’t. The cliffs stood out against the crashing sea, and I felt how small I truly was compared to the ancient world we live in.
I have enjoyed my time in London but I find myself missing the stretching, never ending land in Wyoming. I can drive the two hours to my university and never see another car; in London I can’t walk to the bus station without seeing at least twenty. It’s an adjustment I have loved making, however Dover reminded me that I truly love the open space and nature that surrounds me back home.
If you want to get out of the city, I would recommend Dover as a wonderful day trip. It is beautiful and refreshing, a wonderful photo opportunity and a great way to get your daily steps in. As my friend on the trip said, “Dover? I hardly know her!” I think we should all get to know her if possible, if you know what I mean.
Megan is a Sophomore from the University of Wyoming studying in London with an AIFS Customized Faculty-Led program this Spring. As an English major she is ready to explore the great range of literary history that Europe has to offer!