“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other, doesn’t make any sense.” -Rumi

This poem resounded in my head all throughout Friday as I climbed the truly majestic White Cliffs of Dover. There are no words in the English language to describe the beautiful display of nature that I encountered on that day.

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Although I did enjoy London immensely, I found that it felt cramped and claustrophobic after a few days. When I stepped off the train in the small, seaside town of Dover, I immediately felt like I could fully stretch for the first time in days. London is full of vibrant, colorful people and places. I can almost feel the history embedded in museum exhibits and most of the buildings. But sometimes a person just wants simplicity and a chance to catch their breath and breath in air that isn’t polluted by cars, buses, and trash piled on the sidewalk. Dover gave me a chance to do exactly that.

Unlike the Atlantic coast in America, England’s Atlantic coast smelled salty, but very fresh. And even though the town is mainly a tourist attraction, I found that the town and even the Cliffs were not crowded. It was very pleasant to get out of busy London and have a lazy, although short, holiday at the coast.

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Ralph Emerson once said that “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey” that matters. Well, I would have to agree. Partly. I believe the journey is more important than the destination, but I think that before all else, it’s the people that go with you. I know that my trip to Dover (or London) would not have been as exciting and memorable if not for the people that came with me. Having high tea on top of the White Cliffs of Dover would just have been boring and lonely without my three companions to make me laugh. Without them I probably would not have appreciated the complete splendor that surrounded me and would have, instead, been wallowing in self-pity.

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From Left to Right: Hannah, Camille, Tristan, Moriah 

London afforded me many opportunities to get lost, get turned around, and be found again, but Dover gave me a chance to slow down and appreciate the glorious day around me. I didn’t have a train to catch or a destination to be. I just had a few close friends, a shining sea, and some pretty awesome White Cliffs.IMG_2139

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To Chelsea We Go

In the neighborhood of Chelsea, there is a magnificent garden. The Chelsea Physic Garden is the oldest botanical garden in London. It houses medicinal, edible, and astetically pleasant plants from several different climate zones. We wandered around the garden like two fairies blessing the flowers in Spring. Be aware, though, there are poisonous plants that you cannot touch (hint: I touched one).

After the garden, we traveled to the Victoria and Albert museum and had a lovely, late lunch at the cafe. Then, we explored the Medieval attractions. There were at least three large rooms filled with ceramics which I found a little extra. We left the museum and walked a few short blocks to the famous department store that is known as Harod’s. I did not like this mall. I felt out of place and uncomfortable due to the extravagance of the stores.

In general, I found that there are many people who stare at me, almost as if they know I am American. This, too, makes me uncomfortable. I noticed that pedestrians do not wave to thank drivers when walking across the road. I had always assumed having manners was an international expectation. I assumed wrongly.

In retrospect, I find that the day has been very satisfactory. I explored a wonderful little part of town and found that a place of such famous reputation is overly exaggerated in its greatness.