Why have a celebration dinner when you could have a celebration day trip? I always promised to go big or go home.
In April, after months of fruitless searching, I managed to convince someone to hire me in a job that is not retail, quite unbelievably. To celebrate, we decided to take ourselves off to the coast for the day, selecting Camber Sands for its golden coastline and proximity to Rye, Sussex – a little chocolate box village in the south that I had wanted to visit for many years.
The train from Kings Cross was just a little under two hours with a stop off in Ashford, Essex. A return cost us £36.
Rye, upon arrival, looks like any small UK town but once you climb the small hill leading from the station, the beautiful “chocolate box” village reveals itself. Its pretty cobbled streets and independent stores and cafés feel magical, like something out of Harry Potter.
There is also a beautiful street clearly named after my family…
This is where our genius failed. Unlike in London where stops are read out, we saw one bus stop for Dungeness but thought it might go another bus stop a bit closer. It did not. It went further and further up the Kent coast, heading onwards… to Dover.
At this point we sprang out and waited for a bus going the opposite way. An elderly lady informed us she had been waiting for forty five minutes and had already missed her doctor’s appointment. We’re not in London anymore where a wait of anything more than two minutes is proof of TfL’s incapability. When the lady began to head home, that was our cue to also begin walking to … somewhere, by foot. We figured that if we managed it in Asia, we could manage it down the East England coast.
Everywhere began to get farther and farther away, but we found beaches to walk down and parks to play in.
The first beach was on St. Mary’s Bay. There was something oddly very brutalist and communist-era about it, and not the best way to prove to an Italian that England has nice coastline. The coastal air was a pleasant change from the stuffy, sticky city pollution and that had to count for something, right?
Another thing we really liked was that everyone we passed was so charming and polite. They let us pet their tiny dogs, and were friendly enough to say hello and have a nice day, whereas in London that kind of behaviour would have you knifed.
The park was not too far out of Littlestone, and I am slowly learning that parks have come a long long way since my childhood years of hurtling down a metal slide and getting friction burn on my ass. Nearby this park were adorable little colourful beach huts that made for a great photo op.
Whilst playing in this park, we saw the exact bus we needed to take to get to Dungeness, but faced with a choice between running for the bus or having another go on the slide, we chose the slide.
Finally, we arrived at an inn where we could eat fish and chips and see Dungeness from a short distance. The portion of fish and chips was enormous, especially for bellies that are used to London portions.
Having learned our lesson, we were on time to catch the buses back to Rye, where we took a slow stroll around the town as the sun set.
We didn’t do what I had earmarked for us to do at all. We saw neither of the beaches we had planned, but we saw most of the East Sussex and Kent coast anyway. It showed me that my plans may change, but this isn’t a bad thing when we get to see beautiful parts of the country anyway.
Here are some more pictures from our visit!