Early on Wednesday morning, we caught a train from
Charing Cross. It's just a bit over an hour ride through the English
countryside, and you're in historic Hastings on the south coast.
Matt, John, Jon and Nick are more interested in
the paper than the scenery on the way south to Hastings...
|It's a short walk from
the railway station down to the shore and the Old Town, where you can
pick up the West Hill Lift - a funicular railway up to Castle
||Castle Hill provides a
grand view of the Old Town.
|Our first stop was the
Smuggler's Adventure, a series of caves used by smugglers over the
centuries to store goods shipped over from France across the Channel.
The caves were also used as a bomb shelter during the Second World
At right, John and David spend time in the stocks with an
||After the Smuggler's
Adventure we followed a steep path downhill to the Old Town for lunch.
Note to other Americans: a "Bat Sausage" is a sausage
covered in batter (hold the wings and fangs).
The Old Town is a bit touristy, but nicer than most and very
|After lunch we climbed
back up the path to the Castle, which was built by William the Conqueror
not long after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, to help hold his newly
acquired kingdom. There's not a lot left of the Castle - much of the
area has long since been eroded away over the cliff.
The Battle of Hastings wasn't actually in Hastings, but in the
village of Battle, six miles away. "The Battle of Battle"
just doesn't have the same ring to it, though...
||We rode the West Hill
Lift back down to Old Town, then walked along the seashore to the
Left: the Net Shops, tall and thin buildings where fishermen
hung their nets, line much of the seashore east of the amusement
|At the eastern end of the
seaside is the Stade, a shingle beach which houses England's biggest
beach-launched fishing fleet.
With tides averaging more than twenty-five feet, building piers to
dock your fishing boats was probably a bit problematic in years past,
so they simply put skids under the boats and launched and recovered
the boats from the beach itself.
||To launch a boat, you
simply push on the bow with a bulldozer until the boat floats away
(and the bulldozer is nearly submerged).
The boats are recovered by being run onto the shore at full speed (below,
left). Then a cable is attached to the bow, and the boat is
winched slowly up the shingle until it's safely above the high-tide
line (below, right).
||We arrived back in London
too early to bunk in for the night, so we walked up to Piccadilly
Circus to see the bright lights and crowds. The Scouts did some
shopping (English Football shirts and the Virgin Megastore) while
Jerry and I found a doughnut shop and had $6.00 bottles of Snapple
(the exchange rate was really rough). As we waited for the Scouts a
crowd of roller-bladers poured by around the Circus.