Sunday, 1 September 2013

Whitstable, Kent

Whitstable is the Kent Coast at its finest. An Oyster town, high street dream and place of well preserved "English seaside". I first visited Whitstable two years ago, and have visited every year since. I've tried my best to organize my photos (below) in a to tell the story of our little seaside outing last Saturday, but I'm afraid to report that most of the images are out of order :/ I think I may have to start creating slideshows for this blog, there are simply too many moments to share. 

We decided pretty last minute, but alas, we were going to the sea for the day. Last Saturday morning we woke and began packing our day bags. I filled my new Canterbury fox bag with my swimsuit (just in case), camera and a few coast magazines and off we went. Surprisingly it only took us 40 min max to get to our destination and the fun began as soon as we arrived! We stopped first at a garage/antiques sale (no pictures below [yet]), and I bought a few souvenir things for my family including a few fossils. The man who sold them to me for 50p each gave me a mini lesson on how old they were (millions), what they were, and where they came from. As always, there were so many things I would have loved to buy for our future home, but I just wouldn't have been able to fit them in a suitcase. There were tons of old cameras (most of them from the 1800s), a few antique purses, bone china with gold rim, modern pillow covers printed with the London skyline and even an antique Singer sewing machine. 

After visiting the garage sale we parked the car near the high street and entered an abundance of shops and stands that stretched for more than a mile in the direction of the coast. We visited a few antique shops before grabbing lunch in an interesting Wetherspoons pub. Wetherspoons is a pub chain and most are very similar, but this one was very unique. It was like some secret 1930s club, it looked as if J. Gatsby was going to appear alongside Hollywood films stars from the 1920s, flapper girls... the whole thing. We had salad and scampi and both of us chose a blackcurrant and lemonade to go with our meals. We stuffed ourselves full before heading to the water. 

The harbor was full of tourists and locals, some of them wearing high waders and wellingtons and others designer windbreakers. Many retreating back to converted fisherman's cottages (which were being advertised at 75 pound per night) and others retreating back to their beachy homes tucked in narrow alleys where the homes had fancy nameplates etched with funny names. It how nice must be to own, or even partially own, a beach cottage at the English seaside. I explored these alleyways on my own while Julie rested on the beach. My favorite thing to do, and especially so in a place known for its nooks and crannies. I've always loved the coast. The feeling you get when your all showered, cozy and warm after you've been in the freezing cold sea-stinking water looking for creatures all day. One day Andrew and I will have a vacation cottage on the Oregon Coast and we will name it "The Sea Witch", after a cottage my family used to visit in Yachats, OR when I was very young. It will be cozy and warm, smell like salt and sand, and be decorated with Union Jack pillows and Blue Willow china... [how I miss the Oregon Coast]

Okay, back to Whitstable. 

When the sun began to go down we laid on the sand and watched parents and children try their luck at catching creatures in nets and with string off the docks. A little girl beside us protested leaving the beach and said with a small English voice "no daddy I like it" as her hands sunk deep in the sand. Seagulls yelled and the tide came in. I ran up to the Harbor area where a Mr. Whippy ice cream van and grabbed us each an ice cream oyster, our way of sharing the area's tradition. Before leaving we found a pub and ordered lattes. On the way home we spoke of how great it would be to rent a tiny Fisherman's cottage. Someday we said, someday we will. 

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