Baffled by circumstances, Christmas and other influences, the chance of actually walking or taking a trip out were limited during the last few months so when January arrived, the floods abated a little but the rain still pounding down we took off to Rochester to have a look at the museum.
A great place to go on a wet day, and great place to visits anyway. It is free and interesting with local history and the inevitable tribute to Dickens. There is also a Hulk Experience tracing the history of the Medway Prison hulks – the link to Great Expectations.
Park in one of the car parks for a price that doesn’t need a mortgage and take a wander. There is the castle, the Cathedral and of course the many shops and places of historical interest. This wet afternoon we were looking for a dry place hence the museum and discovered a gem.
We decided that the following saturday, a crisp, sunny day would warrant another visit, so parking in the same car park we took off along the high street, wandered along and generally explored toward the bridge maybe intending to clamber around the castle and look into the cathedral. Instead we walked across the bridge to Strood.
We don’t like Strood finding depressing and dirty.
We walked along canal street following the Saxon Shore way and the river. True the high rise blocks of flats are depressing and so is the abandoned buildings, such as the old Canal Pub and the neglected cafe, the fencing around the industrial sites are ugly as is the factory estate buildings but at least there is a sense of the river and its trade, the proximity of the city and the busy railway.
We discovered the Riversid(e) Tavern – the ‘e’ lost in the storm – and enjoyed a coffee as well as realising that the place could be a nice place to stop.
From there we wandered up to Frindsbury Church on the hill and discovered footpaths leading from the Saxon Shore way that were worth exploring. The church was impressive and we saw some old houses including the old parsonage and magnificent barn on the way. The views over Rochester and the Medway are impressive and worth a look. The only drawback was the amount of dog shit laying on the paving and on or near the pathways. It seems that Strood and Frindsbury people do not like picking up their pet’s turds.
However, we saw some swans, took snaps of the submarine laying in the water and on the mud and had a pleasant afternoon walk in a place we have not before explored. We found an interesting place from where we could possibly explore afresh and learn about a place that evidently has a maritime history we knew nothing of.
The canal itself is enough but it seems that Strood was a busier place than we expected, although we should have thought so really considering that no town on the Medway could possibly be there without utilising the waterway. The pictures in the Riversid(e) Tavern were enlightening.
Go there, see it, have lunch there on a nice day or a drink in the evening and enjoy. Also see how the Medway Towns is attempting to enhance the riverside. A bit dull at the moment due to a lack of trees but maybe somebody will see the light and plant a few and allow some river businesses to flourish. Who knows?
Returning to Rochester we decided to have a snack – a late lunch – and trying to avoid pubs we had to search for a cafe as many were full or booked. Now that is a good sign. There was plenty of people shopping and visiting which has a lot to do with the attraction of the city and maybe also something to do with the price of parking.