We had another good day. The weather has improved and that certainly helps.
We took a fast train from London’s St Pancras station to Canterbury. “Fast” is relative, I suppose. At one point the app I use to keep track of our location said we were going 131 mph. That’s not slow, but we’ve gone faster. From the Canterbury station it is just a few minutes to the cathedral.
What we saw of the area looked like an interesting combination of old and new. There were not a lot of new buildings, but there were many modern shops in those old buildings. We saw many of the same restaurants as we see in London, for example. Abby and Patricia did some window shopping on the way to our tour so that they would be prepared on the way back.
We had set up a walking tour of Canterbury and it turned out to be really useful. There were 12 people in our group—about 5 of them were kids—and David, the guide, delivered his information in a way that included the young people. He invited questions and usually had the answers. He explained the history of Canterbury succinctly with an emphasis the successive waves of invasions and on the political and religious tensions. As we moved from location to location, he pointed out architectural construction and design as well explaining many place names.
Once he had helped us locate ourselves in terms of time and place, we went on to the grounds of the Cathedral. David then talked about the history the cathedral itself. One of the big events in that history, of course, was the murder of Thomas Becket. I thought he did a good job of explaining why the murder happened and what some of the consequences were. We did not go into the cathedral, but we did walk around the grounds and through the cloister before exploring more of the city. The tour was supposed to last about 90 minutes but David kept thinking of things to tell us, so it went somewhat over.
After the tour broke up, David kindly walked us to a portion of the Roman wall simple because Abby and Patricia asked about it. Then he recommended a restaurant and walked us to that. The restaurant served Mexican food, but its name was Café les Amis du Mexique (French). The food was very good, the atmosphere was pleasant, and the service was very good.
We walked back to the cathedral for a relatively short visit. The scale is immense and to me the age (like Salisbury and Westminster) adds an extra element of wonder; how did they build something like this? In this case, just to make it harder during the rebuilding starting in 1070, all the stone was shipped from France and brought up the river and then carted to the building site.
The furnishings / decorations are spare. The painted or stained glass is beautiful. We spoke to a couple of docents who told us more about the history of the cathedral and its construction. For example, we learned, that the east end of the coronet was raised above the middle and west parts as an explicit reference to Becket who, by this time, had been sainted. We took lots of pictures, but as usual, the pictures can only hint at the space and light.
Patricia and Abby had time to do their shopping on the way back to the train station. Our trip back to London and the apartment was as smooth as could be imagined.
Abby’s contribution for today…
Today was great! We went to a cathedral in Canterbury. It was awesome! It was really intricate, and the corona was really cool to see. It had a lot of stained glass, and it was beautiful! There was a really pretty orange one, and it was stunning! That was my favorite. We went on a fun walking tour too. It was very informative! I enjoy seeing all the flowers around, especially tulips, roses, and daffodils. We checked out a few stores after leaving the cathedral. Grandpa got some fudge, specifically honeycomb fudge and some other fudge that may or may not have had raisins in it. They were super tasty! I ducked into a thrift shop, and I got a cute little egg cup, a box that’s no longer than your pinky finger, and a jewelry holder that looks a bit like a mannequin (I named her Cassie). I’m really pleased with them. I had a splendid day. I really enjoyed walking around Canterbury with Nana and Grandpa. It was awesome, and I would love to come back there again.
Added several pictures to the pictures page.
Below is the track of our day. You’ll need to scroll and zoom in on Canterbury (way to the right) to see where we walked.