Friday, June 10, 2016

Europe Adventure: Day Four, part Four- Canterbury

After saying goodbye to Chawton and Jane Austen's beautiful home, we drove toward our final destination for the day...
It was a couple of hours to drive to Canterbury and made a lot more sense with my original trip plans but due to a plan change we would be coming back this direction again the next day which made me worried that it was dumb to go all the way to Canterbury for only one night. 
But, in the end I am SO glad we went!

Along the way I had my first experience with a large motorway. 
It was very scary. 
First of all, I did not do enough research on how to drive in England. I automatically went into the right lane thinking it was the slow lane since that is what I am used to. Then a huge semi truck came up right on my bumper and was honking at me and flashing his lights. I hurried over out of the lane as fast as I could. That was when it hit me that maybe their left lane was the slow lane since it was flipped. I drove in the left lane the rest of the drive and didn't have any more issues like that so I assumed I was correct. I later looked it up and yes, the left lane is the slow lane. 
There were so many cars as it was Friday afternoon and I was really anxious the entire time.. but later I would come to love motorways. They are actually done so well and the drivers are great compared to Utah. They pretty much stay in the slower lanes unless passing. I was hardly ever tailgated. It was great. Just this first experience was scary. 
I made us reservations at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge which meant we were staying right on the grounds of the Canterbury Cathedral!
I reserved us a room in the Annex which was a bit cheaper than the main lodge but then I started to worry that it wouldn't be very nice. 
I got lost in Canterbury (of course) and had to call the lodge to get instructions. They led me to a small private drive that I had gone by but had not noticed that came to a gate leading into the grounds of the Cathedral. 
When we arrived we parked outside the entrance to the courtyard of the lodge. 

We were kind of awestruck. To be standing in the courtyard of your hotel and turn around to see the famous Cathedral was amazing. 

I had decided to ask them if I could upgrade to a room in the main lodge but they were booked full and couldn't change us. 
The people at reception were SO nice. 
They checked us in and gave us our cool key. 

Then a couple of guys there helped us to take our bags to our room since there was no elevator in the annex. 
These rooms were cheap. I mean, just over a hundred dollars. 
The lodge wasn't much more. 
This place is a great deal and it is really nice. 
I highly recommend it. 
Like I said, I was worried about what our room would be like in the annex. 
But I shouldn't have been. 
It was really cute, clean, and comfortable. 

We settled in and then quickly went over to the Cathedral as we were hoping to make it before they closed for the night. 
Staying at the lodge grants you free access to the cathedral as well as the fact that you can walk around the grounds as late/ early as you want before opening. 

The cathedral was huge and beautiful. 
They were doing construction work on it but that didn't take away from its glory.

Then we went inside and were again blown away. 
These Cathedrals are magnificent. 

As we walked around a man approached us and asked us where we were from and introduced himself. 
He was a tour guide of the Cathedral (off duty) and asked if we were there for Evensong. 
We told him yes but we wanted to look around until it was time for it to start. 
He offered to take us around. 
It was awesome. 
He told us all of the details surrounding different areas of the Cathedral such as St. Micheal's Chapel...

He told us that Lady Margaret Holland commissioned the rebuilding of the chapel at her own expense to house the tombs of herself and her first and second husbands. The "triple tomb" is in the middle of the chapel. Lady Margaret is in the center with her first husband, John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, on her left and her second husband, Thomas, Duke of Clarence,  on her right. 
He told us that there was a tomb already in here for a man named Stephen Langton that had to be moved a few feet to make room for the special tomb. Because of this his coffin came out a few feet outside the Cathedral itself so they built the wall out around the tomb. We would go looking for that later!

I asked if we could see the place where St.Thomas Becket was murdered and the shrine for him. 
We couldn't go up to the shrine as it was almost time for Evensong to begin but I did take a picture looking up to the area.

And he took us to the spot of St.Thomas Becket's murder. 
The door from which the Knights entered the Cathedral...

St. Thomas Becket was murdered by knights of the king when they felt like he was a threat to the King. They killed him at this spot.

His death became a martyrdom and his tomb became a place of pilgrimage. Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales are stories told by a group of pilgrims traveling to the tomb of St. Thomas Becket. 
It was pretty eerie to stand there looking at the spot where he was martyred. 

He then took us around to a few more spots of interest. 
The windows in the chapter house...

He took us down the the Crypt which dates to the 11th century and showed us where the tomb of St. Thomas Becket was housed until 1220 when it was moved to the Trinity Chapel.
It was so cool down there.

To watch a cool video about the history of the Cathedral, go to my post on Scones and Crackers here.

After our tour we went up to Evensong.
I have to confess something. I recorded a minute of it.
I didn't show it. I put my phone down on the bench next to us but I just had to record just a small snippet. It was so breathtakingly beautiful.

The service was wonderful and I am so glad we were able to go to one while in England.
After exiting the Evensong service the Cathedral was closing.
We went outside and walked around the Cathedral a bit more.
We found the tomb the guide had told us about.
There it is!

We decided to go walk around Canterbury to find a place for dinner.
We walked around town looking for two tea rooms that I had heard about... but they were closed!
The pubs were all completely full. 
While the Cathedral grounds were peaceful and quiet, the main streets of old Canterbury were packed. 
And everyone was at dinner. 
This was right outside the grounds.

The gate to the grounds....

Canterbury was very cool. 

We were so tired after a while of walking around and not finding anywhere that didn't have at least an hour wait so we finally did what felt to me like the unthinkable at the time... we went to McDonalds. 
We grabbed it to go and went back to relax in our hotel room which ended up being so nice. 
I would love to go to Canterbury again someday and spend some more time. 
We watched Mockingjay part 2 on my Ipad and ate our dinner and then went to bed. 

I knew that we would need to leave really early in the morning the next day so I called reception and asked the night man how to go about checking out before lobby hours. He told us that he would be down there at that time and could check us out. He sounded just like Bert from Mary Poppins.
He asked me if we wanted some breakfast that early and I told him no, that's okay, I know that the breakfast room isn't open yet. He told me that he would open it for us and set some things out for us. 
I will show you in the next post what he did for us!

Next up: Dover


The Kings said...

Visiting the Cathedral and the spot where Becket was murdered, just seeing this beautiful place of worship was so special. I loved staying there overnight and visiting other sites.

Donna said...

I am completely awestruck by the beauty and majesty of that cathedral! What an amazing place! Your descriptions and your pictures bring it to life for those of us who haven't been fortunate enough to see it in person (yet!).

That hotel room is super-cute too.

cheryl said...

Me too Mom!

cheryl said...

Thanks Donna! I hope that I can do that with all of the trip. It was such an amazing experience and I learned so much from other people's blogs before my trip. I would love it if I can help inspire and inform as well.

Seth and Julie said...

Man, why don't we build like that anymore? Stunning! And I love the history. I think I could have been a history major if I could have gone to all the places where historical events took place. I have never read Canterbury Tales and as a lit geek, I am pretty ashamed of myself for that. I must get to it. Also, it looks like you guys were shopping in Diagon Alley in one of those pics.

cheryl said...

I know Julie! I really wish we did.
I would love to take another art history and architecture class now that I'm an adult and have been to these places. I loved my class as a teenager but I would get so much more out of it now.
There were so many places in England that reminded me of Diagon Alley! Wait until the next post and you will see the one that did the most!