The Canterbury Tales
After a bit of an AM fiasco yesterday (missed the 930A bus that we had booked), Rita, Austin, H., Cosima and I managed to get on the 1030A coach to Canterbury to get the proverbial ball rolling. Let me just say, I secretly wished that my high school English teacher (Mrs. Thompson, if you’re reading this, you’ll be proud!) could see me jetting off on the coach to see the site of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and, more importantly, the site of the beheading/martyrdom of Archbishop Thomas Becket (c.1170). We ended up snagging tickets for £14.20 round trip from London Victoria Station to Canterbury (although we ended up paying a premium for missing our first bus, but I digress); definitely a good deal for all the fun that ensued on our historical excursion. Yesterday also marked Austin’s 25th birthday so it was doubly amazing!
Being that I live in London, we don’t get much of the British countryside during our escapades. Traveling through Kent was definitely a cool experience — we finally got to see some quintessentially British homes, land and architecture.
On our way to the bus stop in Canterbury, we passed by a pretty sweet Castle-esque structure. I think it’s ruins of an old castle (Norman Castle, perhaps?) but I only got a glimpse of it on the way in so I didn’t get to investigate. Still, pretty cool:
Our main objective was to see the Canterbury Cathedral, which dates back to 597AD. I think part of my desire to see the town was from reading Chaucer’s work in high school, but there is something pretty amazing about walking through a Cathedral that was constructed 1000+ years ago. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get to do that every day.
Rita and I were pretty pumped about checking out the Cathedral — even the entrance was amazing! They, of course, charge an admission fee. £6.50 if you’re a student, £7.50 for adults. We tried to pass for a ‘family’ wherein we could all enter for £21.50, but none of us could pass for under 16s and H had a particularly hard time passing as my 24 year-old Asian father (it was worth a shot). Even having to pay the fee, the place was worth it. Simply spectacular. The outside of it (see below) was astounding and the inside housed some amazing history.
This vicious looking piece was erected to recognize where Thomas Becket was beheaded… or at least where they tell us he was beheaded. I’m gonna take their word for it because I would have no idea based on historical fact.
After enjoying the Cathedral and checking out the Tombs of Archbishop William Courtenay and King Henry IV and his wifey, we headed to check out the grounds — so pretty!
As luck (and my planning skills) would have it, Kent’s International Arts Festival started yesterday, so we were able to check out some cool art and some fun little stands dotting the streets — paella by the bucketful, cupcakes bigger than my head and homemade fudge! Plus, we ran into a number of old restaurants and shops that have been around since 1500 (some from earlier). The doors and ceilings are so low!
After enjoying Canterbury, we ended up at a little pub called the City Arms Inn where we found pitchers of cocktails for £9! Rita and I shared a pitcher of Sex on the Beach while we waited for our bus, and H & Austin shared a pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea!
All in all, it was a super fun day trip and a fun way to celebrate Austin’s birthday (hopefully he felt the same way)! After having such a good time, we’ve decided that day trips to Bath & Stonehenge, Oxford, Cambridge and Brighton are in order! National Express makes getting there so cheap with their ‘fun fares’ that it makes staying indoors seem like such a waste of a perfectly good weekend!
Hope everyone else’s weekend was eventful!
Lots of love,
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