I've owed this blog post for a few days now, so I apologise for the delay to my fans :) On Thursday my boyfriend took me to Canterbury to see the cathedral for my recent birthday, which also gave me the opportunity to break out the camera and take some snaps!
Canterbury in itself is a nice place to walk around. There's a lot of old and, in cases such as the pub above, rather unique buildings to see as you wander along. Quite a few are half-timbered ones from the Tudor period, in a few places one or two looked a little more Georgian in design. The side streets are quite narrow with the buildings overhanging, basically how London used to be before the center burned to the ground in the 1600's.
There's also a river running through it, although I can't for the life of me remember which one (actually I've just Wikipedia'ed it and it's the River Stour, I'm very glad I didn't try to claim it was the Thames XD) and some of the buildings literally overhang the water instead of the street.
The cathedral itself is beautiful. There's the usual intricate carvings and high-vaulted roofs, but there's also a lot of lovely stained glass including some along the windows right at the top of the roof (which must be difficult to clean, even with scaffolding!) and a lot of carved marble memorials along the inside walls. Jon pointed out that a lot of them were for members of the armed forces but thinking about it that doesn't surprise me too much, soldiers were far more likely to die abroad so their families didn't have a grave to visit, but a memorial in their home town acted as a marker that connected their family to the deceased and ensured they would be remembered.
What always amazes me about these buildings is the fact that they were built entirely by hand. No power tools, no health and safety, just wood and rope scaffolding and ladders. It raises the question of just how many men died in the process of building these incredible monuments?
After we'd been around the inside (including the shrine to Thomas a Beckett, which was quite moving in a way, but I preferred the single lit candle that stands where the main shrine used to be before the Reformation) we walked around the outside as well and saw the cloisters, where Jon took the above photo. We then diverted to the nearest pub for a tasty lunch, and on our wanders visited the Roman museum, which was nice and modern but rather small and quite difficult to navigate with the school group that was there.
If anyone is thinking about visiting a nice old city then I can highly recommend Canterbury. We probably would have wandered around a bit more had not been freezing cold and drizzling, I'd also recommend visiting in the warmer months in future.
Have a nice evening everyone!