Friday, September 19, 2014

England - Day 6 - 7

Traveling from Nottingham to Canterbury was quite easy as I get more and more comfortable with the driving. We traveled up the main motorway, drove along the northern side of London to the eastern side of the city and crossed over the Thames (Dartford Crossing - Queen Elizabeth II bridge). The camera was out of power and it was a bit misty anyway, so no pics.

The drive the Canterbury was pleasant; once again, an old town has old streets and limited parking...we could not find the correct place to park at the hotel, so we found a car park where a very nice car washer helped us immensely...we were then helped by another nice citizen directing through the crowd on High Street to get to our hotel which is smack in the middle of the business district. We got an updated postal code to plug into the GPS to get us a bit closer and we then were ushered into the parking lot (after calling the front desk to come out and unlock it) - all the while, cars squeezing by on a one way street. I will say - drivers here are crazy and the streets suck, but they are great and maneuverability.

Checked in - to a large room with AIR CONDITIONING. Best hotel so far, though the staff are bit aloof and not at all as friendly as the other two - we are a bit lower class than the normal clientele I think, but the place is nice. Our view is right out to the main drag that is nothing but shops and restaurants for at least a mile; and right around the corner from the cathedral.

Talked to the kids via Google Hangout which was nice...planning on talking to them again tonight.

Woke up in the AM and we got breakfast - continental with cereals, pastries, fruits, cheese, toast and some wonderful coffee.

We then made our way to the Cathedral for a few hours. We saw plenty of stained glass and read about a lot of the history of the place. It was massive and quite stunning - the pictures do not do it justice. A few kings are buried there; Thomas Becket is also buried there (and was murdered there), After the cathedral, we walked across to the ruins of the original Normal castle that was built after the invasion in 1066 - not much left of it as it was torn down and used for other purposes over the years - only a shell of it remains.

Original location of the shrine to Thomas Becket
The candle is where the shrine to Becket was placed until it was ordered to be destroyed by King Henry VIII.

Old Norman Castle Ruins
Picked up some lunch at an Italian place, and then organized our late afternoon 'Punting' trip down the River Stour learning about the history of the city and some of the architecture. The river that surrounds the city was originally expanded to be a water system by the pre-Roman Anglo Saxons that lived here. The river is currently covered on the bottom with debris/bricks from the buildings that were bombed by the Germans in WWII.

Our Guide - Sam at Canterbury Punting Company

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