Friday, September 15, 2006

Canterbury, England

I had a great time by myself on my little day trip to Canterbury. Being back in England among the student popluation of the town reminded me so much of my semester abroad in London while I was in college and the day trips we took to various places every friday. Here's the travelogue email I sent home.

Before we docked in the port of Dover, England, I had been tipped off by a couple of our British dancers, Gemma and Polly (I know--could their names be any more British?) that Canterbury is a charming town for a day trip and just a twenty minute train ride from the cruise terminal. Perfect! So, like the pilgrims in Chaucer's CANTERBURY TALES I set out for the famous cathedral which houses a shrine to Thomas Beckett who was murdered there in 1170 and since 1538 has been the head of the Anglican Church.

While an awe inspiring monument to man's devotion to God on the outside, inside Canterbury Cathedral is really pretty old and creepy. A huge crypt houses the tombs of Archbishops from as far back as the 12th century and even the remains of King Henry IV and his wife, Joan of Something-or-other with their likenesses carved in stony detail are on display for all to see. In contrast, Canterbury itself is teeming with the vitality of a college town due to the student population of its world famous university and Archbishop's School. There are dozens of pubs, coffee shops, trendy boutiques, record stores, tattoo and piercing parlors and bookstores lining the narrow streets.

The photos below are: Two exterior shots of Canterbury Cathedral, a stained-glass window from the oldest part of the cathedral (note the primitive detail of the figures), some Norman ruins on the grounds of the cathedral, student life thrives in an outdoor cafe literally just outside the gates of the cathedral, and finally ruins of the Norman castle built by William the Conqueror immediately following the Norman conquest in


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