Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Holiday Begins

We timed out getaway to the northern summer very nicely as this is the weather we left on Saturday morning.  Minus 3 degrees, but oh so pretty.

Home to Felixstowe 002

Our flight over was quite good, but we were happy to finally arrive in the UK after 23 hours in the air.

Home to Felixstowe 012

Considering we have only been here for three days, we have seen and done quite a bit.  After we arrived we collected another Bathurst couple in our hire car and headed to Felixstowe, where we were to collect Olga.  We took a detour into the town of Chelmsford to get a coffee and stretch the legs and found it to be a great place to visit.  We had our first visit to an Olde English Pub “The Nag’s Head”.

Home to Felixstowe 023

There was also a small cathedral to visit (the start of an ABC tour).

Home to Felixstowe 029

Behind the Bishop’s throne there was a lovely patchwork panel.

Home to Felixstowe 042

We finally arrived at Felixstowe, which is a faded old fashioned sea side resort complete with bathing boxes beach huts.

Home to Felixstowe 074

There is also an amusement parlour on the pier.  Very glitzy, but I expect with English weather it would get lots of use.

 Home to Felixstowe 060

On Monday, after the obligatory English Breakfast we headed out to the freight depot to collect Olga.  There were heaps of bikes there being collected.

MH  Felixstow to Canterbury 009

While Mick organised reconnecting the battery I had the wonderful job of transferring all our luggage into the bike panniers and boot.  Fortunately, it all fitted.

MH  Felixstow to Canterbury 012

Then was the fun part of battling the motorways on our slow old bike.  We had hoped to avoid them, but on the first day we had to brave it to cross this bridge or we would have had to travel  way out of our way.  To our delight it was no drama at all.  The traffic went around us with no trouble.  Hopefully we can avoid the worst of them from now on.

JH Felixstowe to Canterbury 013

We did take a few wrong turns, the intercom in my helmet has a nasty crackle and Olga is idling rather fast, but we got there in the end.

“There” was Canterbury.  We had hoped to get that far, but hadn’t booked anything, just in case we didn’t make it.  I had looked at accommodation before we left home and liked the look of “Castle House Hotel”.  We found it easily and yes, they had a room for two nights.

Canterbury 009

It is aptly named as it is right next to the Norman Canterbury Castle.  See it behind the tree to the right of the castle.  It actually straddles the city wall.

Canterbury 004

We just had a wander around the town yesterday afternoon and started playing the tourist in earnest today.  We made an early start to avoid the crowds as it is a very popular destination for school excursions, mainly from France. There are hundreds of children during the day.

First stop was the Cathedral, which is the oldest in England.  It is hard to comprehend the history associated with this place.  The cathedral was actually left to go to rack and ruin after Cromwell and his cronies banned the Catholic Church and it wasn’t till Henry VIII came along that it was started to be used again.

MH Canterbury Walk Day 005

As you can see, we were pretty well the only ones there when we arrived.

MH Canterbury Walk Day 011

The altar cloth was stunning.

Canterbury 021

As was the ceiling.

MH Canterbury Walk Day 033

There is so much stunning art and craftsmanship, but so much more was destroyed by Cromwell.

Canterbury 089

It’s hard to  believe that work this detailed has lasted so long.

Canterbury 086

Of course, the maintenance is ongoing.  They are now restoring the main stained glass window.  We were talking to an archaeologist who was digging trenches for drainage works so that they could record what they dig up.  He had just discovered the remains of a burial site, which is not uncommon.

Canterbury 102

After our rather long visit to the cathedral we went and had lunch in some beautiful gardens.  It was so nice and peaceful after the hustle and bustle of the town.

Canterbury 179

After lunch we spent a very leisurely hour on one of these.  Terribly hard to take I can assure you.

Canterbury 126

It was a very different way to see the city, passing under buildings and the main High Street.

Canterbury 191

We passed the old monastery which is ancient.

Canterbury 201

Then it was the other extreme – wandering around the shops, which there are plenty of.  I finally had the chance to visit a Cath Kidston shop.  They would not allow any photos inside.  I didn’t buy anything as I just couldn’t make a decision.  I’ll get something another time.  I’m sure I’ll see more of them.

JH Felixstowe to Canterbury 033

Next we found a lovely little sewing shop and I did buy a small piece of fabric depicting English Cathedrals. 

Canterbury 239

They didn’t mind photos being taken.

Canterbury 238

It was a delightful little shop.

Canterbury 237

Of course, we had to try a different beer in an old pub while watching the world go by.

Canterbury 242

And we finished our day off by having a beautiful dinner.

Canterbury 024

The setting was the Weavers House dating from 1500.  It originally housed Flemish weavers who were refugees from the strife in Europe.  Once again, it is so hard to comprehend the age of the buildings.

JH Felixstowe to Canterbury 066

So that is where we are up to now.    Canterbury was a wonderful place to really start our holiday in earnest.  Everywhere you turned there was something else stunning to see.  The weather was just perfect – mid 20’s.  I cannot believe that we have not needed to take a jumper with us during the day.  The locals cannot believe it either.  There has not been any rain for about six weeks, and that is a bit of a concern for them.  From our point of view, the dry suits us just fine.

I did get a bit carried away today.  I took nearly 300 photos!!!

Tomorrow we will head south, hopefully to have a look at Dover and then start heading west.  We have no idea where we will end up, but that is half the fun of it.


Cubby House Crafts said...

Thankyou Janice for sharing your holiday snaps...such beautiful pics especially loved the one with the plantings of lupins out front of the house!

Anita said...

I looooved reading your blog post and seeing the pics....brings back a lot of memories! Can't wait to read your next post!!

rozhearts said...

How fabulous does your trip sound so far. Loved reading of your adventures and your photos are wonderful. You would be glad of the warmer weather it is very cold over here today. Hope Olga does well on your journey.
(((HUGS))) Roz.

Shelley said...

I see how it would have been easy to take 300 pictures!! Just amazing! We have nothing that even comes close to any of those buildings...
I bet Olga was happy to see you.. :)
Have more fun and am excited for the next installment of your journey....

Dawn said...

Sounds like your having a wow of a ime... and the Cathedral is amazing, I just love it...300 pics...can we see... he he..have loads of fun heading West...
Hugs Dawn x x x

Jewells said...

I am reliving my UK visit thru your photos..such history..hard to beleive that buildings are built and are still there, before our country was discovered..I too, just went were the wind took me, with the aide of the "Lonely Planet Guide", but I hired a car...are you joining up with a bike tour along the way???..cheers..

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

What fantastic photos pleased you are having a fantastic time...look forward to seeing so much more.....xx

Chookyblue...... said...

loving the post..........where to next........

Jenny of Elefantz said...

It's wonderful 'coming along' on the journey with you both, Janice!

Maricarmen said...

I just, just receive your presents...! Chocolates are amazing...! I am reading the magazine, see the DVD, at the same time... Thanks for all...

Blogger said...

Looking for the Best Dating Website? Create an account and find your perfect date.