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.
Our flight over was quite good, but we were happy to finally arrive in the UK after 23 hours in the air.
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”.
There was also a small cathedral to visit (the start of an ABC tour).
Behind the Bishop’s throne there was a lovely patchwork panel.
We finally arrived at Felixstowe, which is a faded old fashioned sea side resort complete with
bathing boxes beach huts.
There is also an amusement parlour on the pier. Very glitzy, but I expect with English weather it would get lots of use.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As you can see, we were pretty well the only ones there when we arrived.
The altar cloth was stunning.
As was the ceiling.
There is so much stunning art and craftsmanship, but so much more was destroyed by Cromwell.
It’s hard to believe that work this detailed has lasted so long.
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.
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.
After lunch we spent a very leisurely hour on one of these. Terribly hard to take I can assure you.
It was a very different way to see the city, passing under buildings and the main High Street.
We passed the old monastery which is ancient.
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.
Next we found a lovely little sewing shop and I did buy a small piece of fabric depicting English Cathedrals.
They didn’t mind photos being taken.
It was a delightful little shop.
Of course, we had to try a different beer in an old pub while watching the world go by.
And we finished our day off by having a beautiful dinner.
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.
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.