Canterbury and Dover, London since Tuesday –
On Monday we boarded the bus at 8:30 am and went off to Canterbury and Dover. It was cold, wet, and miserable. Freezing wind and horizontal rain all day. However that aside Canterbury cathedral and Dover castles/cliffs were amazing. Canterbury was beautiful, strong evocative masonry. The armor of the Black prince, and a memorial to Thomas More. Moore’s memorial was interesting, two iron swords piercing an iron cross. The two reflected swords made up a total of four swords. I believe it was to represent the four knights which murdered him. We went down into the crypts and walked around, there was a cat sitting in the middle of the crypt hall just wandering and returning to a padded section in front of the lower alter. That was pretty odd. Then as we continued around the horseshoe shaped crypts we walked past memorials and tombs of people interred inside the cathedral. We remerged and went through the giant carved rock screen and deeper into the church. We passed where the choir would sing (beautiful books full of hymns) and walked around the altar. Behind the altar was the memorial to the former tomb of Thomas more which had been sacked by the king a few hundred years before. There was a commemorative chandelier. We left the cathedral and went back out into the cold. I joined a group of girls and we wandered down the streets of Canterbury. We found a small Italian restaurant and I ordered spaghetti. We gobbled down the hot food then continued around the city. At 1:00 we reconvened and got back on the tour bus then rode to Dover.
We disembarked outside Dover castles and hiked the entry road in the cold rain. Anyone trying to storm that castle must have been insane. We walked through the gate over the old moat now filled with greenery and began to explore Dover castle. Luckily for us there was a Living history exhibition going on so there were men and women dressed as each of the occupying forces of the castle had been. Britons, Roman legionnaires, Germans, Americans, WWI British army, and Special Forces. It was pretty darn cool. After circling the grounds and seeing the castles, fortifications, roman lighthouse, and port from the view of the walls we prepared for our tour of the secret WWII tunnels inside the castle. Sadly the annex (Hospital) wing was closed however the upper floor (Napoleonic tunnels which were expanded for communications use) was open. We toured the inside and then it was time to come home. We came home, freezing, cold and miserable and headed to the student union to kick back relax and enjoy the evening.
Tuesday – We went to Tower hill – after class we met at the tube station at 1:00pm and then went and toured tower hill – with the thousands murdered there – beheaded and tortured the place has an eerie feel. We toured the grounds following a Beef eater (no idea on why that’s the name) and then continued on to see the crown jewels. The First Star Diamond is HUGE just for future reference. I’ve never seen so many jewels, covered in gold, held secure by silver, coated in Diamonds, Rubies, Emeralds, and every other precious material you could image. There was a room full of scepters which must have been at least five feet and probably 8 or nine inches in diameter of SOLID gold. It was quite the experience to see so much wealth in a ten minute walking space. Once outside again we wandered the bloody tower, white tower and a third which I’ve blanked out the name. There are pictures of it up. The tower was a trip….
We then jumped back on the tube and headed out to Battersea to find Thomas Moore’s house. We found the monument to him and took our pictures (it’s part of a scavenger hunt we need to complete) with the monument. That done we completed the long walk home and I crashed. The necessities like cooking dinner etc all happened.
Wednesday – The Dean is HERE! Woke up for class at the appointed 8:00am and made it to class on time. Had a lively discussion about war, its positives, its costs, and whether it was worth it. After class I ran home and got ready then by 3:00 it was time to meet at the imperial War Museum. We met up outside by 3:15 and toured the building. Amazing. It is stunning how much pain, destruction, and cruelty humanity wishes unto itself. The museum was a great memorial to the sad defects of humanity. Their exhibits on world war one and two as well as Korea, Vietnam, the holocaust, and crimes against humanities section were excellent. After leaving the last two I was sick to my stomach – the displays were that powerful.
After the trying experience in the museum we were taken to dinner by the dean. There were 25 of us and we all ordered the bill came to a healthy £486. Dinner was great and discussion with the dean was fabulous (I sat to his right) dinner over we retired to the student pub for some House/techno dancing and a few drinks.
Thursday – Woke up – Class – Napped – ate lunch – napped – met with Nigel and sue for a wonderful dinner. At first we were to meet up at an alternative cafe but it was booked for the night. The cafe was an amazing example of bohemia, art and cloth all over the walls, small hole in the wall feel, and a group of women in heavy makeup and strange clothes in the back cutting up the communal meal that would be served for the evening – a very interesting experience. As it was booked we retired to a favored pub of Su and Nigel and ate there. I had breaded chicken. It was quite nice. They dropped me off home and I went out dancing. First we went to a club called ruby blue but one of the girls brought the wrong ID so instead we ended up (for less money) getting into a club on the upper levels of a building 7th floor. We could see out across all of London, the eye, big Ben all of it. That was quite a bit of fun. The DJ though was awful so after a few hours we wandered the streets and ended up in a bar a bit down the street. The bar was fun we relaxed had some fun and talked with a few of the locals. We took the buses home – got in at 3:40ish and hit the sack.
Friday- relaxed. Watched the game – did some laundry – went out dancing – crashed early still fighting that bloody head cold.
Sat – woke up at 8:00AM went to portabella road – found a gift for mum and some decorations for the wall of my apt in PHX. Bought a bouquet of wooden roses for Su since she is headed out of town and couldn’t take care of live ones – (perfect Idea gooooo me!) arrived at their house at 1:00 – did a little more laundry – fixed some problems with their computers – went out for a walk and wandered Brixton (heavy ethnic population) then walked north to Oval – then went west to Clapham north, then walked from Clapham north to Clapham commons station and then walked to Clapham south station and then Walked back to Su and Nigel’s home. Had a wonderful curry, with prawns, miniature corns, scallops and monk fish (AMAZING!!!) combined with rice – Cucumber and yogurt and a traditional hot side (can’t remember) and retired back home – crashed at around 12:30 –
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