Canterbury Tales

Anyone who's been through the Chesapeake Public Schools system has more than likely read Canterbury Tales as a part of the Honors English curriculum. (Any Hickory kids wanna back me up on this?) So when the opportunity arose to take a trip to Canterbury, I decided to make the 2-hour trek.

Aside from Chaucer's centuries-old tale of religious pilgrims, there's actually a lot of interesting places around Canterbury. In fact, the only references to Chaucer that I saw were a bookstore named after him, and a cheesy tourist-trap of a museum about Canterbury Tales (skipped it! English class was enough for me.).

The main sight to see of Canterbury is most definitely the Cathedral. It's one of the oldest churches in all of England, dating back as far as 597 AD when it was first established. And while I'm sure the current state of the cathedral is definitely not what it looked like in the 6th Century, it's still awesome to think that people were there that long ago.

Canterbury Cathedral is the home of the
Archbishop of Canterbury, who I guess you could of sort of say is like the Pope of the Anglican Church (the Church of England). Because the Anglican Church doesn't have a pope, the Archbishop is the symbolical leader. Part of me was kind of excited to be able to visit such an important place, since I'm Episcopalian (which is the American-ized Anglican church, because we have to take everything and make it our own...not really. It's more political than that. And we don't follow the Anglican Archbishop, we have an American presiding bishop, who's in charge of the Episcopal Church.).

I was also really excited to visit the cathedral because I am a bit of an architecture nerd/fanatic, especially when it comes to old cathedrals. Cathedrals have always been my favorite pieces of architecture, due to all the craftsmanship and detail that had to go into building these complex structures. I mean, have you ever thought about the physics behind a keystone in an archway? Or a flying buttress? But I digress...

Needless to say, this place was GORGEOUS! The ceilings in the nave were so high, and the light was shining through onto the stone below. And then other sections had this somber dimness to them. Sorry Pope, but Canterbury is much more appealing architecturally than St. Peter's - St. Peter's is just so over-the-top and flashy.

After wandering around the cathedral for a bit, we stopped off at a pub for another traditional English pub lunch. I think these pub lunches are becoming my favorite part of my day trips. They're cheap, delicious, and it's totally excusable to have a pint in the middle of the day.

Next stop was the High Street, where my friends and I stopped off to pick up some crépes for dessert. I hadn't had a crépe since I went to France in high school, but I always remembered how delicious they were. I got mine filled with Belgian dark chocolate and bananas. And it was delicious and totally hit the spot.

The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering to find the Norman Castle on the edge of the city center, walking around an old church graveyard, and perusing the shops along the High Street.

We made one last pit stop at this park that's where this old brewery used to be. There was a fire a long time ago and the townspeople chose to save their town rather than the brewery. In hindsight, this was probably a good idea. Although they were probably missing their beer for quite some time.

Another successful adventure.