Thursday, 20 July 2017

The weather in London is mild and just about the right temperature for sightseeing.

I just realized that I write a lot about the weather. Perhaps because my “job” now is Adventurer-Sightseer, the weather plays an important part in these adventures and related activities. It influences what to wear, transportation, indoor/outdoor, length of stay, etc. I look at the current day’s weather and for the next few days. I also check out the weather in my favorite places. Oregon too!

Today, Paula and I are going by train to the ancient town of Canterbury. The place of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the Canterbury Cathedral. Former Roman site and so much more. When Paula suggested to visit Canterbury, if was an easy “yes” for me.

We met at St. Pancras station, located in central London. It is next to King’s Cross station. Why are two major stations next to each other? Guess that will be something to write about later. The fact that you have two major stations next to each other makes the whole complex very large. We had agreed to meet at the Betjeman statue.

Getting to St. Pancras from my hotel was easy – thanks to Google. I just put in where I wanted to go and Google showed me the station, which train to catch and where to transfer. It didn’t tell me where to find the statue in St. Pancras! Paula found the statue before me and gave me hints on where to find her. I think by shear dumb luck I found both of them and we proceeded to buy our tickets.

First, find out which train service goes to Canterbury and then find the ticket office or machine where you can buy the ticket. We decided to buy the ticket from the ticket office rather than try our luck at a machine. Paula also was able to get a senior travel discount card. We both saved around 10 pounds on our ticket. The cost to go to Canterbury and return was around 20 pounds each.

We bought something to eat on the train and were ready to board after we visited the “loo” (toilet). Great sign directions in St. Pancras! We were able to find the track where our train was leaving and found some good seats.

The time goes by quickly when you have someone interesting to talk with. We also found time to look out at the English countryside. I saw some wheat ready to be harvested. And before we knew it we were pulling into the Canterbury station.

So, where to start the tour of Canterbury? We found a map and plotted a general course to take. We walked down High Street and the shops and interesting (and probably very old) buildings. We found out the Canterbury was bombed during World War II and could see gaps in places where the older buildings were no longer there. (Was bombed out of retaliation by the Germans for bombing their heritage cities.)

Terrific picture of Paula and one of the canals.

We found a canal boat tour service that used “punts” to guide and power the boat. Actually a “punt” is a flat bottom boat, not necessarily the pole used to move the boat. We thought that would be fun to do later. Meanwhile, we had more of the town to visit.

We ended up at the Cathedral, which was currently under some renovations. Also, part of the Cathedral had an event planned for just about the time we were to go inside. But the Cathedral is so vast, we were able to see quite a lot, including the crypt area below, before starting our canal boat tour. I had asked a guide about where Thomas Becket was buried in the crypt and received a slightly humorous account of his unfortunate death and fate of his bones.

Not Thomas Becket (below)

The canal boat tour was delayed due to a number of students from Italy who had reservations before us. Good time to have some tea and treats while we waited. We boarded the boat with about 8 other people and we were on our way. We really only went down the one canal and back but heard many tales of Canterbury by our guide and “punter” driver.

Our “Punter” Sebastian with punting stick:

After the canal boat tour we headed back to the Cathedral and found out it was closed for the day. We walked around some more and then headed back to the train station. It was nearly 7:00! There is definitely two days worth of sightseeing in Canterbury and will look forward to my next visit.

Getting back to the hotel was easy and looked forward to showering and resting for the remainder of the evening. Tomorrow I meet up with Viktor and will explore more of London. Think I might stay a few extra days.




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