This was a 2-day trip for us. We started out by going to the cathedral--but of course--which, I have to say, is the most beautiful cathedral I've seen. Or at least my favorite. And yes, it beats out Notre Dame and all the rest. Even with some construction. And the acoustics are amazing! Which made it rough when someone dropped a pipe, but otherwise it was fantastic.
The outside was pretty itself, but for me, the real beauty was inside. The stained glass was really impressive, too; it was all painted with saints and biblical characters and kings and so forth.
We got the tour around the whole thing. You all know the story of Thomas a Becket, I hope. If not, watch this movie. Even if you have, watch this movie. Ha, tricked you, they're completely different movies. And the long documentary is here. Long story short, Henry II was an idiot, who had some idiot knights who tried to gain favor, and they beat a very good man, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to death in the cathedral.
Wish I'd gotten my own picture of this, but I didn't. There are four swords here for the four knights, because the light is carefully done here. I believe the intent was to keep it more simple and elegant. Of course, Canterbury was a holy place before this, and the seat of the Archbishop of the entire Church of England.
They also had a very pretty creche out front. Everywhere was starting to look like Christmas.
After this, we went walking around the city. There was an open-air market (unfortunately just closing down) with some fascinating books and gizmos and toys and so forth. We also found a beautiful old ruined castle. It was a bit smaller than some of the others I'd seen, but still nice. What there was of it, anyway.
We also ended up in thrift stores and I believe that's where I got a few old books, including Nineteen Eighty-Four, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Twelfth Night, and a book of Norse legends. (They were 2 for 1, so I got all four for a pound twenty.) I also noticed this on the way out of town:
Also, reading Nineteen Eighty-Four that day made me feel like the Thought Police were going to get me for just looking at the thing. I was almost looking over my shoulder, expecting them to pop out of nowhere.
Anyway, we went to the Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral that night. I think I'd learned to like it better, or at least to appreciate it more. The first Evensong we went to threw me off because it was so different, but now, listening to the songs and feeling the spirit they're given in was really very nice. Different still, yes, but not so much strange.