Archive for the ‘England’ Category

The Canterbury Tales

After a bit of an AM fiasco yesterday (missed the 930A bus that we had booked), Rita, Austin, H., Cosima and I managed to get on the 1030A coach to Canterbury to get the proverbial ball rolling. Let me just say, I secretly wished that my high school English teacher (Mrs. Thompson, if you’re reading this, you’ll be proud!) could see me jetting off on the coach to see the site of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and, more importantly, the site of the beheading/martyrdom of Archbishop Thomas Becket (c.1170). We ended up snagging tickets for £14.20 round trip from London Victoria Station to Canterbury (although we ended up paying a premium for missing our first bus, but I digress); definitely a good deal for all the fun that ensued on our historical excursion. Yesterday also marked Austin’s 25th birthday so it was doubly amazing!

Kentish Countryside
Being that I live in London, we don’t get much of the British countryside during our escapades. Traveling through Kent was definitely a cool experience — we finally got to see some quintessentially British homes, land and architecture.

On our way to the bus stop in Canterbury, we passed by a pretty sweet Castle-esque structure. I think it’s ruins of an old castle (Norman Castle, perhaps?) but I only got a glimpse of it on the way in so I didn’t get to investigate. Still, pretty cool:

Castle

Our main objective was to see the Canterbury Cathedral, which dates back to 597AD. I think part of my desire to see the town was from reading Chaucer’s work in high school, but there is something pretty amazing about walking through a Cathedral that was constructed 1000+ years ago. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get to do that every day.

Shannon & Rita at the Canterbury Cathedral
Rita and I were pretty pumped about checking out the Cathedral — even the entrance was amazing! They, of course, charge an admission fee. £6.50 if you’re a student, £7.50 for adults. We tried to pass for a ‘family’ wherein we could all enter for £21.50, but none of us could pass for under 16s and H had a particularly hard time passing as my 24 year-old Asian father (it was worth a shot). Even having to pay the fee, the place was worth it. Simply spectacular. The outside of it (see below) was astounding and the inside housed some amazing history.

Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral Inside
About 10 minutes in, we ran across the famous martyrdom site. Apparently we’re not the only ones interested, because it’s clearly marked.

Martyrdom
Martyrdom Site
This vicious looking piece was erected to recognize where Thomas Becket was beheaded… or at least where they tell us he was beheaded. I’m gonna take their word for it because I would have no idea based on historical fact.

Martyrdom Sign

Tomb of King Henry IV{King Henry IV}

After enjoying the Cathedral and checking out the Tombs of Archbishop William Courtenay and King Henry IV and his wifey, we headed to check out the grounds — so pretty!

Cathedral Grounds

As luck (and my planning skills) would have it, Kent’s International Arts Festival started yesterday, so we were able to check out some cool art and some fun little stands dotting the streets — paella by the bucketful, cupcakes bigger than my head and homemade fudge! Plus, we ran into a number of old restaurants and shops that have been around since 1500 (some from earlier). The doors and ceilings are so low!

Old Weaver

Fortress?
We also randomly stumbled upon amazingness like this castle-ish structure above. In the words of Rita, “Hey guys, just FYI, we’re coming upon a fortress.” No biggie.

After enjoying Canterbury, we ended up at a little pub called the City Arms Inn where we found pitchers of cocktails for £9! Rita and I shared a pitcher of Sex on the Beach while we waited for our bus, and H & Austin shared a pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea!

Pitchers at the Pub!

All in all, it was a super fun day trip and a fun way to celebrate Austin’s birthday (hopefully he felt the same way)! After having such a good time, we’ve decided that day trips to Bath & Stonehenge, Oxford, Cambridge and Brighton are in order! National Express makes getting there so cheap with their ‘fun fares’ that it makes staying indoors seem like such a waste of a perfectly good weekend!

Hope everyone else’s weekend was eventful!

Lots of love,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

If you wanna see the rest of the album (there are nearly 100 pictures posted!), check out my facebook album here.

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Weekend Wonders.

So, I must let off a tid bit of steam:

A group of friends decided to hit up Barcelona this weekend to enjoy the sunshine and Spanish love before the year started getting heavy with work. I, unfortunately, was operating under the impression that my second paper was due on Monday. I was not alone on this, mind you; there was a group of individuals operating under the same assumption. I discovered, however, that the paper that was ‘due on Monday’ is actually due on November 23rd! Waaaaaay off! Not that I’m not ecstatic that I don’t have to sit here today and work crazily on readings and formulating a cohesive and wondrous essay, but I also missed out on my opportunity to hit up Barcelona! Boooo.

Canterbury Cathedral

That being said, I felt as though staying in London would be a bit of a waste of the weekend. Not that London isn’t amazing, but I do get to live here, so I can see the sights any day of the week (Tate Modern, British Museum, Victoria & Albert, Westminster Abbey, etc., etc.) So, in lieu of hitting up the glorious land of Barcelona, I have decided to coordinate a fun-filled trip to Canterbury! Yes, it’s no 70 degree weather (it’s slated to be 53 and partly sunny), but the way-too-cute town (made famous by Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales… which I’m sure is compulsory for every HS student!) is hosting Kent’s International Arts festival starting on Saturday and there’s the Canterbury Cathedral, home of the 1170 murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket (the Cathedral’s history goes back to 597AD… no big deal)! There is also St. Augustine’s Abbey and St. Martin’s Church which help form the trio of World Heritage Sites. Plus, if that weren’t enough, there are two castles and six museums. So, needless to say, there will be plenty for us to do for a day trip. To top it off, we can get ‘fun fares’ through National Express for 15 pounds or less round trip! It’s about a two hour journey, but it’s above ground, so we’ll actually get to see a couple of hours of British countryside. Definitely excited to not be cooped up in my room writing papers. I’ve decided to make seeing other parts of the UK a priority on weekends like this. If I don’t have academic obligations, seeing Manchester, Newcastle, the Lake District, Brighton, etc. will definitely be on my calendar!

I’ll keep you posted on the amazingness that is Canterbury tomorrow!

Lots of love,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Platform 9 3/4… plus the National Gallery & Buckingham Get a Visit!

It’s 110P right now and I’m currently sitting in the third floor of the library, where I have comfortably been stationed since 9A. I find that trying to handle my readings and note taking in my room is next to impossible with all of the nearby distractions: the kitchen, facebooking, flatmates to talk with, etc. In the library, I feel a bit more dedicated. I do need a break though, so I thought it would be a good time to post some fun pictures from yesterday!

Friday night, I put my new mattress topper (courtesy of Argos!) on my bed and if sleep time is any indication of the mattress’ success, then this thing is Grade A. I slept in until 1030A. For anyone that knows my sleeping habits, you know that 1030 is about an hour longer than I have ever slept in in my life! I’m normally up by 730A on weekends to get a good start on the day; occasionally, I find myself sleeping in until 830, but it’s very rare. 1030… that’s definitely one for the books. In any case, I hit Oasis Sports Centre immediately and got a good solid workout in by 12P. Alex and I met up with a bunch of fun Canadians at the National Gallery for a quick run-through around 130P to get a start on our afternoon. The National Gallery is quite a sight; admission is free and there are loads of amazing artists that have their work displayed. We passed by some works by Van Gogh, Cezanne and other influential artists, but only got through about 30 minutes of artsy gallivanting before ADHD/general short attention span syndrome peeked its nasty little head.

The National Gallery

Although Alex was pumped to see Van Gogh’s sunflowers, this painting (below) was my most fave. Random, but definitely amazing up close:Van Gogh

After the Gallery, we headed to Buckingham Palace to check out the sights and snag a picture of a beefeater (and a picture with a bobby!)

Bobby Action!

Gates of Buckingham

After doing the super fun/touristy Buckingham deal, we decided to make our way to King’s Cross, the site of the infamous Platform 9 3/4. Due to the fact that most of us are huge Harry Potter geeks afficionados, we were intensely pumped on nabbing some awesome shots.

Platform 9 3/4 // King's Cross

We headed to a nearby pub to grab a few drinks and a bite to eat before I headed home for the evening and locked myself up to get some readings handled. I am happy to announce that London is official veg-friendly; the menu had veggie bangers and mash, veggie lasagna, veggie jacket potatoes and (my choice) a veggie burger with chips! Absolutely delish!

Now that I have spent 15 minutes away from my readings (and cleared my head), it’s time to get back to work. Social Policy for Development is calling my name, and it’s high time I answered!

Lots of love,

Signature Stamp - Shannon