Posts Tagged ‘cathedral’

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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Merry Me!

Tomorrow marks the LSE Bon Voyage event at Jillian’s in San Francisco. I will be in attendance along with a few other soon-to-be LSEers at an event where we can all get to know each other (and LSE alumni), ask questions and hang out! With less than two months until the big move, I’m experiencing a heightened level of excitement and nervousness! I’m sure the nerves are natural as I am leaving behind my family, my boyfriend and everything that I have known for the past 23 years, but the excitement… yes, that’s the part that’s best! Since I have been assigned housing (my second choice, but a great location, nonetheless), I have taken the time to explore the area surrounding my flat and have been getting thoroughly excited about the opportunities for education and entertainment surrounding my new home!

Below is a map of the area that I will be living in, on the corner of High Holborn & Drury Lane (Postcode WC1V); see the arrow.

HH Housing 
Although I was 50/50 on the area when I first got word on my housing, I have found that it is close to so many brilliant points of interest that I’ve started getting thoroughly excited! Since walking is the mode of transportation for most, the fact that the points of interest are within walking distance or a short tube ride, makes this all so fantastic. Beyond that, many public places such as museums and historical sites are free to visit, helping to offset the otherwise ridiculously high cost of living in the city. Here are some awesome places I will definitely be checking out once I arrive (all traveling distances & times are courtesy of Transport for London):

* The British Museum: Located on Great Russell Street, a short four minute walk from where I will be living, this is on the top of my list. The British Museumis world renowned and has an amazing exhibits that constantly change. Although some exhibitions can be seen at a cost, entrance to the museum is 100% free!

* Covent Garden Market: Although touristy, Covent Garden is a very cool market with quirky craft stalls, boutiques and restaurants. At only nine minutes walking, it’s a nearby jaunt for all things cool. In addition to shopping, fashion and food, it also boasts some interesting history and architecture!

covent garden market

* The National Gallery: This gallery houses Western European paintings from 1250 AD. Think Van Gogh, da Vinci, Cézanne and Constable. Only a thirteen minute walk. Brilliant.

* Trafalgar Square: A short fifteen minute stroll from my flat lies Trafalgar Square, home to Nelson’s Column, the largest Christmas tree in London come December (courtesy of Norway) and St. Martin-in-the-Fields church. All around, a top tourist sight with so many goings on at any given point.

* The London Eye: Question: The Eiffel Tower: Paris as ______ : London.  
Answer: The London Eye. Although it’s new (built in 2000), the London Eye offers amazing views of London and its awe-inspiring sights. A thirty minute walk from my place, it’s not super close, but it’s very much one of those must-see one-time deals. And the “flight,” as the experience is so aptly named, costs 17GBP with no student discounts available… Although it’s pretty cool, it may not make the top of my list.st_james_palace

* St. James’ Palace: Built between 1531 and 1536, St. James’ Palace has a pretty amazing history, having acted as the home of many famous queens and kings throughout history. After reading The Other Boleyn Girl, the twisted history of the monarchy tends to pique my interest. A worthwhile twenty-nine minute walk from my flat, St. James’ housed Anne Boleyn the night of her coronation.

 

* St. Paul’s Cathedral: Not so close, but not all that far, all things considered. A twenty-nine minute walk from my flat to the front steps of St. Paul’s,  the cathedral is the fourth in a line of cathedrals occupying that very land that has been dedicated to St. Paul since 604AD. Talk about history. The current cathedral, with it’s world-famous dome was built from 1675 to 1710 and costs 8.50 GBP to visit. Better yet, attend a Sunday Service at 10:15 and get the full experience… for free!

With so many sights nearby, I have been tempted to invest in a bicycle (a cheap-o version, mind you) upon arrival. Although walking is commonplace and a good way to get some exercise and sight-see, I find that biking is equally invigorating, plus it’s a huge time saver!

Want to see what attractions are near to you?
This site allows you to map attractions within a given area (5, 10 or 20 minute walking) based on your postcode, nearest tube station or nearby attraction!

Happy Travels,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

The Good, the Bad & the Bleh of Manchester.

Since I gave London it’s proper hype (which it undoubtedly deserved — it’s amazing!) I thought I’d give Manchester it’s props, too! We spent three out seven days in Manchester, so we definitely got a good feel for our little home away from home. Now, let me preface this with the fact that I was leaning towards the University of Manchester as my home for next year primarily because Chris (my boyfriend) is a massive Manchester United fan and the “northern charm” that I’ve heard about incessantly seemed to make it a nice fit.

Our visit was charming enough, but the city didn’t seem to grab me in the same way that Bristol did.
Now, our hotel, The Thistle, was very cute. Definitely a great value for your money on the whole although the internet charges (£5 per hour?!) bummed me out a little; not being able to keep up with the world for three days was more than a little annoying. {Note: this wasn’t only at this hotel — internet doesn’t seem to be a standard hotel amenity in England which is a little saddening… hopefully they’ll catch up soon!} The restaurant that’s a part of the hotel is also not worth the money. We didn’t eat there, mind you, but as a tourist it was on the pricier  side and lacked the real British experience that we were looking for; it’s like eating at the grill inside a Best Western.

We did, however find an eatery that we lovedBella Italia on Piccadilly. The service was FANTASTIC (our waitress was the cutest!), the place was reasonably priced (£25 for both of us including dessert & a drink) and the food was delish! The vegetarian risotto is top-notch and the tiramisu/mascarpone/berry-laden dessert was beyond amazing. The only downside for us was that it was Italian (we didn’t think it was very British of us to be at an Italian restaurant) and that it was romantic. The romantic part could work to your advantage if that’s what you’re looking for — it’s darling — but it was a tad weird for a dad/daughter dinner. We put the candle on another table and all was cured.

An eatery/pub that we didn’t love so much? The Old Monkey. It wasn’t awful, but after finding out that they didn’t have what I wanted (on their already limited list of pub grub) the food that I did get was mediocre (as was my dad’s). The Cider was good, but I’m sure you could get that anywhere. Skip it. Not worth the little money that it cost.

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Now, as for sights, on behalf of my father I have to give the Manchester Museum it’s proper due. We loved it for a few reasons.

  1. It’s free! Who doesn’t love free? It’s part of the university so it cost us £0 to meander through there!
  2. The exhibits were amazing. They have new exhibits all the time, but their Egyptian, Mediterranean and Prehistoric sections were awe-inspiring. They had genuine mummies and told the stories of these people that lived thousands of years ago and they had a full T-Rex skeleton on display.
  3. It’s part of the University. This was kind of cool because a) it made the museum free for visitors, and b) donations go to help strengthen the university’s exhibit.

    The Manchester Cathedral also has to get it’s fair notice. This was the first cathedral that my dad and I got to see so we were just amazed at the architecture, the stained glass, the history (built in 1421!) and the story-telling staff. Our friend, Joyce, who we met at the Cathedral told us stories about how it came to be and all of the amazing things that had happened there. Definitely worth a visit. Again, this place is free and it’s walking distance from Piccadilly Station!

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    ** Also, just as a side note, if you have time to kill in Manchester, take the train over to the city of Chester. My dad and I spent a day there and it’s the cutest thing ever. It’s a medieval town with buildings (built in the 1100s and 1200s) that have been converted to modern-day shops. Definitely worth seeing!

For anyone that’s been to Manchester– are there any other places that are worth seeing? Any restaurants worth a visit? Spread the word <3.

Manchester University

Manchester University