Canterbury - 1st stop
May 3, 2008
|Another gorgeous weekend was in store so we jumped on the bus to Canterbury. We are touring places via word of mouth and the Cathedral was a popular destination. We saw the spires coming into town and made our way via closed off streets with restaurants, pubs, shops and museums. We ducked into the Eastbridge Hospital of St. Thomas the Martyr, and were surprised that it wasn’t a hospital at all but a late 11th century hospitality inn. Latin word hospes: meaning to host a guest or stranger. It is still in use today accommodating a few elderly that have close ties to the two chapels/establishment. We also learned that the gates of Canterbury closed at 9pm and those that were fortunate enough to have a horse and wanted to get in for the night were said to “canter”:
[Origin: 1745–55; short for Canterbury to ride at a pace like that of Canterbury pilgrims]
We then took a touristy 45 minute paddle boat up and down a short section of the River Stour that took us under the Hospital to the back of their gardens which is the one picture of the river. Our informative Captain said with all the canals (I call them) there are many islands in the city. I’ve never been to Venice but it sure reminded me of that.
Back in those days the river served as the city’s sewer system so the chair was an efficient form of punishment. It was used in 3 instances: 1) A husband could send his nagging wife or one that talked too much to the chair to be dunked. 2) A corrupt businessman would be dunked in front of the whole town, he would then lose business and hence the phrase “business going under.” 3) Witches who would be dunked until they drowned or if they didn’t drown, then they really were a witch, so they would be burned at the stake. Oh my, they just couldn’t win!
We picked this restaurant for lunch since it advertised to be the best brewers in Britain. It was here that we decided on our favorite brews so far:
• Stella (from Belgium) hands down
• San Miguel (from Spain)
• Oranjeboom (from Holland)
• Kronnenberg (from Denmark)
Unfortunately, we have not liked any of the Kent Ales. As a humorous side note: on our bus travels, we noticed many pubs that advertised to be the “best brewers in Britain!”
On to the Cathedral…Quoting from a sign: Did You Know?
• Canterbury Cathedral is the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the Seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
• Over 30 services take lace in the Cathedral each week.
• The cathedral is part of a World Heritage Site, it’s origins dating back to 597 AD.
• It costs $23,500 each day to run Canterbury Cathedral.
• 250 + staff and 500+ volunteers work together to keep the Cathedral going all year round.
Wow! I could not get enough pictures that captured the enormity, beauty and detail of this breathtaking church.