Tuesday, June 12, 2012 (Day 6)
Wake-up call at 7AM. It is raining.
Today we are taking a tour of Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, and the White Cliffs of Dover. These locations are southeast of London.
We catch up the tour bus at Victoria Station at 8:45AM after securing a couple of Ham and Cheese sandwiches at Upper Crust. They are wonderful — chewy, crusty, yeasty warm bread with salty ham and soft mozzarella cheese! Apparently Londoners love these foot-long baguettes for breakfast while on the train.
An hour or so later, we are at Leeds Castle. This setting is the ultimate English estate of rolling green hills with a scattering of white wooly sheep here and there. Going from the tour bus to the castle was wet and quick, it had begun to rain harder.
What a nice little summer home! This castle was home to 4 English Queens. It’s last owner was a wealthy American. It now belongs to the London Trust. It still maintains a couple ancient rooms (dark heavy wall tapestries and simple wooden furnishings) but most of the room are a pleasant and airy English modern (pastel walls, white moldings, fancy rugs, overstuffed chairs, walls of paintings, and shelf upon shelf of books). No pictures allowed – you have to buy the book.
When we left the castle, the rain had let up a bit so the tour guide, Trevor (a lovely old man with white hair, bad teeth, and the famous dry English humor) decided we should headed off to Dover with the hope the we would see at least one of the white cliffs through the rain.
Dover is a port town that rests 17 miles from the coast of France, a short hop over the English Channel. When we arrived, it was raining harder! The bus stopped by a beach side restaurant where there as a clear view of the cliffs – sort of. I could barely see the white limestone cliff through the mist and driving rain. I took a picture anyway. Note how my DH maintains a good sense of humor about all of this.
It was 1PM and we were cold and starving! We started to nibble on our sandwiches but I wanted something hot. Trevor suggested a fish and chips place in Canterbury and I went for it! The fish (cod) was lightly fried , the chips (fries) were hot and substantial, and the tea sweet and warm — it was good!
When I first walked into Canterbury Cathedral, I whispered to myself, “Oh my heavens!” But, that is the point of a cathedral, isn’t it – to worship heaven. It is truly magnificent! My photo does not do this place justice. Being Catholic, I lit a candle for my Mother.
We spent about 30 minutes in the cathedral and spent our last half hour wandering around the small town of Canterbury. It is so cute! There are lots of modern stores, cafes, and old buildings.
On the ride back to London, we fell to sleep.
Back at the hotel, we finished the sandwiches, checked email, paid a few bills on-line, and fell to sleep.