Monday, July 10, 2006
Boy am I tired!
Well mates, yet again i've been off train-hopping, and after a busy couple of weeks, it's good to be just sitting here in front of a computer screen (although i must admit that i am checking out the train tables for this coming week!). Last week Jones' started their major summer sale--which means that that shop was so full if any fire marshall had come by we would have been incurred some major fines! Although i'm happy to say, that somehow at the end of it all i ended up as the sales-performance-leader for the week, which is a fancy way of saying that i sold some 5000 GBP of shoes (with the conversion rate, that means about $10,000). So if that wasn't exhausting enough, after my last day of work for the week, i got home just in time to pack up for a short trip out with Colin and Heather.
So early the next morning we cuaght the train to Canterbury (think Chaucer's Canterbury tales). This was actually the first time that we've gone somewhere outside of Cambridge together, so it was really fun to spend a whole day just tramping about a new town with my brother and his wife--lots of good times. The main things to see here are Canterbury Cathedral (one of the most famous pilgrimage sights--the 'relic' was to come touch the bones of Thomas Beckett who was martyred inside the Cathedral. His coffin/tomb had several holes in the side of it, so the pilgrims would reach their hands inside so that they could touch him...and the really adventurous could stick their heads inside to kiss the corpse...the closer you got a relic, the more blessed you were!). And the Cathedral alone was well worth the visit. You can just imagine pilgrims from all over the world coming to this place and from miles around looking up to see the spires at last--they're breathtaking, and after such long journies...well, just imagine. We also went to see the Augustine Abbey ruins...and oh yes, the gravesite of St. Augustine (another pilgrimage sight...but Augustine didn't have the holes in his tomb!) ...that was really cool too.
After seeing these two sights, we decided that the day was yet young, and we caught the train to Dover, just a short 30 minutes away, to see the famous white cliffs...which are every bit as beautiful as you can imagine. Just above them sits the pictureque Dover Castle where Churchill had his secret wartime tunnels through the cliffs. Dover was bombed really heavily during WWII, as you can imagine just being on the other side of the channel, but it still has it's natural beauty intact.
But at this point, it was time for Colin and Heather to head home. I stayed in a hostel for the night though, and after a bit more exploring in Canterbury the next morning, I caught the train to Stratford-upon-avon--better known as Shakespeare country. It was here that the famous bard was born, married, and lived.
I got there just in time to catch the final English World Cup game (thanks for jinxing them in your last e-mail Josh!), but just as the crowds were getting a bit rowdy on the streets, i ducked into the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, where i saw Romeo and Juliet (a very interesting interpretation--instead of actual sword fights, any duels between the families were done using stomp and dance!). Ironically enough, i ended up sitting next to an economics professor from Rhodes University in the states! What are the chances of that!
When the play got out, the crowds were still a bit rowdy, so i caught a taxi to my hostel (first taxi i've gotten since i got here..and yes, my feet can tell you that i walk a lot of miles everyday), where just as i lay my head down on the pillow, the fire alarm went off (ode to Carter Hall!). So we all tramped out to the lawn and sat there for about 1/2 an hour before finally getting back to bed...but there are always fun conversations with random folks when stuff like that happens, so it was a good night after all b/c i met some cool people.
The next morning i got up and walked the 3 miles into the city centre of Stratford and went to see all the sights...including the bards grave at the beautiful Holy Trinity Church. All in all, it was a spectacular weekend, but when i finally got back to my flat, i was ready to do nothing but sleep...and that's exactly what i did (at least until work at 8:30 the next morning!)
I'll try to upload some pics soon...it seems that the cafe's internet is having issues...see you soon!