Well, I have been so fortunate on all the adventures I have been on this past year, and all the travelling I have done in the past couple of years, but one thing I have learned is there is nothing like visiting a place with people who actually live there. Going around a city with locals is the best way to do it! They always know the ins and outs of what to do, and it just makes the experience so much better. This weekend I had the opportunity to travel to the county of Kent AND stay with locals in Rochester. My Uncle Peter has a good friend, Lindsey, who lives in Rochester, and Lindsey was so kind to invite me to come spend the weekend with her and her family this past weekend! And man, did I have the best time. Lindsey and her husband Chris and her two children Alex, and Liv live in Rochester which is just less than an hour train from London.
On Saturday we went to Canterbury! Whenever I think about Canterbury, I am usually thinking about the church, either the Cathedral or the Archbishops who played important roles in British history at the Canterbury Cathedral (I guess that is what happens when you’ve been studying British history for the last five years). Canterbury is not too far from Rochester, so we were able to drive over in under an hour! Canterbury was a really lovely little city, and the weather was beautiful on Saturday. Lots of cute little shops along the narrow roads in the beautiful old buildings. I swear you could stick me in any British town that has cute narrow roads and old English styles homes and I would be a happy camper.
Our main destination in Canterbury (after visiting a few sweet shops) was the Cathedral. The Canterbury Cathedral was founded in 507, and this building was rebuilt in the 1070s! The current structure has all been added on to the 1077 design. For those history buffs out there, this was the location for the infamous murder of Archbishop Thomas Beckett under the orders of Henry II in 1161. There were tributes to Thomas Beckett in numerous locations around the Cathedral, including a modern sculpture over the location of where Beckett was originally buried.
After leaving the Cathedral we continued to explore Canterbury. We went into this little cafe, explore some cute shops, and walked down to the city a part of the old city wall.
After we got back to Rochester, we Facetimed my Uncle Peter and my grandmother so we could sing happy birthday to my uncle! Following that, we went to the local pub The George to have a drink for Peter’s birthday!
Sunday afternoon we went to Rochester to walk around, see the castle, the cathedral, and the Guildhall. I thought Rochester was a really sweet, quaint little city, plus I thought it was SO cool how the castle is just in the middle of the city like we drove right past in on the way to Lindsey’s house on Friday evening!! The construction of the castle began in the late 11th century and is now ruins, that you are still able to go in a see. Inside was really incredible. You are able to see through each level of the castle all the way to the top!!
The view from the top was pretty neat being able to see the entire city, the water, and the Cathedral, which was going to be our next stop. You can also see that I was really excited about the castle when I came out and I was explaining it to Chris and Lindsey.
Rochester Cathedral is a Norman-style Cathedral which was founded in 604 and built between 1079- 1238. The Cathedral was very Norman, as one could tell from the rounded arches and sawtooth design (I can thank Dr MacDonald for teaching me that). It was a really beautiful Cathedral, that had a little exhibt in the crypt all about the Rochester bridge, which was orignally built by the Romans!!
A really cool detail about the Cathedral I noticed was this plaque. It is a plaque in honour of men from Canada while in battle fighting for England. In the middle of the three names, was Captain William Henry Robinson WHO WAS FROM SAINT JOHN NEW BRUNSWICK. The other two were from Ontario and Halifax, but I just thought it was so neat to see a plaque in a Cathedral in England about the death of a man in Saint John. A little reminder of how close maritime and British history are connected!
Overall, it was just so nice to take a step out of London and see something new. I have been so busy through the weeks with my work term that it was just so nice to get out of the city, have some home cooked meals, and just move at a slower pace (and sleep in). Thanks again Lindsey, Chris, Liv, and Alex for having me!! I had such a wonderful weekend.