Monday, March 26, 2018

Leeds Castle, Dover and Canterbury--day three of the London Adventure 2018

Leeds Castle
Jérôme had another breakfast packed for me and both he and Nicole walked me most of the way to my bus stop on the second day of my pre-planned tour days. The hour bus ride to the meeting place was more relaxing because I knew where I should be going after I exited the bus. Meeting up with the tour was just as easy as it was the previous day.

One of the interior rooms
Our first stop was Leeds Castle. The symmetry of the Castle and the openness of the grounds made it my favorite of the English castles that I've visited. Upon arriving, we were treated to a small sample of the honey mead that King Henry VIII liked so much. I'll admit it, the honey with the alcohol was a good combination. I was glad that the taste was small because the drink packs a punch! Then we had a couple hours to view the interior of the house.

Before I went, I did know that a wealthy woman had purchased it in the 1920s and then spent about the purchase price repairing and refurbishing it. I also knew that she threw huge parties on the weekends that movie stars as well as other political celebrities attended. What I didn't know was that she had an outdoor swimming pool installed with heated water and that during WWII she turned a portion of the new castle into a hospital that served badly burned pilots on both sides of the war.

White cliffs of Dover
I also didn't know that you could stay there as a bed and breakfast and there are even upscale tents available for families. Some families come and spend the day there as there is a castle filled with all sorts of activities geared to kids and families.

The next stop of the day has been on my bucket list--to see the white cliffs of Dover! The bonus was to see how narrow the English Channel really is and to read about swimmers who prepare and train to swim the channel from May through October.

Outside of Canterbury Cathedral
Then, we drove to Canterbury to see the cathedral. I had no desire to see the cathedral until I read several fictional historical novels  of King Henry VIII by Philippa Gregory.  I was particularly interested in the life of Thomas Becket who was murdered in the cathedral. My
mom and oldest daughter had visited years ago. Each had their own reasons for why it was the best cathedral on their lists. The outside is currently under going restoration. I snapped a photo of the area recently finished.

I appreciated the grounds and interior of the church. I am awestruck at how structures built so long ago are still used as they were intended. What amazing craftsmanship and preservation!

Suspended clothing sculpture
I was drawn to an exhibit that was displayed in the center of the church. It was entitled "Suspended." It was made of clothing that refugees left behind on the beaches and camps of Lesbos and Calais after being offered clean clothing to replace what was wet and dirty. Each piece of clothing was suspended in an artful way. The entire piece was lit from the center. It is one of three exhibits that the church is sponsoring to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. The exhibits highlight the impact of war and the Cathedral as a place of refuge. This exhibit will be in place until May 16, 2018.

Jérôme's truffled potatoes and white fish
The last stop of our day was Greenwich and we took a boat from Greenwich to where we wanted to get off. I got off at Tower Bridge. It was another full day. I couldn't figure out how to
get myself back to Nicole and Jérôme. Turns out, I was on the wrong side of the bridge--no wonder I couldn't find my way. Starbucks was near so I had a coffee and Jérôme came to escort me home. I'm thankful for WiFi and for cell phone technology.

For dinner, Jérôme served baked white fish with an accent of melted cheese; grated carrot/chopped onion salad; potatoes par boiled and finished off in the oven with garlic and a hint of truffle oil. It was delicious!

Since this is the last post of the month, I'm sharing the number of students that I taught this month.  Eight students in a lifeguard class; 17 students in swim lessons (YTD 23) and 23 students in Basic Life Support CPR (YTD 73) class. I taught a total of 48 people in March (YTD 152)!

No comments: