May 27,1967 :To Canterbury and the Cathedral

It was raining steadily in the morning and very gray. We bought a few groceries in a very crowded supermarket and set out. We took A25 and A20 to the A20 motorway mear Maidstone in rain and very heavy traffic. The rest of the route to Canterbury [A20(M), A249, M2(M) and A2] was heavily traveled but pleasant and fast, being 4-lane with the exception of A2. The rain stopped and it began to clear. We were interested in the fields of hops, with 10ft high poles about every 6ft in a square lattice with a network of string at the tops for the hops to grow. The weather cleared up and turned very warm and nice by noon.

We found Canterbury very impressive - much more interesting and impressive than Stratford-on-Avon. It was crowded, but not nearly so crowded as Stratford, and there was more to see. The town was very clean.

Canterbury Cathedral is really magnificent. I usually find the touring of old churches and museums less than exciting, but this one impressed me very much. There is a carved wooden pulpit in the nave, and a large number of sculptures and paintings around the Cathedral. There are many nice stained glass windows, particularly the ones in the southeast transept. They have the most vivid colors that I have seen in stained glass.

In front of the Cathedral is Christ's Gate - carved wooden gates about 6 inches thick and 20 feet high.

We visited the ruins of the Augustinian Abbey - which were just that, ruins - but the original structure must have been impressively large.

We drove on to Dover in clear sunshine through green fields. We got there about 4PM and immediately engaged a room in a bed-and-breakfast just across the street from the ferry. It was about the last room on the whole street, so they go early.

We walked up a pathway up some of the limestone cliffs overlooking the harbor. We continued up a path, supposedly on the way to Dover Castle, but found our path blocked by a stone wall about 40 feet high. We found a tunnel through it, through some concrete catacombs, only to be faced by a second such wall. We realized that this was probably part of the defenses of Dover during the war. They were heavy concrete with gun holes and apparent gun emplacements. We decided that we two were unlikely to penetrate the defenses designed to keep out Hitler, so we retraced our steps. Although grown over by weeds and disused for years, the bunkers and barricades were still rather formidable - I was surprised by their extent.

We finally made our way up to view Dover Castle, but it seemed an anti-climax to an already full day so we made our weary way back down to our room at the bed n' breakfast.

After eating supper and resting for a while we felt better and decided to walk to find a post box. It was just at twilight and the sea was calm and very pretty. The boat lights started coming on and a soft sea breeze cooled the air.

On the cliffs and there on the water front we passed several young couples, locked in tight embraces, kissing, oblivious to the crowds of people only a few feet away.

  Nave Album****1967****Europe trip chronology Go Back