Europe Photoblogging, Part 8: Winchester, Norwich, and Canterbury
By Dwip September 15, 2014, 3:03 pm Comments (0) RSS Feed for this post

Right on about the middle of our time in England was Spring Break, where we got a week off and were heavily encouraged to travel wherever we wanted in Europe. Some people went to Prague, a group went to Pompeii, and various other trips were taken. Personally, I knew I was going to spend a month traveling Europe, so it was time to get a little bit more England in while I was here.

I describe the entire trip here and here. I ended up taking day trips to Winchester, Norwich, and Canterbury, with longer ones to York and Carlisle, each of which will get their own posts.

That’s the Winchester leg of my trip. Took an hour and a half train to Winchester on 4/30/04, took one back the same day. This is a good time to talk about my appreciation for the British Rail system – it went everywhere I wanted it to go, at the times I wanted it to go there, for obnoxiously cheap. Unlike trying to get around in the US, I never once felt the lack of a car while in the UK – the trains were just that good, and the cities were all walkable.

This is in the great hall of Winchester Castle, and that round thing is legendarily King Arthur’s Round Table, although it’s actually a medieval table from 1275. It’s still way cool.

Things like this were why I wanted to hit up Winchester in the first place. Once upon a time it was the capitol of Wessex and then England, and while it’s now a fairly sleepy little city, a few echoes remain. Nice day trip from London.

One of the things you do when you’re royalty is boast about your cool geneology. That whole wall over there is covered in a giant family tree, which is one of the more unique wall decorations I’ve seen in my travels.

This is Queen Eleanor’s Garden, kind of out the side door from the Great Hall. It’s supposed to be a recreation medieval garden, and I’ve used it as a reference picture many times since. Nice little patch of greenery in the middle of Winchester.

You can also see just how abysmally wet it was the entire time I was in Winchester. I was extremely, extremely soggy by the end of this excursion.

This is Winchester Cathedral, whose main claim to fame is being one of the largest in Europe. Indeed, it’s an impressive place, though I’m sad to say I don’t recall much of the interior. Pictures not allowed means I forget everything.

Which is sad, because there were also a bunch of museums I would have loved to have pictures of too.

This is a Smart car. They’re reasonably common here in the US these days, but back in 2004 none of us had ever seen one before, and every occasion somebody DID see one was an event. Here I have spotted one in the wilds of Winchester.

This is a chunk of Wolvesey Castle, a rather massive sort of place that mostly looks like what you see here. It was fairly important for various things from the 12th century on before being destroyed along with a lot of other things I wish they hadn’t during the English Civil War.

Of note, much of the castle and palace and everything else in Winchester is made out of flint, which makes a very interesting looking decorative stone.

On the next day, 5/1/04, I hopped a train for Norwich. I’m not wholly sure why I went there or what I expected to find. It might have had something to do with John Julius Norwich, whose books I greatly admire, though he’s from entirely the wrong Norwich.

Whatever I had expected, what I actually got was probably the least medieval of all the cities I went to in England. This is central Norwich, and while you can see the castle peeking up over some trees there, everything else is fairly modern. I frankly spent most of my time wandering the various shops and the large mall they have there. As a result, it’s probably the place I have the least fond memories of.

This is the garderobe at Norwich Castle, complete with two cutout figures. I have no idea why they’re there, but they’re certainly amusing.

This is just some random cool stairway in Norwich. No special story here, except that as you’re going to hopefully understand, I like taking pictures of random neat things involving plants and stairs and gates and things.

Also, seriously, my Norwich pictures just aren’t very good. I did more things there but only have a scant few pictures of any of them.

After a weekend of relaxation, I took the day of 5/3 and went to Canterbury, which is among other things one of the most important and historic cities in England – think Archbishop of Canterbury, Canterbury Tales and so on and so forth.

I confess that I do not altogether look on my time there fondly. Of all the places I went in England, Canterbury was the most like a tourist trap, and they wanted money for damn near everything, which I declined to give them in a lot of cases. Thus, most of my few pictures are from outside, where I was in the rain most of the day.

This is what’s left of the Norman Canterbury Castle. It’s all in ruins now, and it was closed while I was there, so all I got were a few exterior shots.

I’m not wholly clear if this is the real Invicta locomotive or a replica, but either way it was one of the very very first steam locomotives. This is in the then Museum of Canterbury, one of the cooler places I went in Canterbury.

This is the Dane John Mound, which was a burial mound before it became the basis of a Norman motte and bailey castle and then a park. Dane John, of course, is one of those great English corruptions of other words, in this case donjon for the keep of a castle.

I hung out here a bunch. It’s one of the few things in Canterbury that’s free.

These are the Canterbury city walls, with the monument on the Dane John Mound peeking above the trees to the right. This is on the bridge over the A28 between Canterbury East station where I came in and the Dane John Gardens. It was a pretty cool way to enter the city:

This is all my ticket swag from this part of the trip. From left to right, top to bottom:

* Tickets to and from Canterbury.

* Pamphlet from the Canterbury Roman Museum, about which I remember not a thing.

* Flyer from Canterbury Cathedral.

* Tickets for the various Canterbury museums and the Canterbury Cathedral. The museum ticket by itself was £3.40, the cathedral £4.50. I believe this was the only one of the lot that wasn’t just straight up free.

* Tickets to and from Winchester.

* Flyer from Winchester Cathedral.

* Tickets to and from Norwich.

* Flyer and sticker from Norwich Castle and associated museums.

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