The Canterbury Tales: * If you read this classic in high school than you may expect a stream of pilgrims walking on the ancient walls towards Canterbury cathedral. You will find local citizens using the walls as a very easy route without cars and stop lights, day travelers coming from the train station or the occasional runner and bike riders. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Canterbury_Tales
An enormous structure but with perfect scale
More than 25 years ago I visited Canterbury for the first time. My memories were of a town that made me fill as if I stepped back in time 500 years and a vesta box. I am sorry to say I did not remember the cathedral but I did remember and still have the unusual silver box a man would have worn on a chain to carry small matches in.
So a second visit the Canterbury had the goal of seeing the cathedral and the town.
When the opportunity to overnight in Canterbury on my was to Dover arose, I decided to stay overnight on the cathedral grounds at the Cathedral Lodge.
. I think I expected monks or brothers to be in residence as they are during my stays in convent hotels in Italy where I have met travelers and nuns from all over the world. http://hometoitaly.blogspot.com/2013/03/italy-try-convent-instead-of-hotel.html But this is not the case at the Cathedral nor the lodge on the grounds. The hotel is a professionally run conference center and hotel. http://www.canterburycathedrallodge.org/?gclid=CKnF2P6Zl7gCFc0WMgodRiIABA
A short walk from the train station atop the city wall or you can leave your car in the car park outside the main door. The friendly staff quickly checked me in and even helped me with my bags to my room since I was in the older building without an elevator: A nice large room with windows overlooking the town.
A full breakfast as only the English can do, is included with your room. Wifi is available in most rooms and in the library on the first floor. A truly lovely stay.
Since I had returned to Canterbury to see the town and the church, I started with the high (main) street that was busy with shoppers and the weekly market. I am a travel shopper. I shop stores, markets and particularly grocery stores to see what local life is like.
Because I was staying at ‘the Lodge’ I had full access to the Cathedral for my entire stay. There was no choir practice that evening so I sat in on the organ practice. The deep sounds resonated off the walls and the soaring ceiling. Walking in the main nave I tried to imagine a service here hundreds of years ago. Living in a country that only goes back a few hundred years, I enjoy visiting towns and buildings that whisper me. All the footsteps of the generations that walked in the streets and lived their lives…..
One overnight was NOT ENOUGH time to experience the town, meet some of the locals or enjoy all the English culinary treats: a Sunday roast, pub grub and high tea.
I shall just plan to return.
All solo travelers are not 20 somethings:
I met India at the check in counter at the Lodge and she kindly agreed to a short video to explain why she would not consider traveling solo……I found this interesting since everything you read is that solo travel is for backpacking, hostel stays, young travelers who want to go around the world.
Since I research and write about mature solo travel I thought this was enlightening.