Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dover and Canterbury

Wednesday was a first day trip.  We got on the bus and headed to Dover first.  We drove to along the white  cliffs and ended up on the top of this precipice and there was the Dover Castle.  We just walked around and took a bunch of pictures. We walked all the way to the tippy top of the castle and we could see France across the channel. Then we stopped at the beach just to do some gazing:)  They don’t have sand here just a bunch of rocks which I kind of like because then you don’t get sandy. Then we headed to Canterbury to pay our respects to St. Thomas Becket. These are some of some of my thoughts from my learning Journal...

Canterbury was one of my favorite cathedrals that I have seen in Europe.  Not only was it historically significant and interesting to look at, but I thought it was beautiful.  The style was not far from the regular church but it just seemed bigger. The ceilings were a little taller, the nave a little longer, it was just magnificent.  It was thrilling to see the actual change in architecture over the history of the church.  There were literally this round renaissance arches halfway cut off by a pillar from a pointed gothic arch.  Down in the crypt was also a great example of the early styles with the low ceilings and fat arches while just meters above was a perfect example of the the openness and color of the gothic style.  I loved the room in the crypt with the paintings on the walls.  Our tour guide said that several years ago there was just a wall where the entrance was and when they knocked down the wall they found the paintings.  These were the type of paintings that would have adorned the walls of the whole church back in St. Thomas’s time.  It was a little sad for me to see the damage the Puritans did when they came into the church. They cut off the heads and hands of any of the statues that they could reach and smashed in all the stain glass.  I can’t even imagine the history and art that would have been lost.

I feel a little bit of a stronger connection with the church because it has a little big of America in it.  Our tour guide showed us in the courtyard in the cloisters where there was an elephant, a donkey, and an eagle carved into the stone.  She said this was thank you to the  Americans because in WWII their library was bombed out and America was the one who sent money to help rebuild and re collect things.  I also loved the stian glass in the chapel where St. Thomas was killed.  It was a fairly recent depiction of the current queen at her Coronation as well as a picture of her family.  I was just thinking that it is so neat that we are contributing to history. For us right now it seems as though things like stain glass in cathedrals is only in history but in a couple hundred years, we will be the history

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