From the white cliffs we could see the castle in the background. We spent time walking along the cliffs and taking pictures. The English do not believe in guard rails so it’s up to you to make sure you don’t get too close to the edge. Sometimes the path was quite narrow and very close to the cliff’s edge.
We returned to the hotel on the Cathedral grounds. We had dinner in our room with groceries from a local Tesco. While it was sometimes warmish in the room, it never got really hot and we could open the windows. While Rick Steves’ literature says that some hotels may not have air conditioning—none of our hotels had air conditioning. I think our hottest days in England were in the mid-80s. I have read that since then that England is in the middle of an unprecedented heat wave and temperatures have gone to the mid-90s.
Day 3: We were able to sleep in. We had breakfast at 8:30AM. The breakfast included vegetarian sausage and a nice buffet. You could also order from a menu. The breakfast room overlooked a patio but the real beauty of the hotel was the flowers outside the front door. Red roses, purple somethings, trees, and behind it all, the side of the cathedral.
Today was our day to tour the cathedral and see a stained glass presentation. We broke into two groups and ours started with the stained glass tour. One of our members made stained glass and he was very interested. I was a little disappointed because much of the presentation focused on current projects and not in the antique glass in the cathedral windows. Another small disappointment was that Canterbury Cathedral, like many historic places in Britain, was shrouded in scaffolding. Once inside, though, it didn’t interfere with the experience.
After the stained glass tour, we went to the cathedral. Inside the cathedral has some modern art exhibits, including a boat-shaped series of clear glass cylinders. It was quite pretty, but the real joy, of course, is seeing the original carvings, pillars, woodwork, vaulted gothic ceilings, windows and just feeling the history of the place.
The cathedral tour was over at 1:00PM. We had a picnic in a secluded, shaded garden between the hotel and the cathedral. We were the only people there but there were several picnic tables so it was perfect. It was also a lovely, clear day—one of many such days. We rested, then decided to skip the punting on the river. Instead, we walked to St. Augustine Abbey. Out in the sun, we felt the heat. The abbey has a nice, small museum with virtual reality set-up to see what the abbey looked like before it was destroyed in the Reformation. After we toured the museum, we walked in the abbey ruins. Then we picked up pizzas and ate them in our private garden beside the hotel. A bonus was that we heard snatches of evensong coming from the cathedral. Then we packed to leave in the morning.