Thursday, January 21, 2010

Leeds, Dover, Canterbury

Today I went on a tour down south to Leeds Castle, Dover and Cantebury. On the way out of town our tour guide told us about this area - Blackheath. This is where the victims of the bubonic plague were buried. They can't build anything here because if they unearth the bodies they will release the plague into the air again. No trees either since the plague can be released through them as well. Crazy!

This is Leeds Castle, it had been a royal castle since the 12th century. It had various owners and has been renovated many times. In 1926, it was bought by a private owner, Lady Baillie and renovated in the french style. When she passed away she gave it to the public. It is now used for weddings and conferences.

Another view of the beautiful castle.

This is what a medieval bathroom would have looked like, though they didn't bathe that often.

This is one of the newly renovated rooms, it is used as a conference room. The Egyptian president and the Israeli Foerign Minister met in this room in preparation for the Camp David Accord.

This is one of the entryways. The castle was really amazing to see. I wanted to go to an old country estate as well, but since I never got to do that, this was pretty close.

Lady Baillie was also very fond of exotic birds. This is a kookaburra! When it sings it sounds exactly like a monkey...weird!

I also saw a toucan - very cool to see up close. I didn't have time to go through it, but there is also a maze on the property.
Oddly enough, there were all these little black birds flying around free. Sometimes it really pays to be a plain old black bird.

Next stop was the white cliffs of Dover - castle perched on top even - very picturesque.

The final stop on our tour was Canterbury Cathedral. The original cathedral in this location was founded in the 7th century.

One of the reasons this cathedral is so famous is because of Sir Thomas Beckett. Beckett had frequent run in's with King Henry II and in 1170 he was heard to exclaim, "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?" His knights took this literally and murdered the priest here on this location in his cathedral. He was murdered on my birthday incidentally....29 of December 1170.

I have been in many churches on my travels but this one was particularly unique and beautiful.

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