Sunday, 6 March 2011

A Tale of my trip to Canterbury (and London and Leeds Castle)

So last weekend, February 25th, was one that I had been looking forward to for a while.  I was flying out to visit Kati, my best friend from high school, who is spending the semester studying in London! It had been 2 1/2 months since I last saw Kati, so I was very excited to spend the weekend with her, and explore England of course.  On Friday morning I took my hiking backpacked filled with weekend clothes and supplies to my three hour photo class, and then headed to straight to the bus station from class.  I was nervous about getting from my class at 1pm to my flight at 4 25, but since I am my father's daughter, this stress was unneccisary and I made it to the airport 2 hours early haha.  After a very short flight I landed in London and hopped on a bus headed to central london, where Kati was waiting for me.  On the bus I met a very nice older British man, named Stephen, who told me some must see sights on my weekend there.  It was lovely having some one to chat with on the bus, and he even gave me his email telling me to contact him if I wanted to stay with him and his wife this summer to watch Wimbledon and eat strawberries and cream! I don't think I'll be able to fly back here for Wimbledon this summer, but it was a very sweet welcome to London.

Kati met me at the bus stop, and after our very happy hugs and catching up we headed back to her apartment, where she lives with about 60 other BU students.  There she cooked me a delicious dinner of salmon, pasta with pesto and spinach, while I met a bunch of her friends in the communal kitchen.  We went out with them for a little bit to a karaoke bar, but had to head home early since our alarms were set for 7 the next morning!  Kati and I woke up and headed to a bus, where her school was offering a tour to Leeds Castle and the town of Stirling.  After a 2 hour bus ride, we arrived on the grounds of Leeds Castle.  It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL.  Unlike the other castles I have seen so far in the UK, this one actually had a huge grounds area, with gardens, pathways, a golf course and a very large maze.  The walk to the castle reminded me of the setting of Pride and Predjudice or Jane Eyre.  There were peacocks and swans everywhere, and adorable flower arrangements.  After touring the castle, which was really interesting because people have lived there until the 1930s, so there was some modern stuff in the rooms, Kati and I tried to do the maze.  It was really fun, but we almost got trapped! Luckily we made it out in time to catch the bus and head to Canterbury.
the Castle grounds

the moat

Me and Kati lost in the maze haha

The maze

Outside of leeds castle

the Queen's bedroom
After about a 30 minute bus ride we arrived in Canterbury, and adorable little town and the setting of the Canterbury tales.  Kati and I walked around, grabbed some lunch and explored the different cathedrals there.  We found this delicious fudge store where we could watch them making the fudge fresh, so of course we had to invest in a bit of that as well. 

the town of canterbury

An adorable little area we found!

We got home at around 6 that night and we were exhausted.  So we made another delicious dinner that night, and spent a few hours just hanging out, drinking hot chocolate and relaxing.  Then we went out for a little bit to a late night cafe with some of her friends where we got some delicious Greek food and fresh juices.  Then we headed to bed since Sunday was going to be another early morning.
We woke up at around 8 on sunday and I packed up my bag to go.  Kati and I walked to Hyde Park, which is a huge park in the middle of London.  There we rented bikes and rode around the park for about two hours, which was wonderful! It was a sunny day out and the park was full of people, dogs and other animals. We rode to the center of the park where there is the Orangery, a famous tea room.  Kati and I both got cups of tea with scones, and it was the perfect way to end my weekend in England. I rushed to my bus, and said goodbye to Kati and headed to the airport.  It was a wonderful weekend and I really can't wait to go back to London and explore more at the end of this month, as the beginning of our three week tour of Europe:)
Me and Kati riding through Hyde park

it was a beautiful day! the Garden outside the orangery

Me about to enjoy some delicious tea and scone

So cute! inside the Orangery

My tea and scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream

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