Tuesday, August 05, 2008

English Roadtrip - July 2008 - The Cathedral Tour

It's difficult to think about visiting England without seeing its magnificent cathedrals. While there are various similar features, each has a certain uniqueness and grandeur that makes a visitor feel in awe once inside. And since many cathedrals are older than the Renaissance period, there isn't as much as sense of lavishness as in Italy.

Winchester - Even though the exterior is not very spectacular ("an old log"), the interior is very awesome, since this cathedral boasts the longest nave of a Gothic cathedral in Europe. The building dates from the early 11th century and is the burial place of Jane Austen; she had lived in a nearby town of Chawton.

Salisbury - This cathedral is nearby to Stonehenge and boasts the tallest spire in the UK. The interior courtyard was really pretty.

Canterbury - Yes, the Canterbury of the title "Archbishop of Canterbury", who is the head of the Church of England. We visited the cathedral actually one week week before the Lambeth Conference, a once-in-10-years conference for all worldwide Anglican bishops... a good thing for us because otherwise, we would not have been able to go near the cathedral, even if it would have been an awesome sight to glimpse all the bishops! The cathedral is open to visit and we caught Evensong, which is a liturgy, an afternoon/evening service that is delivered musically. It consists of various prayers, including the Lord's Prayer that is sung, plus a Scripture reading from each of the Old and New Testaments. For us with less discerning ears, we enjoyed the voices very much [please mind my shaky recording while walking!]

York Minster - The Archbishop of York is second highest to Canterbury, and has likely always had a rivalry with this other large church in the south. York Minster is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe... and it was amazing to walk in. We also caught Evensong this time around [also, if you go to the cathedral to worship, you don't have to pay for admission... :p], and this time around, my ear was a little more discerning. :p But it was a good time of quietness, prayer, and meditation amidst a busy vacation.

London - St. Paul's Cathedral - The previous building (4th cathedral) was burned down in the Great Fire of London in 1666, so this cathedral was designed in the 17th century. The interior artwork of mosaics is spectacular (unfortunately, no photographs), and the view from the inner ring of the dome is amazing [it is large enough to be a small track!] Then, there is a trek up many steps to the top of the dome that provides a great view of the surrounding area. Here, I'm not sure what I'm eating... it could be a multi-grain bun, which is supposed to contrast with Alison's sugar-coated apple turnover. :P

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

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