During this next year Cody and I will take turns sharing our experiences as I study abroad to receive a masters degree in art history. We will be in Canterbury until December, and in Rome from January to April. The other months remain to be determined. Though mainly for ourselves as an outlet and way to remember our experiences, we are pleased to share these entries with whoever may find them interesting. :) (Shout out to our parents!) Loves to you all!
Today is number 28 in Europe for Kelly and me, and things are going well. Kelly’s classes are now in full swing and we have a solid understanding (at least of our area) of Canterbury. Kelly has rented a bike for the term and found a nice route to the campus. We found a couple grocery stores to go to and a nice book store/coffee shop to work and read at.
While Kelly will be taking classes this year, I am freelancing which has given me a lot of time to explore, read, do crossword puzzles and do some fun personal design projects during my days.
Canterbury has been a fun town to live in. There seems to always be something going on, we went to a food and drink festival and there are some more coming up: an international arts festival, the big draw festival, and a mile-long trick or treat event on the main street we live off of. There are a lot of pretty places to walk and see as well. Last weekend we walked to a neighboring town, Chartham, to have lunch at an old pub called The Artichoke. The foot path in between the towns was 3 miles not crossing any roads but out in grassy fields.
Canterbury has also been great because most places have a lot of dairy free options since Kelly is allergic. One of our favorite spots is a punk rock pub down the road with its whole dessert menu being vegan. Kelly and I shared a brownie sundae a couple days ago (and by share I mean that I got one bite).
Speaking of food, one thing I noticed is people here love corn. I thought I loved corn, I have told people many times before that corn is a flavor I love added to any dish. Over here, I have been given the chance to test that love. Any place that has add-on options to food, includes corn as one of those options. Deli sandwich, throw some corn on it. Pizza, throw some corn on it. It’s everywhere and I have found that I in fact do not love corn on every dish.
So as you can see, this living abroad experience has been teaching me a lot about myself.
Enjoy some pictures from our weekend walk and a couple of little illustrations I’ve done.
As many of you know, our new flat in Canterbury is essentially a tiny house. The main room is about ten foot by ten foot, and there’s a hall/closet about 2 by 3 feet that leads into the bathroom or to the exit. Sometimes we call it our closet because we have all our bags hanging on the walls here, but we enter through it… so we are basically in Narnia. We also joked that if one of us ever needs space we could go sit in here for some quiet time. Haha
This flat was masterfully designed, props to our landlord. Everything is simplified everywhere possible and other areas have multiple purposes. We actually do have a dining table that is tucked away next to the wall, and when we need it we can pull it out! All our silverware and dishes are hanging up. (I actually like this a lot, Cody could do without all the silverware on the wall though.) And we have an open closet where we can hang up jackets and sweaters.
It’s small but it has everything we need! A stove-top, a microwave, sink, fridge and even our own washing machine! The flat is directly off a busy walking street which means there’s no traffic except for the occasional tourist exploring down our alley.
Here's a video tour!
Getting to London was fairly painless, except when we arrived we realized that our checked bag had been temporarily delayed. This wasn’t too much of a problem, the rest of our belongings were packed nicely in two backpacks each, which we wore one on front one on back. We attracted some pretty strange looks for this fashion choice. The only things we missed were a pair of comfy shoes for me (I wore my new boots to save room) and a coat. Other than wearing my large orange sweater every day in London everything seemed to go as planned.
Our cheap hostel was north of downtown London about 30 minutes by train. We paid 22 pounds a night, and that was about the right price point. It was a tiny room with literally nothing in it accept one bunk bed and a trash can. HA We joked that this really helped us adjust to our flat in Canterbury because by the time we arrived to our 10 by 10 flat for the semester it seemed glorious. “A sink? A Microwave? All to ourselves?!”
London was breathtaking, everything was walk-able and what wasn’t was in reach by the subway. It was taller than I expected. Many buildings were 4 to 5 floors tall and more reminiscent of Greek and Roman architecture than I expected. Once we arrived in Canterbury with its cobblestone streets and cottage-like buildings I realized that THAT was what I had been expecting. I guess that's what I get for basing my entire concept of London on 101 Dalmatians.
A quick summary of our tour:
This day was a whirlwind, we started out at Big Ben and the Parliament building which was as beautiful as expected. Then we saw Westminster Cathedral; with its eerily unfinished walls and ceilings, Westminster Abbey; with its many tombs and Henry VII Chapel and its lacy ceiling, and Buckingham Palace; with its hatted guards. (Somewhere in there we stopped by Trafalgar square?) We finished off the day by seeing “IT” in cinemas. (Our jet lag got the best of us)
This day probably had the coolest weather and my orange sweater was not quite cutting it. This day we saw Tower of London which houses the Royal Jewels as well as hundreds of original Suits of Armor. The Royal Jewels were my favorite part of this day, and it seemed like it was probably everyone else’s, because to view these one would stand on a conveyor belt and scroll past all the sparkles, and much too quickly in my opinion. There were multiple diamonds larger than my thumb. London Tower Bridge was right next door and we took a quick walk to have a closer look. My new dream is to live in one of the london tower bridge rooms.
Natural History Museum!! Our favorite! This beautiful building had many dinosaur (and other) skeletons as well as many other exhibits. Interestingly, we really enjoyed the “rocks” room, which had on display natural occurring rock formations of every kind. We were both surprised by the colors and unique shapes that could occur naturally. Afterword we walked by Royal Albert Hall, and in (late) celebration of our one year anniversary had a fancy dinner and went to see Les Miserables at Queen Anne’s Theater.
On our last day we took as stroll through Hyde Park along the lake/pond, shared a hot chocolate with the company of some nice swanns, walked past The Albert Memorial on our way to Kensington Palace. We enjoyed the gardens and strolled about the property. Subwayed over to the Leadenhall Market for a quick lunch and then went to St. Paul’s Cathedral. At St. Paul’s one of the staircases were closed so they had us take a tiny and slightly creepy passage that was only a little wider and taller than your average person, this passage lead to a viewing area of the Dome.
There is so much more to do in London that we didn’t get to do. However, Canterbury is only 50 minutes away by train, so I can’t imagine this will be our last time.
Until next time! -Kelly