Walking in the streets of London is like walking back in time. There is history everywhere you go and in everything you see. This weekend, I was able to travel to Canterbury and Dover where I was able to see a different side of British life.
Canterbury is one of the very few cities in the UK that is still inside it’s medieval wall. I couldn’t help but think of my literature classes and one of our assigned readings, “The Canterbury Tales.”
As we comfortably rode in our coach for the hour and a half trip to Canterbury I thought of the thousands of pilgrims that made their way to the Canterbury Cathedral and their journey that lasted days. I could only imagine the feeling those faithful pilgrims must have felt to see the place they had their hearts set on. The town is beautiful.
The narrow cobble-stoned roads between cute little shops, bakeries, and pubs was just what I imaged a town in England to look like. The cathedral was magnificent. It was beautiful and so peaceful. It was easy to see why Chaucer was inspired. The cathedral is enormous and the architecture is amazing.
Then we made our way to Dover on the same day. At half an hour away from Canterbury, Dover wasn’t rainy, but it turned out to be probably the coldest and windiest day of my life. We went to Dover Castle which is where aristocrat pilgrims went to spend the night or a few days as a stop while they were on their pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral.
It was fully furnished and decorated the way historians thought it would have looked like during its time. The most popular color was actually bright blue because it was the most expensive color, and it was a way of showing your class. The castle’s main point wasn’t so much to shelter the aristocrat pilgrims, but it was mostly to impress them. We couldn’t see France from the top of the castle, and the fierce winds could not let you hear anything else other than the howling fury.
Finally, because freezing at the top of the castle wasn’t enough we went to the White Cliffs. It was breathtaking! Not just because of the cold, but because the view was impressive. It is one of the iconic images of England and to stand on top of the cliffs was unbelievable.
With the sea crashing below us we laughed, took pictures, and even climbed a bit. I was surprised at how soft to the touch it was. I almost slipped a few times as we walked the trails. The mud was so slick and my moccasins didn’t have enough grip, and my classmates screamed with me as they would grab hold of me.
As I stood at the top of the cliffs, I realized just how young I am and how much life I have before if God grants me a long and healthy life. I realized that although I have much to life, life is too short to stay in your comfort zone. You have to go out there and explore the world. There is so much to see and so much to do in such little time. I don’t know, I think it was the view from that top that made me truly appreciate life and all these beautiful gifts God has given.
I have never taken anything in my life for granted, but in that moment I felt something within me ignite. I want to see more of the world and I want to live life. Life is an adventure, and you never know where it will take you. So instead of just sitting around and seeing where you end, why not take hold of the steering wheel for a change?