27 April 2011

Road Trip Day 2: Stonehenge & Canterbury

On Saturday we set out bright and early in search of Stonehenge. After the GPS led us off-road (literally), we finally found the famous stones. They are absolutely in the middle of nowhere. We were driving along with nothing on either side of the road, and we then we spotted it all of a sudden. The only thing to keep Stonehenge company are the tourists and sheep grazing nearby. We were really lucky to have beautiful weather again so we were eager to spend some time in the sun wandering around Stonehenge. I will admit, I left with a new sunburn. My wimpy white skin was no match for the equally wimpy English sun.
Elizabeth and me at Stonehenge.
You can't go up to it anymore, but there is a wide circle roped off around it. As I'm sure you all know, Stonehenge is infamous for its mystery. We don't really know exactly what it was used for or who exactly built it, but that really only adds to the experience. We enjoyed the audio tour and especially enjoyed the gift shop. I was tickled by a sweatshirt that said "Stonehenge: Est. 3000 B.C." But alas, I left with my mandatory coffee mug in hand.
There was no way I could leave without a Mom Picture first.
Canterbury Cathedral
The front of Canterbury Cathedral.
From there we made our way to Canterbury. The drive was a few hours from Stonehenge, so we again passed the time jamming to some tunes and appreciating the views. After dropping our bags off, we immediately set off in search of the famed Canterbury Cathedral. I always love visiting massive cathedrals and churches. The decadence never fails to impress and I am always genuinely amazed with the result. In this instance, the Canterbury Cathedral is massive. We wandered the grounds and surrounding courtyards for quite a while before heading off for dinner. After an oh-so-delicious Italian feast, we returned to Canterbury Cathedral for their Easter Vigil mass. 
Enjoying the grounds of the cathedral. Check out that sunburn.

Inside Canterbury Cathedral for mass.
Upon entering we were immediately given a candle and 36-page booklet for mass. That should have been our first warning that mass was going to be loooong. After sitting in our seats, the whole lot of us filed outside where there was a fire roaring. The Archbishop of Canterbury was there, and he began the service by lighting a big candle and some incense from the fire. We then all filed back into the church -- slowly, might I add. In the doorway we each lit our candles, which only bottlenecked the group. At this point, all of the lights were turned off inside so were forced to navigate via candlelight. Oh, there was also some great singing going on up front. For about 10 (excruciating) minutes, a man sang loudly and monotonously. Let's put it this way, his song alone went on for 2 pages of the booklet. Aaaaand that's about how the rest of the mass went. After hearing a couple more songs that threatened to lull is to sleep and the stories of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea and Jonah and the whale, we were itching to escape. We had already been there for 70 minutes and were only 14 pages into the booklet. It was shaping up to be a looooong(er) mass and were were already nodding off. At the first available moment, we made our escape. All in all, it was a bit disappointing. We were all jazzed because we were going to Easter mass at Canterbury Cathedral, but we didn't enjoy it at all. I will say that it was cool to have the Archbishop of Canterbury give mass, but that's all I really liked about it. Needless to say, I don't think I'll ever convert to the Church of England. 

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