|My mom said I couldn’t bring him home 🙁|
We started by walking along the famous wall that encircles the heart of town. The Romans laid the foundations around 100 AD, and through the centuries they have been fortified and improved. Now they are a major tourist attraction, encircling the heart of medieval Chester. We students split up into groups, and I ended up walking with an Englishman and three Canadians–such a novel experience! On a regular day at home I am awed by anyone from a foreign country, and here I am palling around with a little United Nations delegation.
We walked along the wall until we came to some Roman ruins. We saw the remains of a garden and bathhouse, then explored the shell of an amphitheater. It’s incredible to think that these stones have been in place for thousands of years, that Roman legions once occupied Britain and left their mark upon the land. The empire was once so great, and now these memories are all that are left–decaying ruins and the subtle cultural traits passed on through the generations that must have helped shape Britons into what they are today.
|Shameless advertising in church|
There was a church nearby called St. John’s, completely free, so we stopped inside. It was a lovely church, filled with intriguing history. The most surprising part was the blatant advertising in the form of hot chocolate, used books, postcards, etc. etc. etc. I know it’s a hard struggle keeping these places open, so I bought a postcard and felt a little better about myself.
We went around the outside of Chester Cathedral, through the peaceful garden of remembrance which was full of blossoms and pigeons, then stepped into Mr. Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe for some goodies to save for later. Cinder toffee is delicious!
We stepped into another church, but this time it was to check out an antique fair–my first since coming to the UK. It was so strange to see a beautiful old building (one of the oldest churches in Chester, I believe) filled with people picking through yard sale and craft items, even eating at a cafe inside the old sanctuary. I bought a bracelet with a silver heart charm as a kind of souvenir.
We came out and started meandering in the direction of the carpark, then got waylaid by a cheesy carnival. It was one of those traveling affairs that sets up in a town over the weekend with rides of dubious safety and food of definite suspicion. The boys went straight to the tallest ride at the festival, something that swings you around at a very great height, but I contented myself with recording the whole thing on video.
The carnival seemed to have an American theme, the rides decorated with superheroes, scantily-clad women, and the MTV logo. Is this what Brits think of America? If so, it’s sad indeed.
We split up into groups, just like last time, and I ended up sticking to a Kiwi, a guy from Argentina, and a German–once again, the only American! We walked the old walls again, but this time I actually got to go inside Chester Cathedral. That was an absolute treat.
|The fabulous quire|
After the thrill of so much beautiful history, we felt a more basic sensation–hunger. We headed for some good old-fashioned English pub grub, selecting the Pied Bull for lunch. It has dark, low ceilings and the classic black-and-white Tudor look that makes Chester so special. I had fried haddock, chips, and mushy peas, which were quite delicious. After doing a bit of shopping we had to race back to the coach (and I mean race) to get back to Capernwray by teatime.
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