Saturday 29th November
Saturday 29 November: London- Canterbury
Goodbye to London and off to the medieval centre of Canterbury. Had the group ready nice and early and we were on the road by 8.00 a.m. The bus driver Richard would be with us for the next 13 days and the relief of being able to travel easily and not to constantly count bodies and to concentrate so much, was welcome. However the experience of the kids having to master the London Underground and to be on the ball was something that will stay with them. By the end of our three days they often led the way as they confidently strode ahead. Priceless! The trip to London was straightforward and quicker than planned. Arriving at 9.30 was a bonus as it allowed us to do the major shopping for the two lunches we would have on the battlefields on Monday and Tuesday. Keith Oliver my Pommy mate, who was our guide today, met us at 11.00 and into the town we strolled. The plan was to split the group into two halves and take one on a guided tour of Canterbury Cathedral while the second group would do a walking tour with Keith around the medieval walls of the city. The weather was putrid as wet as I have ever seen it at this time of the year. Grey and constant drizzle made for very unpleasant conditions. Lunch was at the Cornwall Pasty shop an icon in this part of the world and even with the rain and cold, these pasties were to die for. Our Cathedral guide has a love for the place that was palpable. Its 1,000 year plus history is the stuff Australians drool over as we tend to look at our brief European story of 200 years as young by comparison. Keith had to leave us due to family commitments so following our tours it was back to our gorgeous hotel to formally book in. The Abbots Barton Hotel is more like an English country house and joy of joys I had a single room with a bath!!!! The next few hours of solitude were gold.
Refreshed and ready to start again it was off to the Pizza Express in town for dinner. The rain had stopped and the walk was quite pleasant. The food was delicious and the crew great company. Back to the hotel and bed beckoned our tired family. Tomorrow we leave the UK and make for France.