17 January 2008

A Rainy Day of Culture

Sometimes you can be a tourist without a passport stamp. I had a few days off and headed west to Wiltshire to visit my friend Cindy. We had a plan for a jam packed day of culture, as she is moving to Germany in the summer. We had pencilled in Avebury, Salisbury(repeat visit) and Winchester. Due to sleeping late, general laziness, rain and endless cups of tea, we 'streamlined' the trip to just Winchester.

If the phrase "Winchester Cathedral" rings a bell to you, it is probably due to the worlds worst song with that title. I refuse to embed a link to it, but you can youtube it. My parents actually had the record, which makes me wonder about their drug consumption in the 60s. A song sung through a cheerleaders megaphone type horn. Bad.....

Luckily the cathedral is not bad at all. I actually prefer it to Salisbury Cathedral. The incredibly rainy day and late start means there is no photos here of the glorious stained glass . The crypt, pictured above, actually looked incredible arty due to the flooding which caused the reflections of the statue. Modern statue ( cast of the sculptors physique) plus flooding = cool photo.
The wall behind the altar ( help me with the real name of this, o religious people!) is pretty magnificent. The sculptures are not the originals, most were removed during the reformation. Queen Victoria is depicted in there. What you cannot see are the 6 trunks of former rulers bones, 3 perched on wither side of this wall. The only name the guide could remember was King Canute, she was rather old so I cut her lots of slack!
The wood carvings here are where the monks used to sit and pray. Every knob seemed to have a person on it, each nook and cranny an allegory of some sort. How can you not like a monkey?? The cleaning crew was in the cathedral when we were there. During gale force winds you really get places to yourself tourist wise..... But we did have to hop around cherry pickers,brass polishers and dusters.
Luckily these cleaners did show us the secret light to illuminate the small chapel shown here. it is from the Norman part of the church and was covered over by other plaster, only discovered when restoring the covering.

If you have read 'the Constant Princess' or seen Elizabeth, then you will recognize the names of a couple married here, Mary Tudor and Phillip of Spain. Jane Austin was one of the last people buried here.

The town itself is incredible charming, filled with little places to have the required cup of tea or coffee and wait out the rain. Well worth the drive/train trip, no passport required.

1 comment:

Fallibility said...

Um, I know this post was put up a while ago but, all the same - I think you mean Jane Austen (not Austin) and the link to the Austin, Texas homepage is there because ...? Maybe you meant http://www.austen.com?

Sorry to nitpick, and I love the blog!