Sunday, March 25, 2012

dancing with the daffodils

Emily, Alexis, and I set out early yesterday morning for a day trip to Leeds Castle, Canterbury, and Dover.  Even at the early hour of 7:00am, we already knew that it was going to be a beautiful day.  With not a cloud in the sky, we disembarked the coach at our first stop - the castle.  Rather than heading immediately for the front gates, we chose to stroll along the path through the park leading up to this historic site.
Along the way, we also spotted some breathtaking black swans.  Native to Australia, Leeds Castle is the only place outside of the continent where these gorgeous birds can be found.
We could see the castle in the distance, but, before finally arriving, we first had to make our way through a labyrinth of the likes of the Triwizard Tournament.  
Luckily, we finally made it to the center.  Although, there was no port key to greet us, we did find a lovely view of the castle grounds.
With all inhibiting obstacles out of the way, we finally approached the castle gates, stopping only once more to admire the springtime daffodils that made me recall the poem of Wordsworth.  

"A host, of golden daffodils" - William Wordworth
Although the interior of the castle was awfully impressive, we highly anticipated the opportunity to return outside to the glorious sunlight.
We returned to the coach to head to our next destination - Canterbury.  The purpose of our journey to this medieval city was to experience the historic Canterbury Cathedral.
Although this was another cathedral to add to the long list that we have seen throughout this trip, we all agreed that they never seemed to grow less spectacular.  In particular, we admired the stunning Gothic spires and vaulted ceilings.  We also awed at the beautiful sunlight that shone through the giant stained glass windows.
After exiting the cathedral, we still had some time remaining to enjoy the city of Canterbury so we strolled the sunlit streets and did some shopping.  I, predictably, bought shoes.

When we finished here at around 3:00, we jumped on the bus again to travel to our final destination: Dover.  The drive was relatively short.  As we approached the city, we stopped briefly to take our photos outside of Dover Castle, which dates back to the time of William the Conquerer.  
The real purpose of our trip to Dover, however, was to see the infamous White Cliffs that have been a site of hope for so many people arriving in the United Kingdom.
Perhaps, months from now, when we reflect on our trip to England, these cliffs will bring back fond memories to us as well.