Canterbury and I… it could be a love story. On Saturday morning, my alarm clock went off on an hour so painfully early, I can’t even remember what I did the first few hours I was awake. 3:15am is never a good idea. Around 4, my mom brought me to the bus companies main parking, where a few other people were already waiting and a crew of bus drivers was busy to get a coach ready for the long drive. Exactly on time (4:30am) the bus driver, a Dutch man who liked to wink at me a lot, pushed the gas pedal, and off we went!
A little before 9 we arrived in Calais, France where we had just missed a ferry to Dover. We had to wait an hour on the biggest parking lot I have ever seen, before a new ferry started boarding. But fear not, there was free wifi. Good points for the French! You could see England lying across the sea, a stunning and rare view! At a quarter to 10, our coach finally rolled onto the Pride Of Kent, and I quickly searched for a seating spot near the windows at the rear end of the ferry, so that I could snap pretty photos of the beaches of Calais when we slowly sailed out of the harbor. The dusty windows may have gotten in my way a bit. A seagull teasingly sat down on a pillar near my spot, but it took off just before I could get my zoom lens out. After an hour and twenty minutes of water, a female voice kindly asked us passengers to head back below decks to find our coach or car. The white cliffs of Dover stunned me for a good twenty minutes and then our bus finally set cours to Canterbury itself.
After 7 and a half hours of coach and ferry I finally set foot on the concrete parking near the Sainsbury’s supermarket. As I had never been to Canterbury before, I patiently waited to start my adventure until the bus drivers explained us how to walk. I then still followed a couple of fellow passengers to make sure I wouldn’t get lost immediately. Just a few hundred meters away from where we had parked, I stumbled upon the first thing I had on my checklist: Abbots Mill (St-Radigun’s street). Little boats full of tourists were on the water and butterflies and bees were buzzing from flower to flower. It was such a sweet little garden! Eager to get shopping though, I quickly went on and found my way to The Parade. Apart from Whitefriars this is the street where you’ll find most chain stores, like Office Shoes, French Connection and even a Nando’s Mexican restaurant. Nando’s is awesome.
I wanted to do some damage, but shopping in England can get quite expensive really fast, so instead of aimlessly browsing the racks at Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Next UK, I decided to get off the main shopping streets and see what little treasures I could find. On my way from The Parade to the Cathedral, my eyes caught Wisteria (12 Mercery Lane). Their storefront filled with all of the cutest dresses and jewelry lured me in. From gemstone rings to pretty pillows, Wisteria has got it all! I fell absolutely in love with their collection, but with dresses retailing for £50 and more, I decided to stick with two post cards to add to my wall. Though… I can’t stop thinking about a particular navy dress with flamingo print.
After my visit to Wisteria, I found myself quite thirsty. After a walking through a few back roads, I stumbled back upon The Parade (Canterbury, truly is a small city!) and started my search for a delicious afternoon tea. I came across a restaurant claiming to have the best fish and chips in town and suddenly I felt a little hungry too! Unfortunately the place was packed with people, but there was a lovely looking tearoom just a few houses down the street that had me at the words “hazelnut coffee”. Tiny Tim’s tearoom (34 St-Margareth’s street) offers an extensive list of teas, coffees and most importantly: home baked cakes. One thing was up though: I was alone. Sitting in a tearoom alone with a steaming hot coffee and a slice of lemon cake (with cream, of course!) feels a bit weird. There were families and couples having lunch all around me and suddenly I felt so incredibly lonely. I wanted someone there with me. A man playing a sad play on the piano behind me wasn’t helping much either, haha. Just when my sadness was about to get the best of me, an elderly lady came in, sat down near me and smiled at me. It gave me the courage to stay and finish my coffee and cake like a big girl. But then I found out that the house the tearoom was build in, is known to be the most haunted place in Canterbury. I ran the hell outta there!
Supposedly selling the best fish ‘n chips in town, this fish bar is located on St-Margareth’s street. At the end of the street, turn right to find the book shop.
With only a few more hours left in the city, I decided to speed up my tempo and go search for the John Dane gardens. I walked in the completely wrong direction though and that’s when some bad things happened. I walked by Fenwick (St-George’s street) and looked at their window displays. I stopped, went in and did some serious damage. My wallet is still recuperating, but I finally have my leopard print flats and the prettiest tin cans this girl has ever seen. Also, if you want to make me happy: this gorgeous little sugar bowl is high on my wishlist as well! After Fenwicks, I decided to go search for the West Gate Gardens, which were not at all hard to find, because they were right next to… the West Gate. Heaven for photographers, and home to many rose bushes and other Flora. I sat down on a bench for a while to enjoy the nearby water and to get a little rest.
On to the pride of Canterbury: their cathedral. You have to pay to get on the grounds (£8.50 for students), but it truly is a fabulous site to visit! Because there was a wedding ceremony, I didn’t have the chance to visit the main altar, but there were plenty more rooms that were accessible and I spend about an hour touring the cathedral before I realized it was almost time to go home. I took portraits for other tourists and one for my Instagram (duh!) and then left to find our coach. I picked up a box of blueberries and a small pack of grapes at Sainsbury’s before I took place on seat 44 again. This time in Dover, we had the luck that the Pride of France sailed into port right when we arrived. Being the newest ferry of them all, this one was a true pleasure to sail on. Lots of window seats and free wifi on board!? Even more good points for the French! I feasted on blueberries while reading the last pages of InStyle and I switched my contacts for my glasses when I saw the port of Calais appear on the horizon. They played the movie Ted, but being so far at the back of the coach I wasn’t able to hear or see a thing. I called it a night, and went to sleep. Just like the old man next to me had been doing all day. I arrived home a little past 1 in the night, and immediately made my way to bed. I was exhausted, but it was a good day. I’ll be definitely doing this again. Just not any time soon I think. 7.5 hours of bussing may have been a bit to much, haha!