Thursday, January 12, 2017

England 2016: Wells Cathedral and Bishop's Palace

You thought I had finished the England trip from last September, didn't you!  HA!

Well, I did finish the Cornwall part of the trip and the Bristol walk the weekend before, but I still have two big posts from after Cornwall when Lisl and I went off on our own, while Astrid was off with "big brother" Chris.

This is the big post on Wells, so strap on your seat belt and enjoy the ride.

Wells is only 31 km from Bath, where Lisl and Michael live, so Lisl drove us there.
It is said to be England's smallest city.
So how did it end up with such a huge cathedral????

Entrance into the Wells Cathedral, built between 1176-1490, is from the cloisters.
(That alone already made my day!)

And then you enter the nave with the immediate view of the "scissor arches."
They may look modern but they're "a medieval solution (1338-48) to sinking tower foundations."

Can you imagine "working" there!

I don't even know where to begin!
But since we started paying attention to the details right away, let's start with these carvings.
How is it, I wonder, that these carvings ended up in this cathedral!
Surely someone knows (probably even Lisl).
Did you know that the salamander (top-left) represents Eternal Life?
And did you see the guy with the toothache?

I suppose you can memorize, after awhile, where everything is situated.
The tombs, especially, and the chantry (top-left).
The stone pulpit is center-left.

I am always drawn to the side chapels off the nave.

But it's the quire that grabs me every time.
Was that because I sang in my church choir growing up and into my married years?

Can you imagine sitting (let alone singing) in such a "choir loft?!"
The embroideries are so delicate no flash photography is allowed.

From the quire you enter the...I'm not sure what?  (!)
But it appears to be where the clergy sit?

You know me by now:  impressions, impressions, impressions.

And more impressions.

Oh, and don't forget the clock, installed c. 1390.
It's one of the oldest medieval clock faces in the world.

Every quarter hour you can watch jousting knights go round in tournament.

Not in this order but at one point we went to the Chapter House, completed in 1306.
It's where the clergy met to conduct their cathedral business and is still used on formal occasions.

Man alive!  What an entrance.

It's an octagonal chamber "full of nothing" but incredible architecture.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

We purchased tickets for the adjacent Bishop's Palace, so off we went to take in the second part of our tour.

It actually has the feel of a castle, if you want to know the truth!
But it's been the home of the Bishops of the Diocese of Bath and Wells for 800 years.

We had walked around the moat earlier in the morning, to get the lay of the land.
You can see how close the cathedral is.

Once you cross the moat and through the gatehouse, you enter the massive lawn in front of the chapel.

The ruined arches of the Great Hall invite you inside.
Everything is manicured to perfection.

And before you get to the boundary wall, the area feels spacious.

The bishop's palace and house inside the walls did feel like a castle to me,
maybe even a monastery...

especially with views of the cathedral in the background.

We went inside, of course...

where I had the feeling of something akin to the cathedral's quire.
Can't you see all the bishops having a chinwag here!  (No singing allowed, I'm sure.)

I'm not sure which was the palace and which the house but you get the idea.

Can't forget the green men, of course.

And one of those other important details...

our lunch and tea at two different spots in the day.

How's that for doing it up right...for such an awe-inspiring place on God's earth!

Thursday, January 05, 2017

End-of-Year Gifts

Christmas had already come and gone, leaving one week before the New Year celebration.  Things were slowing down, I thought, getting us ready for 2017.

But 2016 still had something left in her to give.  And did she ever!

First, Astrid called me from work last Friday to tell me there was a rare occurrence in the weather pattern that created an incredible display of frosty art.  When the temps are below freezing and there is fog, BINGO.  She then made me promise to take a walk for her to capture it in photos.  In fact, she was that close to telling them at work she was "sick" so she could come home to join me.

I promised, of course, and this is what I saw:

You may recall that we can access the citadel walk just meters outside our backdoor.
This was around 8:45 a.m., just as it was getting light.

Already, dogs were out walking their "masters."

It was another world.  Magical.

Those who have taken this walk can almost guess what comes next.
You climb the hill, round the corner, and there she is:  the outer harbor.
That was when I saw the sun starting to rise.

Leaving the outer harbor, you see the church, the toll house, the Brainwave.  

And then buiten de waterpoort:  outside the water port.

After crossing the inner harbor and climbing back onto the wall,
the water port is viewed from a different perspective.

And then, De Hoop favorite place on the entire walk.

You round the next corner and get the salmon fisher and the Dalem Gate.

 Looking back on De Hoop and looking ahead to the last part of the citadel wall,
even the birds were in heaven.

If you can't have snow, what better gift than to have FROST.
Thank you, Astrid, for making me promise.
I was back home by 10 a.m.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

That was Friday and Saturday, the last day of the year, promised to be foggy, but without frost.  Astrid and I had already decided to drive out into the polder as long as there was fog.  So off we went, once again around 8:45 a.m.

The fog was so thick you could cut it.

At first, we couldn't find the sheep and cows we were looking for.
Astrid said they were probably still in the barn because of how cold it was and still early.
But a few minutes later, we found them...the sheep, that is...far off in the polder.

Did you know that swans pair up and mate for life?
Almost every farmer's plot has a pair...coexisting with the sheep and cows.
This time, however much Astrid whistled, the sheep did not run to us.
Fine.  We just cuddled them from afar.

We had one last goal before driving back home:  capture the polder gates.

When I finished with my captures, I then concentrated on Astrid!
She is, after all, the Lady of the Polder from our Shutterchance photoblog.
I am often reminded that that's where we met, on the Internet, via our photography.

And believe it or not, the only weathervane that spoke to us that day
was one I didn't already have.
How timely for the end of the year, don't you think!

So, see what I mean by GIFTS!
2016 wasn't all that bad, you know, no matter what anyone else says.