Wednesday, March 21, 2012

J2A - Journey to Adulthood - Pilgrimage to England: March 16-26, 2012

Our J2A Youth Group and mentors are having a wonderful time in England.  We spent the first few days in London - visiting Westminster Abbey and attending Sunday service at St Paul's Cathedral.

On the steps of St Paul's Cathedral
We visited many of the secular sites of the city, including the London Eye, the Globe Theatre and a boat ride up the Thames to the Tower of London.

On the London Eye - 450 ft above the city
The kids spent several hours at that site, saw the Crown Jewels, had lunch & explored.  After that, it was back to the hotel to change, a stop at a local Indian Curry House for dinner and then a spectacular version of Wicked in the West End.

River cruise along the Thames - passing London Bridge
Chip, Patti & Susan on the river Thames in front of Tower Bridge

We departed London on Monday morning and drove the hour and a half to Cambridge.  The kids
got to see Kings College and explore the town a little as well as have lunch.

King's College, Cambridge
On the River Cam
We spent Tuesday in Norwich and visited the church and shrine of St Julian, before attending Evening service at Norwich Cathedral.

At the Church and Shrine of St Julian of Norwich
Wednesday we boarded the bus bound for Coventry.  We spent a lovely day in Coventry & visited the Cathedral, named for St Michael.  There have been 3 cathedrals in Coventry in the past 1000 years: the 12th century priory church of St Mary, the medieval parish church cathedral of St Michael and the modern Coventry cathedral, also named for St Michael.  On the evening of November 14, 1940, the city of Coventry was bombed by the German Luftwaffe, and St Michael's burned along with the city.  The decision to rebuild the cathedral was done not as an act of defiance, but rather as an act of faith, trust and hope for the future of the world. The modern building, a celebration of 20th century architecture, together with the ruins (which remains hallowed ground), together form the modern cathedral. 

On the steps of St Michael's, Coventry.  Behind them is the sculpture depicting St Michael's victory over the devil.
Our next stop was to historic Warwick Castle, a medieval castle built by William the Conqueror in 1068.  Everything has been just wonderful - including the weather.  Our guide and driver are both kind and helpful. 

Outside Warwick Castle.

Lee, Paul & Annika getting ready to go into Warwick Castle.
Tori, Chris & Gabe inside Warwick Castle.

Lee, Gabe & Nick admiring the art work in Warwick Castle.

Nick in Warwick Castle.

Enjoying a medieval banquet in Warwick Castle!
Wednesday night finds us at Studley Castle Hotel - good fun after all the ghost stories at Warwick Castle!  The village of Studley was an Anglo Saxon settlement, mentioned in the Doomsday Book (1086).  The castle dates back to the 17th century.  We will rest this evening in preparation for our visits tomorrow to Salisbury Cathedral, Old Sarum and Stonehenge.

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