Road Trip, Day 1, Ely Cathedral

Monday morning, 26 August 2019; exactly two months have elapsed since our arrival at Redcliffe Square in London and we feel satisfied with what we have experienced in that time. London has grabbed our heart strings even more on this visit and we are not ruling out another extended stay some day.   It is a Bank Holiday in England so no rush hour traffic.  Jim walks 2.5 miles to Sixt Rental Car Battersea/Vauxhall to pick up our wheels for the next 25 days.  He requested a manual transmission MINI but they only have two with automatic transmission.  Big disappointment but probably a blessing as driving on the left side of these narrow roads is more than enough for an old man to concentrate on.

Fortunately they upgraded us to a maxi MINI so we could fit our three months worth of travel stuff into the back.
Goodby 26 Redcliffe Square.
First stop is Richmond to leave two suitcases at the home of our friends Paul and Sigi.  This is Paul in his beautiful garden.

First stop on this peregrination is the cathedral city of Ely in Cambridgeshire which is 80 miles north of London.  Of interest to us is that it is listed as the 9th least populated city in the UK.  We chose to stay at a very quaint Bed and Breakfast called Cathedral House as it was merely steps from our main focus of the day: Ely Cathedral.  As we motored in our MINI Ely Cathedral appeared on the horizon as a “ship of the fens” as it lies atop the highest rise of this flat reclaimed marshland.  They still call the tiny city of Ely an island as it used to be surrounded by wetland.

This is the “ship of the fens”.  Not our picture as we were too focused on staying left and listening to GPS directions.
Our approach to the cathedral on foot from our B & B.

We focused our entire day here on exploring this magnificent Anglican structure.

The cathedral is so long and so high.
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The ceiling of the Nave with twelve panels depicting the sacred history of man from creation to Christ in glory after the crucifixion.
The beginning of our first tour, climbing to the top of the central Octagonal Tower.
Windows of the south transept.
These are the bass pipes of the pipe organ.  We have never seen these before, always thought that pipe organs consisted of just the decorative pipes one sees.
First stop on the climb to the top is where we saw the pipes above and now looking back to where the tour started and the southern transept pictured above.
Next level on the climb we had to exit the stairs onto the roof via a Hobbit door.


We are now inside the cupola of the Octagonal Tower.  Our guide just opened this panel to a lot of oohs and aahs.
She opened one of these panels as seen from below.
Six different panels were opened for us
so we could look across and see each other.
Octagonal tower ceiling from the open panels.  This tower collapsed in 1322 and was rebuilt with an octagonal shaped supporting structure, thus the name, Octagonal Tower.
View of the cathedral below.
On the roof of the Octagonal Tower.
Looking down on the roof of the Octagonal Tower from the West Tower later.
Views from the Octagonal Tower.

IMG_0030IMG_0034After climbing the shorter Octagonal Tower we proceeded to another tour of the West Tower, climbing 288 steps.  We were immediately behind our tour guide and every time he stopped to rest we were immediately behind and so he kept going.  When we arrived at the top we were at least a minute ahead of the rest of the tour group and our guide was worn out and very sweaty.  Of course we were the oldest people in the group.

Our worn out tour guide Bill.  He is an archeologist originally from Portland Oregon.  Quite grumpy initially as this was his fifth and final tour of the day.
Views of Ely from the West Tower.
Looking east at the Octagonal Tower again.
Beautiful “cottage” seen from above.
Same house from below.
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We attended Evensong at 5:30 sitting on the back row of the candle lit choir.  We had been talking with our grumpy tour guide Bill in the cafe prior to this so he escorted us to the best seats.
We were all alone in the Cathedral after Evensong.
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Garden entrance to our B & B.
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Jim had to lug a heavy suitcase up these stairs.
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The place was chock-a-block with antiques and knick knacks.
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Quaint little town.
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A very loud Ferrari roaring down the main street of Ely.
End of a long wonderful day.

We intended to finish a blog each evening but a long day in church and slow wifi made a hash of those plans.  We are now five days behind.

3 responses to “Road Trip, Day 1, Ely Cathedral”

  1. Victoria Kinnally Avatar
    Victoria Kinnally

    Beautiful church. Thank you for the tour. I feel as though I have been there.

  2. Patricia Argente Avatar
    Patricia Argente

    What a beautiful,
    perfect day and start to your road trip!Can’t wait to see how it unfolds.Love and miss you.
    P and J

    1. Can’t wait to have you guys with us on one of these adventures.
      J & S

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