How about a delightful day trip to Winchester? Here are links to part one, two and three (doors and windows of Europe) of our trip to England and France, if you missed them.
Two subway rides and one hour on the train brought us to the delightful town of Winchester.
The train station in London:
Another great British word: "Alight"... *love* it! Seriously.
Spied out of the train window... for all of my coffee loving friends!
Some pastoral English countryside....
And we arrived in Winchester. The amount of history that we encountered in Europe was staggering. Check out this little restaurant. Established in 1509! That was a long time ago, folks!
We wandered through downtown Winchester and peered into the lovely shops. Hannah and I had fun looking around in a Kath Kidston store. I've admired her fabric and products from afar, so it was really fun to see them "in real life."
Some Kath Kidston quilt inspiration!
A little gospel mission, I believe, with some real Biblical truth on it's exterior. Plus, I loved the round shape of the building. Cool.
A beautiful little river ran through the town which originally powered a number of mills. (One is still in operation today.)
Loved these little gates which each lead into the back yard/garden of a fortunate owner's house. Perhaps they were used originally so each house had their own access to the river and a boat?
The lush vegetation along the river:
After walking along the river we poked around among the ruins of the Wolvsey Castle. Here in America a building that is 200 years old might be on a historic register, while in Europe we routinely saw buildings more than 1,000 years old. Staggering!
We passed so many flowering shrubs and bushes.
Next on our walking tour we found the little house where Jane Austin spent the last six weeks of her life. It seems that she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor.
His treatment was not successful though and Jane Austin died and was buried in the Winchester Cathedral. This cathedral is huge beyond imagination. Construction began on it in 1100AD! It was already "old" when Jane was buried there.
I believe that this cathedral has the longest nave (center aisle) of any church in Europe. It was quite warm outside, but when we stepped into the church the cold air punctuated the hushed, solemn atmosphere within.
The stained glass was fantastic. I believe that a great deal of it is original.
Just think of all that those windows have survived.... world wars, etc, etc.
Sunlight filtered through stained glass onto ancient stone.
And a close-up of the incredible detail in the stone work....
Interestingly enough, Jane Austin was actually buried in Winchester Cathedral! Here is her "grave."
When I had heard that she was buried in Winchester Cathedral, I assumed that she was actually buried in a graveyard next to the cathedral, not actually in the cathedral! It is difficult to tell from my photo, but there are many such "graves" within the church, right where people walk! Some of the stones are so old that the writing has almost entirely worn off from years and years of being trod upon.
We were able to stay for evensong, an evening church service with music provided by the very talented boys' choir. The acoustics in the church made the voices of the choir positively heavenly.
So many, many people have worshiped and taken part in church services in this magnificent building. I couldn't help but wonder how many understood what all of this splendor reflected, and that in spite of all that was invested here, this gift, this personal relationship with a Holy God is freely given. Grace. All grace.
Glorifying God for His grace and mercy in our humble lives, we left Winchester to rest before embarking on another day of European adventures.