ABC (HLD 74)

4 June 2020

A favourite derogatory phrase Australians seem to have regarding stories from people who travel, whether it’s the UK, Europe or beyond, is the propensity of some people to focus on ABC’s in travel.

Another Bloody Cathedral (and/or Castle).

While the concept of setting foot into either a cathedral or castle can leave some people for dead, for others it’s an amazing part of travel, absorbing the history, the architecture, and the ‘feeling’ of these places.

The husband and I take great pride in being able to manage quite a lot of ABC travel. Both castles and cathedrals are wonderful ways of immersing yourself into the history of a particular area. My travel photo books are full of photos and stories from ABC’s seen on our travels.

Recently on the television (don’t bother asking me what channel, I would have no idea. I’m not in charge of the remote control in our house – I simply watch what is presented to me on the idiot box) there was a series about English Cathedrals (could be UK cathedrals – don’t shoot me if I’m wrong).

Apart from the interesting ABC element, I was also interested because the presenter was a familiar character to anyone who has watched the Blackadder series. But Tony Robinson did not look like Baldrick while walking around the cathedrals, it should be noted – probably not a bad thing.

Back to the reason for the blog. In discussions with family members last weekend, one couple had, before seeing the show, compiled a possible list of cathedrals they thought should appear in the ‘six best cathedrals’ (or whatever it was called) series. I think they got two correct.

Watching the series, there were some we had not heard of. We’d been to a few – and ‘discussions’ were had, when I could not remember visiting one that was shown, so the husband had to search through my holiday photo books to prove to me that I was wrong and that we had, in fact, as he had asserted, visited.

It’s so helpful having someone in your life who is eager to assist in pointing out when you’re wrong.

(Although he did kindly, afterwards, commiserate by telling me that he was wrong on one occasion, himself! Who would have guessed!!!!) (I like to point out that I’ve made mistakes in my life beyond forgetting I’d visited a particular cathedral…25 Feb 1984, for instance, I probably said the wrong word. Would have made the wedding reception a bit of a fizzog though).

Back to the cathedrals (gee you lot get distracted easily, don’t you?).

If you had to pick your favourite cathedrals (or castles, to keep the ABC theme going), which would you pick?

Here’s my list achieved after a brief scan back through all the photo travel books on my shelves. This is not, it should be noted, a deeply researched list – and when my helpful husband gets home from work he will, more than likely, point out to me other ABC’s that are, in actual fact, my favourites. And he will find proof of this claim somewhere.

Heather’s Top 6 ABC’s (I’m sticking to the UK for this list, because top 6 world wide is too tricky):

  1. Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland
  2. Westminster Abbey (it WAS actually a cathedral between 1540-1556, but is now neither an abbey or a cathedral, but rather a Royal Peculiar)
  3. Stirling Castle, Scotland (was a tough choice between Stirling or Edinburgh, but I remember liking Stirling marginally more)
  4. Tintagel Castle
  5. York Minster
  6. Wells Cathedral

And the ones I debated long and hard and then decided they almost but didn’t make the list: St Paul’s London, Warwick Castle, Salisbury Cathedral, Bath Abbey, Pembroke Castle, Dunnottar Castle. Ok if I’m honest each one I recall visiting was brilliant in some way.  I’m just a happy little ABC traveller.

What’s in your top 6?

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