Popping in to Peterborough
Driving down the open road after spending the May bank holiday weekend in Leicester I have something similar to the feeling of deja-vu. It’s not the feeling of having been here before or of having had this experience as a distant memory. It’s more like the feeling of living a destiny. I always knew I would someday wander through the English countryside, free to explore, free to stop and go and to take my time. Traveling solo with a car and a bicycle and a decent pair of feet. I pass by some villages that would be gorgeous were my views not muddled by the rain and dark skies. But I feel peaceful and content. Today, my life feels right.
I’m getting better at navigating the endless traffic circles that join roads to other roads throughout the UK. I now have learned that, “enter the traffic circle and turn right,” means to go into the lane furthest to the right when going left on the traffic circle because I will be going most of the way around the circle before exiting. No only learning to negotiate British roads and traffic, also learning how to interpret Audi’s Sat Nav. I will do a posting on British road signs in the future too as some of them were surprising to me.
My final destination today is Norwich, near England’s East coast, but en route I have entered the postal code for a car park near Peterborough’s famous cathedral. I pull into a multi-level parking garage and drive around and around and around until I find a tight little spot on the 8th floor. I am not driving a large car, to me it feels small but I guess it’s classed as mid-size (It’s an A5, which is also a paper size here in the UK.). Going up the ramps feels very precarious though, very little clearance. I find a space and manoeuvre into it. Nicely done, perfectly straight. Except I cannot squeeze out with the 6 inches allotted between me and the next vehicle. I pull-out and continue upwards, finding another tight space but this one alongside a pillar. As long as I can squeeze myself between the car and the pillar, the door opens into the little space created behind it.
I exit the car park through a pedestrian bridge that crosses over a thoroughfare and find myself inside a very large modern shopping centre where I decide to pause for lunch at John Lewis. Using my phone map, I figure out how to get to the cathedral, most of the way indoors thorough the surprisingly large centre.
Exiting the other end of the very modern centre, I am shocked by the contrast of the pedestrian street with it’s traditional architectures. Even the edge of this major shopping centre is lined with period buildings, camouflaging it.
I was not prepared to happen upon the magnificent Peterborough Cathedral (Church of St Peter, St Paul, and St Andrew). This grand cathedral was rebuilt in it’s present form between 1118 and 1238. The West Front is very imposing in Gothic style.
The incredible nave ceiling was likely completed around 1250 and was repainted in the 18th and 19th centuries. The first wife of Henry VIII was buried here after she died in 1536. She had long lost the luxuries of royalty after their divorce and the King did not attend her funeral.
This “New Building” was added to the original just over 500 years ago. I suppose it will always be called the New Building unless the cathedral is added to further, which is unlikely.