Thursday, October 6, 2011
Encamped in Chester, we have been enjoying a few days of rest and the chance to catch up on some TV time.
During the times we haven't been watching the box, we've been out exploring the local area, including Chester city. We ate lunch in a pub that had a wine cellar dating back to 1179 (!)
and after that we did some exploring...
The city has some amazing history, most importantly it is one of the best-preserved walled cities in Britain. Chester was actually founded as a Roman fort in 79 (79!) (now this is Real History), and thus the walls were built as way to defend the city and keep it as a fortress. You can walk around Chester for nearly two miles on top of the walls, which gives a great view of the city. Chester also features a pretty cathedral, which was completed by 1250 and then updated over the next few hundred years. We haven't been there yet, but we plan to visit while we're here.
Two other really cool things about Chester are St John the Baptist Church, which was started around 689 and finished around the end of the 13th Century, and the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre and public baths.
The amphitheatre was built in the 1st Century and could seat 8-10,000 people. It is the largest known military amphitheatre in Britain. It was used for sports such as gladiator fights, combat with wild animals, human sacrifices, and military training. It was only discovered in the 1920s, was partially excavated in the 1950s, and further in the past fifteen years. It was mind blowing to think we were standing on ground that had been used by the Romans two thousand years before.
After walking around the wall some more, we discovered the St John the Baptist Church and were also amazed to discover that some parts of the church were constructed fifteen hundred years ago. Unfortunately, some of the church was destroyed for political and religious reasons by Henry VIII while other parts collapsed due to old age.
The best part of all was the squirrel in the churchyard - no offense to the church, it was awesome, but you know.... squirrels! (Squirrels!)
And just to finish things off properly: after that, we walked home. My feet were tired and sore.