Once, twice, three times in Ely

When I first expatriated to England, I was committed to being a London girl. I learned how to take public transport, to see walking as a joy instead of a chore and to accept the weather for what it was. Being from the east coast, I found it all very familiar and welcoming, the brick buildings and pubs, the strong sense of history. It felt like I was going home.

Over the years I found that I got used to the scary children on the bus, the dodgy mini-cab drivers, the dried vomit on a seemingly quiet suburban sidewalk. I gave in to the red tape to get a flat, the inability to get a visa debit card as I had no credit rating, the shocking lack of decent customer service.

In short, London is a shiny beacon of the western world with ring around the collar. Or armpit stains.

So when the city gets you down, what do you do? Get out! Go somewhere! And luckily we had some close friends who we’d not seen in years who had settled down in one of my favourite Cathedral towns: Ely.

Ely is in Cambridgeshire, just north east of Cambridge itself. Ely was actually built on an island, surrounded by marshland, or fens. It’s not an island anymore, the area having been drained for agriculture, however it remains a geologically significant area. My research uncovered all sorts of things to do with jurassic period. Think dinosaurs and fossils. Very cool when you think about it.

The first time I came to Ely it was by train. I was on my way to the south of France with DH for a bit of R&R (as you do) and to get to Stansted we took the slow train from Melton Mowbray. We were only stopped a few minutes, however it immediately became one of my must-sees because of the view of its Cathedral. Here’s my only shot of the Cathedral from inside the train.

Hence our second visit, a road trip with the family specifically to visit the Cathedral. I was a kid in a candy store. Here are a few choice shots from that visit:

The Crimean Cannon memorial out front, gifted to Ely by Queen Victoria.

Check out the detailing on the front doors.

As you can see, this is a proper Norman Cathedral. I’m pretty sure if I went into Los Angeles’ “Cathedral” I’d be sorely disappointed. This is hundreds of years of construction. Blood, sweat and toil. This is a building meant to get its worshipers closer to their god.

Hell, it almost has me convinced.

So when our friends moved there, we found ourselves poised for our third visit. A proper visit. With real locals (my favourite kind)! The train from London is very fast, though not inexpensive. The Cambridge to London commuter route is one of the priciest, starting at £5400 per annum for a season ticket, including London Underground. So a single ticket on its own meant we were spending almost all our monthly food budget on transport. Oh to have a car!

But we’re not here to whinge about how much trains costs. We’re here to look at some of the images I took on my third Ely trip. Alright then, you asked for it:

A sneak peak from the window of our room. Hello Cathedral!

Our friends led the way.

DH in front of Ely. I can just see his foot tapping, waiting for me to catch up.

And that’s all for today. I must dash and do something important (don’t worry, I’ll think of something). More photographs from the lovely Ely, Cambridgeshire coming tomorrow.

Can you stand the excitement?

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