Apparently, Lady Godiva was real. And she was from Coventry, England. Who knew?

And yes, she did actually ride her horse naked through the city streets in order to protest her husband’s (the duke) raising of taxes on the people. Apparently it was a very proper affair: everyone in the town was instructed to avert their eyes and shutter there windows as she rode by. But ride she did, and a statue of her now stands in the center of Coventry. Poor soul, I thought, to be known only for nude equestiran endeavors.

Today, Coventry is a working-class city that is the home of Jaguar Motors’ factory, which is apparently a major employer for the city. Much more exciting in Coventry was meeting my friend/fellow-physics-sufferer Pardis. Her lovely family fed me a delicious Iranian dinner, and we spent the night talking about politics, history, and manga (to be clear, Pardis likes manga, not me). The next day we walked around town. Coventry is interesting becuase most of the city was actually destroyed by German bombs during the second world war. The Cathedral was likewise bombed, and what remains of it is the tower and outer walls. I wondered why the tower still stood, as it seemed after all that the tower would be the easiest target to hit. And then it hit me: they bombed the belly of the church becuase that was where the people were. And suddenly for a moment I felt a bit like I did when I was in Berlin – overwhlemed by the horrors of wars in the not too distant past. There is one street left in Coventry that survived the war, and I can only imagine how beautiful the city must have been before.

The rest of the day we spent walking around, looking in different shops, going to art gallery (not to shabby, actually)  the public library, and eating lunch at Nando’s with Pardis’ mom. And of course discussing language, politics, and the comparative spicyness of food in different countries. So, basically, anything but physics. Also, apparently, in England, a popsicle is called a ‘lolly’. Sometimes I swear we are speaking different languages!

At 6 Pm is was time for me to hop back on the train to Oxford, where I would stay for one day more before embarking on my epic pilgramage in Dorchester, in the heart of Thomas Hardy’s semi-imagined, semi-real Wessex – the brooding pastoral landscape that has, one way or another, seeped its way permenantly into my literary and personal imagination ever since I read ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’ five years ago.

Stay tuned.


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One Response to “Coventry”

  1. sannlittle Says:

    Back yet – or in Stockholm? How was Dover Castle?

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