I’d never been to Lincoln before. Not entirely sure why – it’s dominated by the majestic cathedral and castle up on the hill, and there’s plenty of other similar attractions throughout the historic city – the medieval Bishop’s Palace, the Roman remains and the old buildings and streets. All in all a fairly perfect place to go, and not too far away either! So, cue a couple of days off and a spur-of-the-moment desicion to go away somewhere, and Thursday morning found me and my boyfriend Mehul boarding the train in Nottingham heading for Lincoln Central.

The weather was lovely, and Lincoln positively glowed – creamy stone and winding streets leading up towards the cathedral which, despite towering over everything for many miles around, managed to stay fairly well hidden until you’re standing right in front of it. Mehul and I had an exclusive roof tour of the cathedral, and our guide was brilliant – so knowledgeable and full of obvious enthusiasm for the place and its history, as well as interesting fact. I couldn’t take enough photos, and those I did take don’t fully convey the sheer size and magnificence of the building which has Norman roots but is now mostly “Early English Pointed” in its style! :-)

The castle too was interesting – the part under scaffold and wrap is the original motte built at William the Conqueror’s orders as he fortified his rule across the country. Norman castle contains Victorian prison and Gothic Crown Court, and houses Lincoln’s copy of Magna Carta. The charter is housed in it’s own exhibition and again we met very knowledgable and interesting guides, who were only too keen to share their information – without being pushy.

Of the 359 photos I took – I managed to whittle them down to a brief collection of 65 (!) A return trip will definitely be in order – perhaps once the summer season has started and more tours, exhibitions and displays are open. Sometimes you don’t have to go very far for a brilliant holiday!

London Trip

Aside from the holocaust exhibition, the rest of my London trip wasn’t all gloom and doom. Camden revealed hitherto undiscovered market halls – admittedly they didn’t take much discovering but still… and the Imperial War Museum as a whole was fantastic.

Photos of markets and museum… here

The main reason for the trip was to go and see Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre. I’d seen the 2004 film and absolutely loved it, but never the musical. It was absolutely spectacular – every bit as passionate and gripping as the film, and amazing for the fact that it was being done right there in front of us. The effects that were achieved through lighting and stage design were brilliant, unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and the full orchestra did complete justice to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s eternally amazing songs and score. I can’t recommend it enough, and I definitely want to go and see more things at the theatre!

Man’s Inhumanity to Man

There’s a sign as you enter the Holocaust Exhibition in the Imperial War Museum in London, “not suitable for children under 14″ and as my Mum mentioned, it’s depressing when you’re considered old/mature enough to delve into the sheer inhumanity of what people do to other people.

Of course the Holocaust isn’t the only example of such horrors, but time hasn’t lessened the shadow it casts, and nor should it. Everyone should go to this exhibition, or one of the many others like it, to know in their hearts and bones as well as academically why it was so awful.

Walking round, the photos, quotes and various interpretations slowly hammer home the truths of what people did to others because of elitist ideals and the power to carry out acts which should never have been spoken aloud, let alone put into practice. I’m usually pretty good at putting myself into other people’s shoes, empathising and understanding, but here the understanding didn’t come. Probably couldn’t come – the scale of suffering and horrors dealt out to ordinary people because they didn’t fit one man’s staggeringly arrogant and just plain wrong plans was so beyond anything I’ve experienced of life that it didn’t compute. The actual footage, of people being shot, and of the clean-up of the camps at the end of the war was harrowing and undeniably real. I fully understood why halfway round there was a “quick exit” routeĀ  for those for whom it was all a bit much. It was all a bit much.

I stayed to the end of the exhibition, and as I mentioned before I think everyone should just once. But I wouldn’t want to go again. I will remember.