I don’t think the tapestry would ever make it into Lonely Planet’s “Top Experiences” section, but since I looove history (I majored in it in college, after all), I fully embraced my nerdiness and set off to see it.
|Bayeux Tapestry, scene 38|
|Bayeux Tapestry, scenes 32 & 33|
And that’s the story the tapestry tells us through 58 scenes with gel-pen-like yarns that are still vibrant after almost a millennium. The story of how William the Bastard became William the Conqueror.
|Nave, Bayeux Cathedral|
At some point in time, it was taken down and simply folded up and kept in a chest. At other points, it was exhibited in various locations around the area. Today, it is safely displayed in a long, dim semicircular room in a museum in the city of Bayeux (pronounced “bah-yuh” [ba.jø]). The museum gave some great context to medieval life and the historical context surrounding the events of the Norman invasion, and the free audioguide made the pictures and Latin text feel like an exciting, read-it-in-one-night novel. (Although to be honest, I was able to read the Latin with what little remains from my high-school-era Latin.) The narrator was at times a little sassy, saying, for example that the armor-clad Norman bishop in one of the scenes wielded a mace because, although he was forbidden to kill, he was allowed to “bludgeon.”
|Bayeux Tapestry, scene 57|
Thank God there was a girl sitting across from me who was able to translate between English and French. She explained I needed to have an official card to get train discounts (ugg) but that the conductor was going to let it pass…“this time” (yay!). “Merry Christmas!” he said. What a relief!
What has been the nerdiest place you’ve ever visited—can be historical or even related to a movie or a book? Have you ever been confronted on (or even thrown off) a train for having the wrong ticket? Comment in the thread below!
For more pictures, check out my set on Flickr here.