Time To Take A Bath!
Trip Start Oct 21, 2009
52Trip End Jan 12, 2010
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After a month of heavy traveling, it is good to be in England! No fuss over the language – traffic flow that we can respect – and familiar comfort foods (yesterday after our doctor's appointment, we had shepherd’s pie, chili, and even nachos!)! Almost like coming "home" for a few days – but with a British twist (e.g., Yorkshire pudding, double-decker buses, delicious teas, and towns like Freshford, Trawbridge, and (fill-in-the-blanks)-on-Avon!).
Today (11.20.09) we went up to Bath to see good friends (Australians) there – Diane Glassock and her wonderful kids, Jess and Ash (husband Shane is currently in Australia). We grabbed the Underground to a commuter train line, and got up to Bath in less than three hours (and, en route, ate our steak and stilton to-go pasties for lunch)
We arrived in Bath by the late afternoon, and Di and the kids picked us up at the train station. We got a lovely tour of the kids’ beautiful prep school and its extensive grounds, and we also drove to a few other lookout spots above Bath. After we got to the Glassocks’ house and settled in, the five of us walked to the local pub to enjoy a hearty meal together. We picked up ice cream on the walk back home, and then Ash (violin) and Jess (clarinet – a girl after my own heart) were kind enough to play a concert for us in their living room! (Thanks, guys – it was lovely!)
Saturday (11.21.09) in Bath dawned cold and rainy. (Typical England, no?!) After we dropped Jess off at her friend’s birthday party, Di and Ash took us on a lovely tour of Bradford-on-Avon, a delightfully quaint and whimsical little town. Our first stop there was The Bridge tea shop – where, finally, I had my huge scones with clotted cream and jam, and a delicious pot of tea
Refreshed by our tea stop, we walked through the town park and over a quaint old bridge to the Saxon Church. This church, named the Church of St. Laurence, dates as far back as 709 AD! It’s a characteristic Anglo-Saxon building – tall and narrow with small windows and a simplistic, non-ornate interior. It was neat to contrast this church with ones we had already seen in Europe and North Africa. (I also suspect we’ll be visiting a lot of different churches in Italy, too!)
After the Saxon Church, we drove to the Tithe Barn at The Granary, still in Bradford-on-Avon. The barn, built in the mid-14th century, had really interesting arched, timber roof trusses – historically, this was very noteworthy carpentry! (They don’t build them like they used to, do they?)
By early afternoon, we made it into the town of Bath
Previously in the day, the rain had been of the misty kind, but during our stops to the Circus and the Royal Cresent, it turned into a bona fide downpour, so Di loaned me Shane’s big Navy raincoat. (In it, I resembled a blue blimp with glowing reflector strips, but hey – it kept me dry!) We then drove to “downtown” Bath and spent some time walking through the city’s quaint (and, again, quintessentially British!) shops and streets. Just wonderful! We made purchases at both the sweets shop and the fudge shop (I mean, it had to be done – right, Ash?!) – and so, on our sugar high, we toured Bath Abbey and the vaults afterward. The Bath Abbey was spectacular, and the Bath Abbey Heritage Vaults were quite interesting, too – highlighting 1,600 years of religious history in England!
Since the sugar high was wearing out after all that touring, we decided to go to the local Garfunkel’s for lunch. After a long lunch, more visiting, and a quick walk along the river (still down pouring!), we said goodbye to our good friends and grabbed the train “home” to Wimbledon (but this time, it took several trains and one bus to get there!). On the way “home,” Murray and I picked up some more to-go pasties for dinner (love those things) – and then we baby-sat the girls for the night because James and Sue Ellen had previous plans. The girls slept like angels all night, and Murray and I booked our hotel for our next few nights in Rome and I caught up on some journaling.
Tomorrow, we head to Italy for TWO WHOLE WEEKS, and I can’t wait! I haven’t been to Italy since I was a teenager, and Murray has never been there! It will be fantastic to visit Italy together – and I am dubbing this part of the trip the honeymoon we never had (due to that pesky house fire after our wedding!).
Thank you, England, for a few much-needed days of rest and relaxation. And THANK YOU, Wright and Glassock families, for your friendship, generosity, and hospitality!!!