Cheddar is far from cheesy

Trip Start Jul 22, 2010
Trip End Aug 04, 2010

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, July 30, 2010

After Stonehenge, our smarmy GPS lady got us back on the road (fortunately not the one with the massive traffic jam) and we were off through the countryside, heading for Cheddar, a small town Ben had visited before and liked very much. Guess what we saw off in the distance – Glastonbury Tor! For some reason Ben and Clare vehemently rejected my suggestion that we pop over and climb it. We made it to Cheddar in good time, passing through miles of lovely but sadly very dry and brown countryside. Cheddar's claim to fame, in addition to the eponymous cheese, is its location in the middle of spectacular gorges and caves. Here’s this quintessential English town nestled at the base of sheer rock faces going up hundreds and hundreds of feet, with spooky little caves poking out at various points. It reminded me of the Scottish highlands, which is really weird for southern England. We had lunch there and went into a few stores to sample the local cheeses. I would have loved to bring some home, but don’t think they would survive the trip too well.

Ben had plans to meet friends prior to going to a concert in the evening, so we left Cheddar in what we thought was ample time for Ben to get back to London & return the car.  Apparently little miss GPS had other ideas. We got back on an M-something highway, and then suddenly found ourselves in the outskirts of Bristol. Ben obediently followed her directions and we soon found ourselves deep in the city center, in fact getting a pretty good tour of all of Bristol’s points of interest.  Bristol is not a town. It is a CITY, and it took us quite some time to traverse it, but we finally emerged on the other side and found the M4 or 3 – a highway in any event. Ben and Clare (who had been looking at a road map) both defended Mistress GPS, with whom I was none too happy, by saying that there are no roads that skirt the city and the only way to get to the other side is to ram straight through. We were home free now, but unfortunately home free way too late for Ben to get to London to meet his friends. Clare and I felt very bad about this, but Ben was philosophical. He dropped us off in Windsor, and we agreed to meet in London on Saturday for shopping (birthday) and palacing (Kensington)
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