Stonehenge, Bath and Bristol
Trip Start May 30, 2008
49Trip End Nov 02, 2008
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Where I stayed
Alex and Jane's
Talk about a traditional English country experience - they live in a thatched cottage in a little village in the country side. Woke up in the morning to the view of a great spotted woodpecker, a cute little robin, and a black squirrel. Oh, and then I got stung by nettles - very Enid Blyton of me. Went for a little (muddy) ramble down to the local church and back with Leslie, then we set off on our adventure to Stonehenge.
After a pub lunch of Stilton cheese and Wiltshire ham sandwiches, we drove to a big pile of rocks that some people had chucked in a Salisbury meadow 5000 years ago
I took lots of notes that I won't bore you with here, but the basic thing I got out of the tour is that they have no fricken idea why the stones were put there at all. There's lots of theories about its use as a calendar, an astrological compass of a sort, a religious/spiritual worshipping point or even just to impress/intimidate people who came to their land. But no-one knows. It's very impressive though, particularly around the back where most of the stones are still in situ.
Stayed with Steve's brother Alex and his wife Jane in a town outside of Bath, and drank Pimms on the lawn in the sunshine. The weather is absolutely fantastic here - the sun is shining and the temperature is warm (not hot). Touch wood it stays that way.
The next morning, after sampling the many delights of English food - elderflower cream and gooseberries - we got on our way to Bath. The Therme baths have just opened there recently, and Lesley and I wanted the full experience
Bath, as a town, is absolutely gorgeous, particularly when the sun is shining. The Abbey is massive and all the buildings are made of beautiful stone. You can easily imagine Jane Austen strolling along the laneways on her way to find a suitable bonnet for the next ball she would be attending.
Met up with Stuart and Miele, which was really great but it felt so strange in this context, meeting halfway around the world. After a bit (a lot) of cider and beer, we jumped on a tourist bus to see the sights of Bath from the comfort of a double decker. It made me laugh to hear that when Queen Victoria was a young woman (she was Princess at the time), she came to Bath to ceremoniosly open up a garden. But after she had left, a journalist made a snide comment about her 'dowdy' dress sense. So she refused to return to the place for the rest of her life, and even when she was travelling through to get to Bristol, she made her servants close the curtains of her carriage, so she didn't have to see the horrible place. Smack down!
Speaking of Bristol, we went last night for a delicious Indian thali, perhaps the best and most authentic tasting Indian I've ever had. Walked around the town and I fell in love. We stumbled upon a cute little hippie music festival, tucked away through a tunnel, and the vibe was so cool
Off to Wales today for a Sunday lunch at Faith's house, then onto the Welsh coastline tomorrow.