Cotswolds, Bath, Salisbury & Winchester Wrap U

Trip Start Sep 27, 2013
Trip End Mar 26, 2014

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Sunday, March 23, 2014

After London we had exactly ten days left of our trip. We decided that instead of holing up in a cheap room and watching Netflix to wait out the time until we would be going home we would make a big push and try to see as much as we could in the time remaining. (Don't get me wrong...this is the first time on this trip that Netflix has worked and it's so awesome not to just watch whatever YouTube has on offer...we have literally watched through all eight seasons of the show Scrubs probably five times this trip...)

We started this section of the trip by going out to a cute B&B in the Cotswolds area. Unfortunately my planning and double checking booking skills are starting to get a bit sloppy (see the "AxelBeach" incident...oy vey) so I accidentally booked us in for the nights of the 17th and 18th...but got us there on the night of the 16th...a whole day early...after rushing to catch the bus there from London...Oh, and it was Mike's birthday. Yeah, not too smooth on my part. On the bright side the people at the B&B were very accommodating and still let us come stay with them (and even picked us up from a bus station in another if we hadn't been enough of an inconvenience! Haha.) and our time there was great. We spend the days wandering through the walking paths around the countryside (which sometimes inexplicably go through sheep pastures and peoples private fields) and checking out the local towns. We made our way to Chipping Camden and had an awesome picnic under the shadow of a huge church there. We also learned that it was baby lamb season so we saw tons of little floofsters frolicking around in the fields head-butting each other. We also learned that lambs naturally always look like they are smiling and that there is no cuter creature on the planet. Mike can no longer eat lamb for this reason.

After the B&B we headed to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Before I get to that though I should point out that all the towns in this area have these type of hyphenated names. Nearby we also saw: Bidford-On-Avon, Moreton-In-Marsh, Stow-On-The-Wold and Shipton-Under-Wychwood to name a few. I'm not sure the reasoning behind these names but they'd be a pain to write out every time you had to fill out a form with an "address" section. I digress...

SoA was a really nice town. Also the birthplace of Shakespeare! But more importantly the location of the Stratford "Creaky Cauldron and Magic Alley"! This was an awesome museum that not only had puzzles to solve in each of it's rooms but also sold Butter Beer, magic wands and magic kits! So, for someone's 30th birthday he got a magic kit. Don't act like you aren't jealous ;). In addition to not seeing anything Shakespeare related we also hit the MAD Muesum which is a collection of automations and was amazing. Sorry Bill that the house you grew up in had neither Alladin's lamp nor an automatic clapping machine in it. :)

Next stop after SoA was Birmingham. This is literally because there was a train station there and Bristol was too expensive. It was a dirty room on a busy pedestrian thoroughfare and it was nothing really to write home about.

After the "meh" that was Birmingham we went to beautiful Bath! The entire city is a world heritage site with a huge medieval Abbey*, a former royal residence and of course the Roman baths which were actually really neat to check out and the audio guide for some reason was done by Bill Bryson. We also had a really cute hotel room on the very top floor of and old 16th century building.

After Bath we had two days in Salisbury (I never did remember to try one of their steaks!). Salisbury is most famous for being the closest town to Stonehenge. We did go out to see it...but boy was it expensive! We took a bus out there for a price just to discover that we still had to pay admission for the stones themselves. Quite a racket they have going on but it is Stonehenge so it's not like you can see that everyday and it was quite impressive! After Stonehenge we just ducked in to see one of the last remaining copies of the Magna Carta before lunch. No big deal *brushes off shoulder*. :). Salisbury was actually quite a nice little town and I would have loved to spend more time there but adventures were awaiting so we hopped the train for Winchester!

Winchester is another really nice small city and was actually at one time the capital of Saxon England. Some of the guidebook's recommendations include seeing the cathedral which is not only one of the biggest in Europe but also the resting place of bishops, monarchs...and for some reason Jane Austen. A 700 year old fake replica of the "Round Table" can also be found here as well as Winchester castle.

After Winchester we have one last night in Europe at the Frankfurt airport hotel and then it is time to go home! This trip has been amazing but we are definitely ready to come home! One last blog post to come!

See you soon!!!!

*For those wondering what the difference is between an Abbey and a is that you have to pay to see the inside of an Abbey. So far we are 27 weeks Abbey free. ;)
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