Sticks & Stones...
Trip Start Jul 06, 2008
29Trip End Aug 04, 2008
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Then we got in the car and proceeded to drive even farther South, towards Bath. Bibury was on the way (not geographically, but it was in our strange roundabout driving in order to see as much as the Cotswolds as we could) so we stopped there. It's one of the more touristy of the little villages - William Morris described it as "the most beautiful village in England." I wouldn't say it's the most beautiful, but there's no argument that it's pretty (I like the less developed villages better). There's a wide stream right along the main part of the town, where you can fish for trout (you have to kill them though, and I think doing that would make me a vegetarian through and through.) I was happy to walk around and take pictures of the ducks and the other birds. Speaking of birds, we saw a very fat one sitting on a very thin branch. It was quite a funny sight.
Some other interesting things we saw before Bibury were a red telephone booth sititng in the middle of pretty much no where and an enclosure full of llamas (or alpacas - I don't know the difference).
Eventually, we made our way to Bath. I'd never heard of this city before, but I might like it even more than London, and am very glad I went! Arriving there was a strange experience, because we were driving on the highway and I looked to my right and suddenly saw a large number of buildings clumped on a hill (which was actually a valley). I made some comment about how we hadn't seen anything that developed in the Cotswolds before, and Nancy told me that it was Bath! I really, really wanted to roll down the hills around Bath, they were so steep. Most of the city is built in the valley, and it was quite an adventure driving around trying to find Nancy's friends. Soon we did. Kate, her husband, and young son all live in a Georgian style home that has two or three rooms on each floor and goes up a few floors. In the back garden we had tea and talked, and then Nancy and I walked around Bath.
The city is famous for its Georgian, Victorian, and Roman arcitecture (it's technically a Georgian town), The Circus (which we saw), the Royal Crecent (which we saw), and the Roman Baths (which we didn't feel we needed to see.)
Walking around the streets, we saw a very colorful pig hanging in place of a shop sign, and found a specialty foods shop where we got olives. We at those while sitting in the sunny grass in front of the Crescent, although we couldn't finish them and gave them to a young couple sitting nearby. The Royal Victoria Park, which we took some time to visit, was very beautiful. Overall, I really liked Bath. (I seem to be having a good record for liking England's cities, don't I?)
After Bath, we drove to Stonehenge. It really is in the middle of nowhere. You drive over a hill and LOOK - Stonehenge! We arrived on the late side, around 5:30 PM, and then waited until about 6 o'clock to go in. While we waited, we read the information and saw the burial mounds (they have some name that begins with "C" but I can't remember the word) and by the time we actually went into the enclosure around Stonehenge, there were many less people. (To get inside the fence, we travelled under the road and up into a place all roped and lined with paths for the paying customers while other people took pictures just outside the fence.) It was amazing to be there, and pretty indescribable. And all though I've been trying not to see the world just through my camera, I filled up a small memory card with just Stonehenge pictures. (Nancy also let me use her veryveryvery pretty Nikon D70. =D) For some time we just sat in the enclosure and admired the amazingness that is Stonehenge - Nancy says I live through my camera lens too much sometimes.
After dragging ourselves from Stonehenge with difficulty, it was time to find another B&B. Again, it took us a while, but eventually we found a small thatched cottage attached to a house. They only have one room for rent, and just as we got the key from the couple who own it another car pulled in - unlucky for them! It isn't exactly in a populated area, nor are we in the Cotswolds anymore, but there is an inn just done the road to eat at (for some reason all the "Inns" are just restaurants/pubs.) The building we're staying at was a wheelright and a post office (our little cottage spot was the post office bit), with a beautiful garden out our window. And we learned about thatched roofing - the husband opened up a trapdoor and showed us the roofing. Apparently, the thatch needs to be redone every 20-30 years, with the ridge on the top redone every 10. And since they never remove all of the thatch, the branches and first layer of thatch on top is at least 300 years old in that particular building.