Sunday, September 11, 2016

To Bath We Go

Day 7:  Starting in Salisbury and ending in Bath
After a good sleep at the Wyndham Park Lodge and a delicious breakfast, we checked out and drove down to the Salisbury Cathedral Close.  We left around 10am and got turned around trying to get close to the Cathedral.  We eventually found our way onto the grounds and decided to pay for parking in the Close (6GBP but free tea and a discount in the gift shop made it not so awful).

We noticed that there were lots of children and parents heading to the Cathedral.  We later found out they were having a "start of term" mass for the school children but it affected us in that we couldn't get into the Cathedral!  Bummer. We wanted to see the Magna Carta but the exhibit wouldn't open until 11am.  We headed over to the Mompesson House (where Sense and Sensibility was filmed!) but it also didn't open until 11am.

With a little time to kill, we got our tea and sat outside enjoying the beautiful day and the beautiful view of the Cathedral. This is where we first noticed honeycomb plastic thingies that kept the gravel rocks in place on pathways.  Clever!

The Mompesson House (free with the National Trust Touring Pass) was high on my list of sights.  It was one of the settings of the movie Sense and Sensibility.  There were about 15-20 other people there to tour at the opening but we all quickly spread out about the house.  All of the docents were very helpful and informative and glad to talk about the lovely house.  I particularly liked the pianoforte and listening to the lovely tune that had been recorded on it.  The gardens were dreamy--not too big or elaborate but peaceful and pretty.

After the Mompesson House, we headed to the cathedral.  It is so impressive!  A lot of kids and parents were milling about, the service had just ended.  Inside, the cathedral still smelled of incense but it was not very crowded.

We took our time seeing all of the highlighted sights and marveled at them all.  We decided against climbing up the tower and headed out to the Magna Carta exhibit.

We had seen a great Magna Carta exhibit at the British Library in London in 2015 but none of the Magna Cartas on display there were quite this one.  It is remarkable because of its impeccable condition.  I was by myself the first time I went into the tent in which it is displayed and was so tempted to take a photo (didn't).  I loved this entire experience. (No photos allowed)

We were a bit peckish so stopped for decent grub in the museum cafe, and ate next to the buttresses of the cathedral.  Afterwards, we spent a few pounds in the gift shop and were on our way.

We decided to stop at Old Sarum before truly getting on the road to Bath.

So Old Sarum is a bunch of ruins in a gorgeous setting and you really have to use your imagination to make sense of it.  I didn't really make sense of it but it was a glorious day so we walked about, read everything, watched the kids run around and do cartwheels (husband forbade me from doing cartwheels since the trip was just starting and I'm clumsy), and enjoyed our time there.  A worthwhile stop, definitely.

Since we hadn't had enough of old rocks, I suggested we head to Avebury which had long been on my list of places to see.  We found the town without problems and, as National Trust Members, had free parking and free entry into the Museum.  The gardens around the museum and village were just gorgeous.

One of my favorite pics

But the stars of Avebury are the massive stones just hanging out waiting for us to visit, touch, and feel their vibes.  They are free to everyone!  I loved this place!  We only saw one idiot tourist climbing on the stones but otherwise people were respectful.  I found it much more "real" than Stonehenge.

Now on to Bath.  It was not far from Avebury and, thanks to the GPS, we arrived at the Hill House B&B by the twistiest, narrowest, smallest road possible.  Yikes!  It was harrowing and husband was ready to kill everything.  He was really glad to park the darned car for a few days!

Hill House B&B is run by the lovely Douglas and Harry.  They met us at the car, Harry took husband to find a parking spot while Douglas took me up to the room, lugging our heavy luggage.  I had thoughtlessly chosen the room at the very top of the house--up several sets of stairs.  Not smart. It was A.LOT of stairs. But it was a really lovely room.  And our hosts couldn't have been nicer.

Because we hadn't done enough this day, we asked for recommendations on where to eat and were off.  We had dinner at one of places the guys recommended (_?_) which we enjoyed.  Then we made our way to the Bell pub to see if any of the folks we met last year (Jay, Richard, etc.) were around. The place was pretty dead and relatively unwelcoming as they were wrapping up the Record Sale night.  We had a quick drink then headed over to the Star Inn.

We arrived to a pretty crowded Starr Inn--the guys were celebrating a cricket match win (I think).  We got our pints and were looking for a place to settle to enjoy them when we were (kindly) directed to a closed room that was pretty quiet.  UNTIL singing started!  Mr. ___ had a beautiful voice and sang a Scottish song that was just fantastic.  Neither of us realized at that point that it was Sunday Song at the Star but one of us, upon finding out, embraced it more than the other, lol!  Husband immediately whispered to me: "don't sing, please."  Well, I ignored him and contributed to the Sunday Song gathering (woefully unprepared, of course) by suggesting American Pie and mangling a few bars of "Ain't No Place to Pee on Mardi Gras Day."  I thoroughly enjoyed the evening! Husband was a bit mortified (I really can't sing) but amazed at the great performances by the others there.  I would go every Sunday if we lived in Bath and this may be a reason husband will never allow us to live in Bath, lol.

The quiet Bell Pub
The Sunday Songs-ters at the Star Inn
We left around 1230pm and headed back to our B&B, uphill all the way it seemed, for the night.

Another wonderful day in England!

1.  National Trust Pass=yes!
2.  Being able to communicate with locals=wonderful
3.  Avebury was a highlight of the day
4.  Sing when you have a chance!

Next:  A day in Bath

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