Saturday, January 30, 2016
This was my favorite little town. Bourton on the Water. The stream runs right through it. Lots of shops and cafe's. I have become really fond of afternoon tea. There is nothing quite like a scone with clotted cream and jam. The hot tea is welcome on a chilly afternoon.
We stayed in a old hotel on the Avon River that used to be a flour mill. The wheel was not turning and it didn't look like it had in many years. These old places have very steep steps, rarely as in never, elevators and radiator heating. I have never operated one and think I may have over did it. It got so hot that I left a window open all night long. The great thing about this hotel was how close it was to Bath.
This is taken from a bridge over the river. This was the only toll bridge I saw and it dates back to when horses and carriages went across. It apparently cuts out the rush hour traffic for people living on the other side of the river and is worth the 70 pence char
I got up every morning about 7:30. Getting an early start beats the tour buses to the sites you want to see. Parking is easier to find also. Again, Mike's GPS helped us find public parking close to the areas we wanted to see. Mike has some great pictures on his blog. I did not take many pictures this time as I have been here before. The biggest sites in Bath are of course, the Roman Baths and Bath Abby.
I have been to Stonehenge before, but Mike found and even bigger stone circle in the town of Avebury. This circle is truly massive in size, and the stones are pretty big too. It is so large that you cannot get it in one picture, no matter how far away you stand. I read where it is the largest stone circle in Europe. It was thought to be constructed about 2600 BCE.
The town was built around the circle. We ate in a great little restaurant/pub.
I am a fan of British comedies on PBS and I was surprised that a manor house in Avebury was use for the series To The Manor Born. As we drove through the little towns, you could see all the thatched cottages and really old stone churches. There is so much history here. Speaking of driving, which I will not do, you do not have any stop signs. They use roundabouts it seems like about every 50 feet. Very few traffic lights and I think I only saw one police car the whole time we were there. Mike brought his GPS from home and it was a life saver. It would tell you to take the 3rd exit on a particular roundabout. We did not make too many errors, and the GPS would quickly recalculate and get us back on track
We started out with a delay out of Gainesville. Good thing we had plenty of time before our next flight. It only takes a little over an hour to get to Atlanta. Mike booked comfort class and I am so glad he did. What a difference 4 extra inches makes on these long flights. You can actually stretch out your legs. Some years ago, we flew to Europe and Mike had the seat in front of him laid back so far, it was actually resting on his knees. The man would not even lift the seat back a little, and the flight crew backed him up on his right to recline the seat. A really bad experience we learned from.
The flight was smooth and we arrived in London at 8 am. Neither of us sleep on a plane, so we were pretty tired. Still, we pressed on. Hertz has a bus service to its location so we hopped on and soon were picking up our Honda CRV, automatic. This was Mike's first experience driving on the left side and he did super. We headed to Brighton by the sea. The first few days proved to be the worst weather days because it rained, blew and was quite chilly. We stayed in the center of town, walking distance to everything we wanted to see. The Premier Inn was very nice, clean and well appointed. They had a nice restaurant where we had breakfast each morning.
While there we visited the Brighton Pier and the Royal Pavilion.
The Brighton Pier was built in 1891 but has been restructured over time. It is pretty touristy now with Arcades and Amusement rides at the far end. The beach is not sand, but smooth rocks. We were shocked to see two women coming out of the ocean in bathing suits (not wet suits). That water had to be freezing cold.
They started building The Royal Pavilion in 1787 as a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales, who would later become King George IV. It was quite the party place for many years. It was built to flaunt wealth with a lot of gold, silver and crystal chandeliers. The outside of the Pavilion has an Indian influence with onion shaped domes, but the inside is how westerners perceived China to be. George had never been to China. A massive silver dragon holds the huge chandelier over the banquet table. They support columns look like palm trees. Fantastic place! Queen Victoria only came a few times and did not like it because it lacked privacy for her large family. She decided to sell it, but first she removed anythng that could be removed, including the fireplaces, chandeliers etc. The city of Brighton bought the place eventually restoring it to its former self. The royal family even gave back some of the treasures to display. Next, unwary to stone circles and Bath