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Towns and other points of interest

 

With Croxfords and Davies - Sept 3 to Sept 8

 

Date

Town

Comments

Sept 3

Tuesday

Tardebigge

Alvechurch

With Croxfords

Visited Tardebigge locks on the Worcester & Birmingham canal system.  There were many locks in a very short length.  No boats were going through.  We then went to Alvechurch where there is a canal boat marina and rental place.  Several canal boats were tied up at the docks, and a bright yellow one made its way downstream while we were there.

Sept 4

Wednesday

Worcester

With Croxfords. 

Cathedral town on River Severn; saw the tops of the twin towers of the cathedral.  Royal Worcester China Works here. Toured the factory.  Very interesting. £5

Sept 4

Wednesday

Bourton-on-the-Waters

With Croxfords.

Small tourist town in the Cotswold Hills.  Very pretty.  Windrush River flows through town – only 15’ – 20’ wide, a foot or so deep, fairly swift flowing.  Bird park and maze.  Interesting shops and stores.

Sept 5

Thursday

Windsor

Parry Davies took us here after picking us up from the Croxfords.  On the Thames west of London.  Had lunch in pub beneath the outer walls of Windsor Castle, then walked up to the castle.  Immense!  Did not have time for tour.  Windsor train station converted to many little shops and stores.

Sept 5

Thursday

Eton

Part of Windsor as we just walked along a quaint old street and came upon the Eton School.  Had a look at the exterior.

Sept 5

Thursday

Luton

About 30 miles north of London; home of the Parry & Elaine Davies, with whom we stayed for three nights.  Both teachers, Parry now retired, Elaine has 1 year to go.  Both are Welsh.

Sept 6

Friday

Aldbury

Parry, Lois & I went to Aldbury via country roads; southwest of Luton, 15 miles.  Old, very picturesque and charming.  There is a village square (actually a triangle) with village pond and stocks dating back many, many years.  A pub, store, several old houses and a Norman-style church hundreds of years old.  This village often used a setting for murder mysteries on TV.  The hill area near Aldbury is a National Trust Forest.  There is an old manor house on the property and in direct view of it through the woods – about 1 km away – is a monument of some sort.  Many walking trails in the forest.  Had lunch in the pub.

Sept 6

Friday

Woburn

Quick stop here.  Small “down-town” area with a few stores.  There is a lovely old Norman church here that we visited.  Some girls were decorating for a wedding next day.  Then went to see Woburn Abbey but got mixed up in roads so didn’t see it.  Guess we were ready to head for home anyway.

Sept 7

Saturday

Cambridge

Home of University of Cambridge.  The Davies took us there.  Very old town.  Parked on Chesterton Lane and walked into University area via Magdelene St/Bridge.  Snooped around in the open-air farmers’ market, then walked for a couple of hours through the various colleges.  Had lunch at the Eagle Pub, a favourite haunt of USAF and RAF during WW II.  After lunch did some more walking – saw The Backs (back of King’s College, Clare, Trinity Hall), the Mathematical Bridge, The Cloisters, and numerous other features.  Lots of punts on the River Cam.

 

 London to Plymouth - Sept 8 to Sept 11

Sept 8

Sunday

London

Arrived from Luton by taxi, train, and tube.  Parry & Elaine accompanied us right to the hotel – Regent Palace -  which is across the street from Piccadilly Tube Station.  They left for home after we got checked in.  Lois & I did a walking tour which included Chinatown, meal at Mister Au’s Chinese food buffet, Leicester Square, Covent Gardens and the market there, Trafalgar Square which includes St Martin-in-the-Fields (had a look inside the church), Nelson Monument, National Gallery, the back to hotel via Haymarket Street.  On our return to London after the bus tour we didn’t see anything except the Pizza Place for supper with a group from the tour and later I went to Tower Records and got some CD’s.

Sept 9

Monday

London

First stop was St Paul’s Cathedral.  Raining on the way there.  £5 each to tour.  Toured the main floor of the cathedral, then walked the 259 steps – spiral staircase – to the Whispering Gallery.  Lois stayed there while I went up 119 steps to the Stone Gallery, which was outside the dome.  Then climbed 150 more steps to the outdoor Golden Gallery.  At this time it was misty and visibility was limited, but a great view of London.  I had left the camera with Lois as I thought I would be indoors and no photography allowed.  Went back down to where she was and back up to Stone Gallery with camera, and took some pictures from there.  1311 steps total.

We then went to the crypt and saw many tombs of famous and not so famous.  When we left St Paul’s it was raining again.  Walked down Cheapside to St Mary-le-Bow church, as this is the church in which my Holder ancestor was baptized around 1700 before immigrating to America.  Took a bus to Oxford Circus.  It was really raining and we were a bit damp.  Walked down Regent St to Picadilly and hotel.  Soaked by the time we got there.  Hung clothes everywhere and turned heat on.  Everything dried by next morning.

The rain stopped after lunch so we did walking and photo tour.  From Piccadilly walked along Jermyn to St James Church – beautiful ceilings, stained glass windows.  Then past St James Palace – not very spectacular until seen from a distance.  Along Pall Mall, took a left, crossed the Mall and into St James Park and along lake to Queen Victoria Memorial and Buckingham Palace – too late for a tour.  On Birdcage Walk to Anne’s Gate to Tothill which opened into Westminster Abbey area.  Again too late to tour the Abbey so walked around that area, seeing Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais and exteriors of the Parliament Buildings, Cabinet War Rooms, Downing Street, Treasury, etc. and back via Regent St.  After resting went to Leicester Square looking for grocery store.  Got some bread and Irish cheddar, and had supper at the Burger King.  Next morning had breakfast and got on the bus at 7:25 for the start of the trip.

Sept 10

Tuesday

Stonehenge

Wiltshire

9:50 – 10:42

Much as I imagined it to be from pictures, etc.  The henge is fenced so people cannot touch it, and there is a fence along the road to keep non-payers from the inner fence.  It is possible to walk around all the stones but on the outside of the fence only.  For a price!  The Beaker People build Stonehenge using stones from up to 20 miles away.  The building of it began in 2950 and ended in 1550 BC.  Reckoned to be 1,000,000 man-hours.  Association with Druids didn’t happen until 250 BC.  Associated with Stonehenge are mounds of earth several feet high and 30 to 40 feet in diameter, called barrows.  These are believed to be burial mounds of the people who died while working on the construction of Stonehenge.  There are several visible from the site, and apparently others along the route taken in bringing the stones from the quarries.

Sept 10

Tuesday

Salisbury

Wiltshire

11:00 – 1:15

Cathedral City.  The cathedral stands alone on several acres of lawn, so its grandeur is very evident.  It was begun in 1220 and finished 38 years later. (Yorkminster took 250 years).  It is the only cathedral that maintained its style throughout its building.  Style is Early English Gothic.  The spire is 404 feet high – highest in Britain.  Glastonbury spire was 500 feet, but it is gone.  The spire was built 100 years after the cathedral. 

Cost of tour is £2.50.  A very interesting tour.  The Charter Room contains one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta, 1215, signed by King John.  There had been about 40 copies made.  Also in the cathedral is the oldest working clock in the world, build ca 1386.  It was designed to strike the hour, so has no face nor hands.  Had cheese and bread lunch on the grounds and then went to the farmers’ market in the town.

Sept 10

Tuesday

Plymouth

Devon

Drove right to the waterfront.  Some had booked a harbour tour and the rest wandered the waterfront until the boat returned, then we went to the hotel – the Strathmore.  Along the wharf called the Barbican are the Pilgrim Father Steps from which the Pilgrims left on the Mayflower.  These are not the original as they long ago eroded and were replaced sometime in the 1800’s.  The Royal Citadel, built by Charles II in 1670 is here as well, a huge fort with walls 30 to 40 feet high in some places, and 20 feet thick in places.  Looking down on the harbour is the area known as the Hoe, where Sir Francis Drake was bowling when he got news of the Spanish Armada in 1588.  Strathmore Hotel, nice room.  Supper included – I had cod & chips – not very good.  Went for a walk on the Hoe after supper.  Saw Smeaton’s Tower, which was built in 1882 from the stone of the original Eddystone lighthouse.  Plymouth was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe during WW II.

Sept 11

Wednesday

Cornish Goldsmiths

Cornwall

10:10 – 10:55

A small complex selling gold jewelry, with out-buildings housing museum of mining, silver jewelry, souvenirs.  James Bond’s car from Goldfinger is on display in the Goldsmith’s building, as are two piles of £1,000,000:  one in gold bars, the other in £5 notes.  Norm was late and had to wear the “hat”!

Sept 11

Wednesday

St Michaels Mount, Penzance

Cornwall

Saw our first palm trees here; saw many more over the next few days.  St Michaels is a volcanic neck or sea stack off shore and accessible by road during low tide.  There is a castle on it, a protected harbour, and farmland.

We drove through Penzance but did not stop; it is located across the bay from St Michaels.  Many artists have set up shop here during the late 19th century.  Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the miners’ safety lamp among other things, lived here.

Sept 11

Wednesday

St Ives

Cornwall

12:45 – 3:00

This sea-side town takes its name from St Ia, an Irish saint (female) who floated over from Ireland on a leaf, landing not far from the town site.  Traffic is very limited in the town so tour busses and visiting tourists must park above the town and either walk or take a bus to the town, several hundred feet in elevation below.  The walk was on a paved walkway, very steep, about ½ mile.  We walked both ways.  Tried a couple of Cornish pasties for lunch.  Found a nice little park with benches, and sat with Peter & Shirley Felsch (Aust) as they too were sampling this local treat.  Then wandered about town, visiting a few shops, walking on the wharf, along the waterfront, through a tiny winding alley to the next street above and the old church, then slowly back to the bus.  It was a warm day and a slow climb. 

 

 

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