Sunday, August 31, 2014

Our Lifestyle Adventures: Touring England Part 2

@ the Roman Bath in Bath, United Kingdom
arrival of Trisha and Yeye at Gatwick International Airport
From Canterbury, we stayed overnight at Bloc, the hotel inside the Gatwick International, eager to welcome my daughter Trisha and daughter Yeye to England. It was a little room just to do the thing we were doing, a night’s stay to pick up some people (or catch a flight). The following day I couldn’t contain my joy upon seeing them come out of the door from Customs.

our rental car
We got our rental car and drove off to our first stop, Salisbury and the famous Cathedral completed in 1258. The cathedral has the tallest church spire in UK (404 ft.), the largest cathedral close (80 acres)), the world's oldest working clock (AD 1386) and one of four original copies of the Magna Carta. This is a charter originally issued in Latin, sealed under oath by King John on 15 June 1215 in Runnymede. It was the first document imposed upon a King by a group of feudal barons, limiting his powers and protecting their rights, an important step leading to the rule of constitutional law in England and beyond.

historic Salisbury Cathedral
The town of Salisbury offered Yeye her first photo-op…a red phone booth! Lunch was by a river. We then went to Stonehenge but the duo could not be budged from their sleep at the car, suffering serious jet lag, of course. The admission price to Stonehenge was quite high at fifteen pounds each, so Bill and I bought a Joint Senior English Heritage Pass for sixty pounds that gives us free access to around four hundred castles, ruins, etc. in England.  Then we took a quick tour of and many photo ops with the iconic stones.

Yeye and the red phone booth
Stonehenge is what remains of a ring of standing stones in the middle of the densest complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. It is believed it was built anywhere from 3000 to 2000 BC. The site and its surroundings are World Heritage Sites, including Avebury Henge, another less known and less commercialized stone circle. Studies indicate that Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings.

my dream come true at Stonehenge in the UK
fun and family at Farmers' Hotel in Warminster, UK
Afterwards we proceeded to Warminster, another small town where we were booked at the Farmer’s Hotel. The hotel is old but the staff was so friendly, we watched the World Cup with them at the dining hall, commiserated at England's loss, and became one happy family.  When we left two days after, Yeye gifted them with flowers in appreciation of our wonderful stay.

Roman bath at Bath, UK
Then we trooped to the lovely city of Bath and our first shopping spree! Street kiosks offered scarves, tops, and souvenirs galore for reasonable prices. At Claire’s, an accessories shop, I finally found two pieces for my fascinator which Bill promised to assemble before the wedding. Before we went into the Roman bath, we were captivated by a street side optical illusion, the same trick we found all over Europe, albeit in different forms.

seen at the road leading to the Roman Bath
Bath had the Latin name Aquae Sulis in AD 60 when the Romans built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon. During the Georgian era, it became a very popular as a spa town, leaving a heritage of Georgian architecture crafted from Bath Stone. The city became a World Heritage Site in 1987 with theatres, museums and other cultural and sporting venues that make it a major tourist attraction. Great photo ops await anyone who visits Bath!

In the next post, I will tell you about Part 3 of our road trip across England...at an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Cotswold,a and wonderful Wales!