Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 Andover…along the highway
This morning the weather was overcast and looked like rain all day; but it didn’t actually rain until evening. We were at breakfast by 9:30 this morning….the cut off for service. While I waited for the girls I signed on to the wifi and made reservations at the Ibis Hotel near Heathrow for our last two night.
Decided to drive the car to see the sites in Bath; the hotel recommended the city bus but we didn’t listen. We found the Royal Crescent rather easily and then began the search for the Roman Baths. The Royal Crescent is a famous building in the shape of a crescent; nearby is another similar building in a circle…yes…called the Circle. We always found ourselves back at these two buildings no matter which way we drove. Finally asked someone and they said best to park and walk or take a bus as the City Center is basically a walking only zone. So…we decided to forget the Roman ruins and headed out of the city of Bath.
Driving on beautiful country roads, awash in colors of red and gold, for an hour or so took us to the town of Salisbury. It is famous for the tallest steeple in England on the top of its Cathedral. A beautiful little town with a stream running through it; I think you’ll enjoy the photos of the stream and especially the swan.
The Cathedral was magnificent; huge and beautiful. While Nancy and I explored all the nooks and crannies; a Baptist Minister named Kevin who is in the military service and stationed nearby, sat down next to Barbara and they had a wonderful conversation about God, the church and life in general. We had the benefit of a docent who gave us several special pieces of information on the Cathedral. For example, there is no basement, only several feet of gravel. If the gravel becomes too dry…the Cathedral would start to sink. She showed us the special hole where they measure the water level each week. If it is too dry they tell the people who control the rivers leading into the town and more water is let in. She also pointed out the bend in the pillars that support the steeple. By the way; the movie Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson was filmed in Salisbury.
By four o’clock we’d finished the Cathedral and gift shop and then stopped at an Italian restaurant called Prezzo for a late lunch and early dinner. Then it was off to the Cooking Shop for some fun shopping for things to take home. Nancy and Barbara each found several things they’d been looking for on our journey.
By this time it was dark and raining harder and harder. We finally found a road number that we recognized and headed down a narrow, dark two lane road with the rain creating large puddles alongside the road that we had no choice but to drive through. Hairy stuff but we survived for about ten miles and then entered a dual carriageway…heaven! Now the cars could easily pass us instead of putting bright lights on to try to make us drive faster.
We decided to find a hotel as soon as possible. After several attempts we ended up getting the last two rooms at a roadside chain motel called Preimer Inn. Their computers were down all evening and they opened three different rooms for us before finding one that was actually empty. Nancy has the single room tonight and it is a wheelchair equipped room; completed with a fully handicapped bathroom…check the photos. There is one of Barbara standing in the hall with our luggage as we waited for them to try different rooms after we walked into one that had a computer set up on the desk. Fortunately the guest had left for some dinner.
They have given us free breakfast tomorrow for the inconvenience of the room mixup. But the good news is that we are off of the highway. Tomorrow we plan to go to Windsor to see the Queen’s castle. Maybe stay there or go on to Canterbury. We plan to spend at least two nights in Canterbury. It’s been an exciting journey with lots of twists and unexpected turns; but those are the things we’ll remember long after we’ve forgotten the best parts of our trip.