Sunday, November 06, 2011 Village of Rye
Well…not quite sure but there is a sign on our door that reads: “Honored by the visit of H.M. The Queen Mother on 9th June 1982”. It is a huge room with a large double bed plus a single bed for the lady in waiting? It makes for a good story. The room has a fake bookcase that opens to a narrow twisting stairway that today can be used only as an emergency fire escape (per the sign on the wall of our room).
To quote from the Hotel brochure for The Mermaid Inn; “When you have partaken of a good meal and fine wine and it is time to retire, you will find the charm continues up the creaky staircases to the delightfully furnished bedrooms, with views through quaint windows to the ancient town of Rye. From a picturesque cobbled street, step back in time and experience the unique atmosphere of one of England’s oldest and liveliest inns.
Well frequented by smugglers over the centuries, and invaders from France – nowadays the Mermaid Inn caters for those who appreciate tradition and charm, coupled with the modern facilities required by today’s guest. The hotel has a wealth of old timbers and many of the character bedrooms have four-poster beds.” The Inn dates from 1156 and was rebuilt after a fire in 1420. Low timbered ceilings makes it interesting for tall people to navigate the Inn.
Our day began later than usual as we slept in under the watchful eyes of the cows and a few bulls that wandered the pasture underneath our bedroom window at The Lodge in Winchelsea. Arriving in the breakfast room about 9:30 am; we enjoyed the continental breakfast that was included with the room.
Soon we were back in the car and headed east towards the village of Rye; our destination for tonight that is less than ten miles away. Arrived in the village without a problem but then began the search for the best way to get into the old village center where we knew the church and our hotel were located. After once around we stopped at a gas station for directions as the map I’d copied from Google Maps was not helping us. They gave us a very good map and hi-lighted the directions for getting into the center via the one way roads. After four more times around the edge we finally stopped to ask a lady for help. She gave us instructions and then offered to get in the car with us as she was headed that way. What a blessing…she took us to a block from the Mermaid Inn; we had to go into the cobble stone streets. There we navigated the very narrow entrance into the parking lot for the hotel…very small and only hold’s a few cars. We’d been warned that we might not be able to park in the hotel lot when we made the reservations over a week ago. They had us double park and have kept the keys in case they need to get the other car out that we are blocking.
Off to the small Catholic Church called St. Anthony of Padua located within a block of the large Anglican Church of St. Mary’s. We arrived at the beginning of the sermon; the building is small and there were no seats to spare. It was a lovely Mass with the new changes that have just come into effect with the start of Advent. Spoke to the priest afterwards and he was delighted that we’d managed to find help in locating the church. Another visitor had been told that there was not a Catholic Church in Rye.
After Mass we visited the inside of St. Mary’s, the cemetery and several nearby streets. The cobblestones are very sharp and difficult to walk on. Thankfully they have paths along the side of them for walking. They are like walking barefoot on marbles! Arrived back at the Inn and it was still too early to check in…have to wait until 1 pm. So off to visit the antique shops; the girls were in their glory…I soon tired of shopping and since it was 1 pm, I headed back to the hotel and picked out the rooms for us with the help of the bell boy who carried in the big suitcases and I managed the smaller ones. There are many steps inside this hotel…but I finally found one that is easy for Barbara to get to but it does have a bathtub. I thought that was preferable to twisting and turning steps to navigate. It wasn’t until later that I discovered the secret door and the history of the room.
As I went downstairs, Barbara’s friends Peter and Livinia arrived. They settled in to their rooms while I went to find the shopping girls. Explored several shops and found them coming out of another one. They were hungry and so was I so we went into the Mermaid Tea Corner shop for a bite to eat. I had Cider and a Jacket Potato with cheese and onions. Delicious! By the time I finished Peter and Livinia had found us and I left them all enjoying dessert and headed back for the hotel. I’m not into shopping even if they are antiques!
Back at the Inn I finished repacking my luggage for our journey tomorrow to the hotel at the Heathrow Airport. The trick is to get everything back into our suitcases and have the breakables in the carryon luggage. We’ll have two more days to explore London before flying home but will do that by train from Heathrow. Then plugged in my computer and enjoyed some wifi time before the rest of them, tired of shopping, arrived at the hotel.
It’s after 6 pm now and we’re getting ready for dinner in the hotel; finally going to use those dress up clothes we’ve carried for the last three weeks. I’ll add the end after dinner.
THREE HOURS LATER:
We started our dinner with drinks in the bar; a delicious red Australian wine in front of a roaring fire in a fireplace that was big enough to stand in! Then into the dining room for a five star dinner. My selection was scallops for starters and Sea Bass for my dinner. Dessert was an apple tart with ice cream. You’ll see what the others enjoyed in the photos. After dinner we had our coffee in the lounge. Service was the best and it was a delightful three hour dinner. Off to bed now until breakfast then off to London to return the car. What a wonderful two weeks we’ve enjoyed as we roamed the carriageways of England.