Saturday, 21 May 2016

England/Wales - Cotswolds Day 1

Off to Gatwick.  Once again WestJet has chosen our Spring vacation for us this year.  Last year they announced flights to Scotland from the East Coast, this year it is London added to their itinerary.  We leave Friday night from Halifax - St. Johns, NFLD - Gatwick.  Arrival at 8:30 AM in London Saturday morning.  We will be renting a car and doing some exploring.  Start off going to the Cotswolds, then over to Wales for a few days, then back to London area to visit relations (as they say there) for one night, then back home.  Another quick trip, but really looking forward to it.  Now, if the weather would only look a little better for this week-end.....

We arrived after a quick one hour stop in St. Johns.  A full flight to Gatwick, but WestJet has so much more room than Air Canada Rouge it was fine.  Plus it is only about a 4.5 hour flight.  Customs to luggage pick up to getting our car was about 1.5 hours.  About 30 minutes of that was walking from one terminal to the other.  I sure do wish I knew more about car insurance, it is tough to battle with the person when they tell you it is mandatory to have extra insurance unless you have a letter from your credit card company...

On the road, today was mostly spent on highways, so not too difficult to get used to driving on the left side of the road.  Again we rented an automatic, so much easier then shifting with the left hand.  There is enough to concentrate on to make sure you are not too much of a menace on the road without dealing with shifting as well.

First stop was at the Silbury Hill in Avebury.  Is is the largest prehistoric man made mound in Europe, from around 2400 BC.   No one knows what is was for, interesting and on our way to the next stop. 

Silbury Hill

Our second stop of the day was at the Avebury Stone Circle. I picked this over Stonehenge as here you are not roped off from the stones, you can still wander around and touch the stones.  In some spots you are sharing the spot with grazing sheep.  By this time it has started to rain a bit, so not as fantastic as it could have been, but still worth the visit.  Unfortunately we missed a guided tour by 15 minutes, so we just made it up as we went along. This is the only Stone Circle with a pub and a church in it.  The road goes in the middle of it as well. 

Sheep taking refuge from the rain

Avebury Stone Circle

Part of Avebury Stone Circle

One hour wait for food at this pub, so we moved on

More of Avebury Stone Circle

From here we got back on the M4 which is a pretty busy highway.  Problem with this highway is it is miles between each exit.  So, when you get going the wrong way on the highway you are kind of in a mess.  So...we got going the wrong way.  Not sure whos fault it was, actually I do know but no need to go into that.  Lucky for us we happened across a really cute little town called Malmesbury that had a pub open and we are able to finally eat.  It is now 3PM, no breakfast or lunch so long overdue.  In Avebury there was an hour wait for lunch at the pub so we decided to move on.  Great lunch, mostly filled with locals, fun to see everyone coming in with their dogs.

Smoking Dog pub where we had lunch in Malmesbury

Oldest hotel in England 1220. According to the sign, there has been a hotel on this site since then. 

After lunch we headed to Bibury where I had seen some beautiful pictures of Arlington Row.  It did not disappoint.  If you close your eyes and think of what the Cotswolds may look like this is what I imagined.  There was a mother goose with her three young ones going down a little river, absolutely beautiful gardens, and Arlington Row.  Arlington Row is made up of 17th century weavers cottages, very pretty.  Add to all of these the thatched roofs we have seen today, it has been a great day.

Bibury - Cotswolds

Arlington Row

Beautiful Gardens here

I am now running out of steam and we head off to our B&B for the night in Bourton on the Water.  Get all settled, have a 45 minute snooze then head off for a tour of the town. This is another pretty town, but really geared at tourists.  Lots of things to do here.  We are just here for one night so will not do all the touristy things like visit the miniature millage, or the pottery, but still pretty to walk around. 

Bourton On The Water - Cotswolds

We just got back from supper at the put around the corner.  Excellent meal, I'm not looking at prices any more.  Rain has stopped, lets hope it is gone for the rest of the week.  Really looking forward to tomorrow.

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