Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Today was definitely a mish-mash kind of day. We went on a van tour that included Castle Combe, Avebury, Lacock and Stonehenge. There was a good deal of time spent in this van/bus thing, and sadly, it was not the most comfortable thing ever. I barely fit width-wise in the seat and, while I'm certainly not a slim little thing, I'm not that large. Poor Tom had a heck of a time. Also, whoever was in the aisle seat had the seat belt, which was fixed, not mobile at all, sticking into their heinie. There was a period where we were able to sit in separate seats, but in the end, he ended up in the back of the van, which was four seats in a row with no butt-biting seatbelts, and I ended up sitting with a gentleman from New Zealand, sadly not thin enough to keep my bottom off the torture device.

Castle Combe was the quitessential cotswolds village. Limestone houses, a quaint little church, a stream, and an ancient graveyard around the church. I noticed one of the flagstones (quite old) just outside the entry had an engraving on it that said, "Deep Well Under Here." I guess that would be good to know in an emergency?

Avebury is stone circle/henge site that is on a much larger scale than Stonehenge (geographically). The stones themselves are not as large, but are certainly of a respectable size. Another big difference is that the stones were set as-is, with no modification. The tour guide had some dowsing rods, and I used one and OH MY GOODNESS!!! That thing was alive, I swear.

At Avebury, you're allowed to walk anywhere you want and touch anything and it feels very free. There are sheep grazing all around, so you have to watch your step. There were many lambs, and I enjoyed watching them.

Lacock is another cotswolds town, this one larger and a bit less uniform than Castle Combe. I had my first pub meal there - roast beef, potatoes and veggies with gravy. Quite hearty and tasty.

The biggest claim to fame that Lacock has is that it has been used in numerous productions. It served as the town of Merriton in the BBC Pride & Prjudice, Cranston in ... well, Cranston, and the Abbey there is part of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! We didn't have quite enough time in Lacock, but it was very picturesque and enjoyable.

On to Stonehenge. I'd been warned to be prepared to be underwhelmed by Stonehenge. The good news is that I was so prepared to be underwhelmed that I was actually pleasantly surprised. The stones are roped off so you can't go in among them, but there was a nice audio guide and lots of good photo opportunities and, although it was very crowded, it wasn't as bad as I was fearing. I didn't even have a queue for the toilet! (And look, I can say it in the proper English way!)

Overall, I'd say that Avebury was my favorite. I loved the dowsing rods, the clear breeze, the relative emptiness, the sheep and climbing down the henge and back up to see an Alice in Wonderland rabbit-hole tree.

Tomorrow will be in Bath and a good deal more low-key. I'm looking forward to it!

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