Our family of five, started our trip from london, .. We had this division of uneven numbers… which proves difficult while trying to find accommodations in Europe!
I had repeatedly warned parents and DW to pack light… Little did I know that the parents would pack a world of food stuffs… All because of some misguided vegetarian people who told them “you won’t get anything to eat”! Someone told my Mom “I took a pressure cooker with three kg rice when I went for a month”… I didn’t want to offend my parents by calling their friends morons!!
We made a mistake in deciding to stay at a friend’s B&B in Romford.. Though we experienced homely comfort there…, we missed out on the feel of the city! The one hour transit time by tube meant that we were more interested in getting back home than to explore the night life.
Having said that, we did have some fun in London.. Our first impression was pathetic.. London was going through a heat wave, and we didn’t appreciate the heat, coming from sweltering Delhi… … But eventually being fun loving, we enjoyed our trip..
The tower of London was partly eerie, partly tranquil, and worth the trip.. The memorial at the scaffold had these words.
‘Gentle visitor pause awhile : where you stand death cut away the light of many days : here jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life : may they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage : under these restless skies”
…not to forget the quintessential London tube…
Hungry, after a day of walking, we ended up at Trafalgar square, we asked a man on the street, for the closest, wholesome food.. And his recommendation was spot on.. We landed up in the Sherlock Holmes pub in Northumberland Avenue.. It started off bad… with mother and sister mumbling darkly about the follies of these men folk… Thoughts of drunken orgies and unsafe trip back home.. (This despite my telling mom repeatedly that pubs are great places for vegetarian wholesome food and nothing like pubs in India!)
Another great “foodogasmic” experience was the Burrough market, which we visited one evening!
We sauntered into a very famous cheese shop called Neal’s yard Dairy, where we sampled and bought a variety of “oh-so-yum” cheese n crackers!
..right from mushrooms, truffles, flavoured olive oils, vegetables, fresh foods…meat…and baked goodies!
.….sampled a couple of Ales at The Market Porter…
Spent an evening shopping on Oxford and park streets…which was a drag for me n dad but a highlight for the ladies!!
Stonehenge was definitely on a priority visit list, as we had seen enough pictures, in magazines and online and were enamoured by it….but after reaching there, somehow.. was majorly disappointed… it was a very hot, sunny day…long queues…ended up taking pics and continuing on..
We managed to see a few white chalk horses.. Large white horses painted on hills by ancestors.. now maintained by locals..
Eventually this was one place we were happy to visit.. a tranquil cathedral, despite its enormity and popularity… Had lunch at a Pizza Hut, with pizzas better than the generic pizzas we were used to..
the Salisbury Cathedral has the tallest Church spire in the United Kingdom!
Along the way, we tried tender great english and scottish strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries!!
One odd thing.. My appetite while driving was almost double normal. So I gorged on omelettes, crisp bacon, sausages, baked tomatoes and hash browns, granola with curd, and coffee… Whew! I got exhausted writing that down…
After heavy breakfasts, we set course for day trips from Cirencester to Oxford, Bourton-on-the-water, Morton-on-the-marsh, and aroundabouts…
The absolute winner in all of these was Bourton.. Beautiful, calm rivulet with ice cold water where mom, sis n DW, splashed around….cool winds, lot of tree shade(after a sweltering summer in London), and great lemon meringue ice creams.. absolute Bliss!!
On our way to Oxford, stopped enroute in a farm when we saw a garage sale.. It was interesting.. People selling and buying music cds, books, vases, paintings, everything and anything.. And some people selling coffee, tea and pies.. It was very interesting, non touristy.. More like normal people from the surrounding areas.. We really liked that they cared for their puppies, kitten and babies..
Afterwards I persuaded dad to try out a golden ale.. I love the look that comes on dads face, whenever he tastes something good.. Be it a cheese, chocolates, a curry or an unexpected great ale
.. punting on oxford’s river
We climbed back into the bus drove back home tired and satisfied…
Next day, we planned to visit Bath.. To not only see The Roman Baths, but also have some typical English tea, with crumpets and scones.. A word about scones.. I developed an obsession for scones, with butter, blueberry compote, cream and fresh berries.. And I didn’t want to only eat.. I wanted everyone to wallow in the fruits, the scones, the carrot cakes…
I made everyone traipse up to the tea room on the first floor after checking out menus in multiple such small tea rooms..
Bath is a quaint town with small squares, unexpected havens of trees, and paved streets with small, cute shops you are sure to lose yourselves in.. Anyway our Bath tea experience was great.. Everything as good as I had expected.. A large multi tiered assemblage of lemon cake, carrot cake, cup cakes, and scones, along with blissful tea..with all this eating, I was struck by how much we really didn’t need to bring along..