Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Break: The Cotswolds

Hello from the beautiful cotswolds! After two days here, I am totally in love. Everyone seems so relaxed...there are more tea shops than there are people to fill them! So far, if there was a place in the UK where I would want to live, this would it. A life filled with walking and scones.

Amanda and I left Bath yesterday morning, and went to the Palm Sunday service in the Bath Abbey. It was a really nice service, and of course, a beautiful church. Unfortunately, since our train left at 10:45, we had to miss communion. But don't worry dad, we stayed through the sermon!

Two crowded train rides later (we had to stand, because there was no room to sit), we arrived in Moreton-in-Marsh, and caught a taxi to Chipping Campden. Our taxi driver was a hilarious man who was eager to tell us all about the region, and informed Amanda and I that in the Cotswolds, you just need to lay back, relax, and stop making schedules.

When we got to our bed and breakfast, we took the taxi driver's words to heart, and sat down for a cream tea (Our bed and breakfast is also a tea room). Let me tell you. We ate the most AMAZING scones in the entire world. I have eaten my fair share of scones, but these are a force to be reckoned with. It was all we could do to not order another round, and instead go out and explore the little town.

Chipping Campden used to be a bustling market town, and the market hall is still standing! It was built in 1627, and the timbers inside are original!

We took our time walking through the town to get to the church, and when we got there, we were greeted by a nice old man who told us that it was his first day on the job helping visitors. He was full of really interesting information though (And he kept checking his notes to make sure it was all true haha!). He informed us that the twelve lime trees lining the path up to the church represent the twelve disciples, and that the church was called a "wool church", because it was completely financed by the wool industry! They're not totally sure when the church was built, but there is a stone carving above the church doors (which are original) of two people, and based on the hairstyles, they were able to guess that the church was built in the 13th century!

After seeing the church, we headed back to the bed and breakfast for some much needed relaxation. Me with Game of Thrones, Amanda with Pride And Prejudice (i.e. a nap). Then off to dinner at the nearby pub to end our first day in the Cotswolds!

This morning, we woke up to an amazing breakfast! Amanda had pancakes with lemon and sugar, which apparently is customary here, and I had porridge, which tasted just like when my dad makes it at home :)

Then we took off for a hike from the town Stow-On-The-Wold to another town, Bourton-On-The-Water. Everyone told us that it was a clear path, and that we wouldn't get lost. About five minutes into the walk though, Amanda and I looked at each other and realized that we had no idea where we were going. Luckily, an older couple was walking down the hill behind us, and when we asked if they knew the way, they said they were doing the walk too, and they were from Bourton! So we followed them the whole way, which I might add, is not a well marked path. It's random, through cow and sheep fields. If it hadn't been our luck to run into them, there is absolutely no way we would have reached our destination!

The walk was absolutely beautiful.

Coming down into Lower Slaughter:

Between Lower Slaughter and Bourton-On-The-Water:


After touring Bourton-On-The-Water, which is an adorable little tourist town with a MILLION ice cream places, we caught the bus back to Stow-On-The-Wold. Here, we found the door which is said to have inspired J.R. Tolkien when he wrote about the door to Moria. My inner nerd was extremely excited!!

Of course, upon our return to Chipping Campden, Amanda and I enjoyed another round of cream tea. Who could resist those delicious scones? Tomorrow we are planning to have a relaxed day in the town, looking into the various different antique and cute specialty shops, drinking tea...let's be honest - eating more scones. Should be fun!

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