When I left off, we were on our way to Chipping Campden, Cotswolds.
Chipping Campden is a charming little town, full of centuries old, honey-coloured stone buildings with thatch roofs. The town is surrounded by lush, grassy hills, with lambs cavorting practically in folks’ backyards (I resolved never to eat lamb again, but I broke down in Paris).
We strolled around the town, but there is not much to do there, so we had tea and were ready to go. Unfortunately, the bus we’d planned to take didn’t show up (not an uncommon occurrence I learned). We had tickets for a 7:00 play in Stratford, and by the time we got back, we just had time for a quickie and a fast shower, and no time for dinner. We were tired and hungry by then and (briefly!) considered skipping the play (it was three hours) but I’m SO glad we didn’t.
The play was breathtaking. It was Chekhov's The Seagull, performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. I’ve never seen or read anything by Chekhov, so I had no idea what to expect, but it blew me away. I’m no expert but the acting was some of the best I’ve ever seen. McHotty agreed, it was completely riveting and powerful.
After the show we were starving and headed for the pub. If it weren’t for the RSC, Stratford would be one lame ass town. We couldn’t find anyone serving food at 10 pm. Even the facking Pizza Hut was closed. Right about the time we were wondering where the hell the actors eat, we happened upon a bustling Indian place called the Thesbian’s Restaurant. The food was fantastic, and we loved the beer, an Indian brand called Cobra (beer goes so well with curry, doesn’t it!)
The next morning we were up very early to take our trains (yes, plural) to Bath. I was nervous about this part of the trip. We had to make two connections and the trains in England have a reputation for being late and unreliable. Well, either that’s not true or we were lucky, because we actually arrived in Bath early.
Bath is stunning. If I had it to do over I’d have given us more time there. The entire town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Like Chipping Campden, all of the buildings are made with the same stone (it starts white and mellows to a lovely honey colour). I ran out of batteries here so unfortunately I got few pics of Bath. But I did manage a couple at the Jane Austen museum. I was in heaven there. As I sat in the Regency tearoom, eating my Mr. Darcy tea, I was like a schoolgirl. McHotty was initially not too enthused about the whole tea thing, but he loved it. I never knew scones were so yummy. I’d only ever had them in Canada and I thought they were dry and gross. The museum itself isn’t the greatest-I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know. But the shop is wonderful, especially the books. I bought a beautifully illustrated companion to Pride and Prejudice for Cakes (speaking of which, did I mention I also bought her a pop-up book from the Globe Theatre) as well as a couple of books about Austen for me. I could have gone on, but I exercised some restraint.
Next we visited the Roman Baths, which were pretty spectacular. The water was so warm, I wanted to jump right in. We took a double-decker bus tour around the city and admired the architecture and gardens (Bath wins awards for its gardens). Of course, we finished the day with a pint and some people watching. What a fab place.
Coming next: Paris!
Final English Pub tally: 25