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New Discoveries in Old Places

Dearest Readers,


We had a ball this past week being tourists with our Boston-area visitors, Nancy and Patty. It was great to have their company as we visited some London attractions for the first time. We also took them to some of our favorite Oxfordshire locales. I had fun with those - more than I expected - on the repeat visits.


London Food Tour!

Patty and Nancy treated us to a "food tour" of Camden Market, a historic area of London which now features a huge variety of shops, restaurants and food stalls. This type of guided tour was new to me. Our leader was delightful and definitely knew the best dishes to try! Check out my favorites:



We also got a little history of the market area and a walk around the neighborhood, where Amy Winehouse used to hang out and perform amidst the colorful houses, murals, and music venues.



After the 3-hour tasting extravaganza, we made our way to central London and the Churchill War Rooms. This underground "bunker" where Winston Churchill and the government directed the World War II effort is now a fascinating museum.



Blenheim Palace

Speaking of Churchill, he was born while his mother was staying with relatives at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. Today visitors can tour the grand house (think "Downton Abbey" scale) which we had done in February. I wanted to take Nancy and Patty there, but forgot to check the website! We found the house closed for a private event, but finally the weather was nice enough to walk around the huge gardens and enjoy the outdoor part of the estate.



Oxford

Maybe it was the spring weather (finally!) - but I had a great time touring Oxford again, this time with Nancy and Patty. We started by paying an entrance fee to one of the colleges (Magdalen, pronounced "MAUD-lin", go figure!) Nothing much is free these days, even walking around a college campus in Oxford. But I really wanted to take advantage of our timing to see the college meadow in bloom with distinctive flowers, the fritillaries. It was a beautiful spot, although we couldn't get up close to the flowers and the faraway, fenced-off purple dots we saw, compared to the website images, were disappointing.



However we still really enjoyed Oxford's grand historic buildings; visiting many of the sites used in scenes for the Inspector Morse TV series; and Afternoon Tea at The Randolph. It was fun to come home and watch a Morse episode together, recognizing many settings where they filmed.



STONEHENGE!

Nearly 30 years ago, my sister Kara took me to see Stonehenge, and in those days you could walk amongst the stones and touch them. We knew that was no longer possible, but a visit was a top priority for Nancy and Patty. I am so glad I went back. It's still a magical place, challenging your mind to visualize life 4,500 years ago, and wonder how in the world the ancients built it. I try to imagine the awe people must have felt in those days, coming upon it for the first time without knowing what to expect!


We found distinct advantages to the new set-up. Having to stand back from the stones gives you a more complete perspective. And the new visitor center is full of fascinating information, including a model of the stone circle when it was new and undamaged. A friendly docent explained that half of each massive stone is buried underground! I guess that's why they have stood for so long.



PS, if you ever go to Stonehenge, be sure to stop for lunch at the nearby pub The Dog and Gun. Despite the name, it was fabulous!


And finally...the Costwolds

As Robin drove us and our guests towards their visit to the Costwolds, I was thinking, "this will probably do it for number of tours to this area." Now I'm not so sure! We visited some different towns in the southern Cotswolds this time, and they were darned charming! But by the end of the afternoon (and the end of a VERY busy Ireland/England trip for Nancy and Patty), we were all getting tired and may have sped (only figuratively) through the final few villages. I thought Bibury was the prettiest one so far; and I wouldn't mind returning for a longer visit to Bourton-on-the-Water.



PS - My cast came off yesterday, and I had been counting down the days! My wrist is still stiff and sore, but the doctor says I am healing nicely. 😁


Next up: we have about about five weeks left until June, when we will embark on an epic road trip to Northern England and the Scottish Isles. Time is flying by. With just over four months left of our yearlong sabbatical, we're trying to make the most of our remaining time here. I wish I had the energy of a young person....as it seems for every day of adventure, one needs a couple days of rest!


💂‍♀️ 🇬🇧 🫖







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8 Comments


Guest
Apr 26

Oh you got to go to Stonehenge - that’s a dream spot for me. You can have all the palaces you like but I’m for the really old and original. You might enjoy “Time Team” on YouTube if you’re into archaeology. I’ve shared lunch with the Team since the pandemic.

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Guest
Apr 17

Yay. Cast off! Good for you


Sue DeGrave

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Guest
Apr 17

Sounds like a wonderful visit. Glad your cast is off! Lots of love to you and Robin from Seattle.

Chris P

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kgilman11
Apr 17
Replying to

Thank you Chris! I hope you are staying healthy!!

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Guest
Apr 17

Loved this post as always, Cousin Kim. It’s so much fun enjoying your adventures from home and remembering some parts of them from the adventures my mother enjoyed many moons ago.


Glad the cast is finally off and you’re healing nicely!

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kgilman11
Apr 17
Replying to

Thank you Cousin!

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Guest
Apr 17

It looks like you are having a great time and England is even giving you a little spring! How's the wrist healing? I hope well!

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kgilman11
Apr 17
Replying to

Thank you! The wrist is still a bit sore and stiff, but I think every day will bring a little progress.

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