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We Get Around

Dearest Readers,


I hope you are enjoying spring, wherever you are. As of May 1st, Robin and I both finished our teaching jobs for the semester, and are on a break until September. While we each plan to continue working on our various projects, we won't be tied down to a schedule. We're feeling very lucky and excited for a few months of exploration and travel! Not only that, but I'm looking out my window at the FIFTH sunny day this week! Has the rain finally subsided??


Canola plants in bloom, everywhere

I'm already thinking how weird it's going to feel returning to Massachusetts in September. We sure will miss our lives in England. Perhaps we can transfer some of the spirit of exploration we've cultivated over here. But let's not think about that too much just yet!


During the month of June, we will be emBARKing with our dogs a grand road trip to Northern England and the Scottish islands. So we are filling May with mini-adventures - some for a few days, others just an afternoon walk. Here are a few highlights:


Bath

Reputed to be charming and well worth a visit, we set out for the city of Bath, less than a 2-hour drive from our place. Here you can visit the well-preserved ruins of the Roman occupation in the first century AD. The city has England's only natural hot springs, and the Romans took advantage of this to build an intricate leisure complex centering on warm, public baths.


We enjoyed touring the well-preserved ruins with their great museum; along with a walk around the city and some excellent meals. I'm not doing them justice here but our restaurant choices in Bath were all superb. Follow the advice of your AirBnB hosts!


Dog-friendly AirBnB accommodations have been ideal for us. They have the bonus of hosts willing to share their local knowledge of the best food, drinks, and things to do. In Bath, our cottage was in a quiet oasis only a few minutes from a bus stop. Bath consists of steep hills with narrow roads and sometimes heavy traffic, so it was nice to take the bus to the city center.



On the way home from Bath, we decided to go back in history three thousand more years to visit a neolithic burial mound - the Stoney Littleton Long Barrow. This ancient grave site has been excavated, and I was excited to go inside one of the barrows which dot the landscape! Well, there wasn't much to see after all these years, except a dark narrow stone passage. Any bones and valuables buried with the dead had long ago been removed.



But it was a lovely walk up the hill to the barrow, and very atmospheric and interesting to be there. (Rainy and foggy of course.) As we returned to the parking lot, a father and two young daughters were heading up the hill to the barrow. He said it was first on their list of several ancient sites they planned to visit in the area. The girls seemed excited - how cool that Dad was sharing a love of history with them, and they were into it!


The Eyecatcher

Steeple Aston is the next village over from ours, and on the hill above our house we look over to its rolling green countryside. We took a public footpath over the canal, along the river, through some trees, and into the fields. To our surprise we suddenly came upon an ancient-looking stone ruin in the middle of a pasture. It turned out to be another "folly" built in 1740 on the whim of a wealthy landowner and his landscape architect for something to look at. Aptly called an "eyecatcher." The sun was shining and it was a beautiful little outing.



The plaque on the bench in memory of Bob the Dog says "Take a Seat and Paws a While." ❤️


Cambridge (UK)

Robin's PhD is from Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He lived there for 5 years while in his 20's, before he moved to the US. He was curious to go back and I had never seen Cambridge, so we drove up for a couple days (also meeting two of his university buddies for lunch).


Here are a few photos from our early-morning walk around the city and its colleges. Like Oxford, most of the university areas are closed to the public, except at limited times and often charging an entrance fee. Robin's alumni card got us into Trinity Hall, but we discovered it was exam week and the college "porters" were zealously keeping the public out of most areas so as not to disturb the students. I've read that the best way to see Cambridge is from a boat on the River Cam, though we did not have time to do that.


These photos are all from inside the lovely Trinity Hall grounds (no captions):



This next set of photos is from other parts of Cambridge. Some sort of giraffe-based art installment seemed to be taking place.



See all those bikes in the last picture? I was really struck by the number of cyclists in Cambridge. From students to parents with young kids to senior citizens, hundreds of people were using their bikes to get around town. The same is true for Oxford, but I've never seen anything like this Cambridge rush hour!



All in all, it was an appealing city. Comparisons to Oxford are inevitable. Which do I like better? I can't decide, but I've been very happy to be based near Oxford this year.


Not photo-worthy enough to make the blog, but we also enjoyed in May: a half-day boat ride up the Thames from London Westminster to Hampton Court Palace; and an excursion to the racetrack in Warwick to see a steeplechase. I'm going to say I'm not a huge fan of horse racing, but the animals were beautiful and Robin even picked a winner and won a few pounds!


Our next adventures in May will include three days in coastal Exmoor; and a trip to the island of Guernsey! Photos to come - thanks for following!


🇬🇧 💂‍♀️ 🫖




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4 Comments


Guest
5 days ago

You might seek out jobs as British tour guides and bridge partners … I’ve enjoyed especially the ancient sites.

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Guest
May 11

I close my eyes and pretend I'm you. I know I would love this adventure just as you are. What a special time in your young life.

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eileenwynneball
May 10

Loved loved the rush hour video and heading along w/ you on your adventures. So much fun!

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Guest
May 10

Really enjoying reading about your travels

A few years ago we were in Amsterdam. The bicyclists there are unbelievable. They have the right of way over pedestrians, so you 'd better watch out. They go very fast and there are loads of them!

Sue DeGrave

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