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England 2

...............and we're home!

overcast 13 °C
View From Reading to Reality-An Epic Journey on DawnaL's travel map.

Sightseeing with Mike and Mel today. First visit is to Lichfield Cathedral. Amazing edifice to the glory of Christianity right across the street from Charles Darwin's grandfather's home, also a tourist attraction. Location, location, location LOL!
St. Chad Gospels, an eighth century gospel, is on display at this cathedral. The first cathedral on this site was built in 700AD but the present structure was built in 1195. The engineering, the opulence of the interiors of the churches we've seen is amazing. If there truly were a Christian god then Lorri and I would have been struck by lightening many times over for the discussions we've had about power and control by the churches. We are such heathens!
Next stop is Ashby Castle, destroyed in the 17th century by Oliver Cromwell. I found a tunnel leading from the kitchen and followed it before the audio guide I had explained what it was about. I've been going underground and exploring tunnels for a few weeks now so wasn't at all afraid of the dark (yah, right!). The tunnel was quite long and twisty. At one point you could hear water running somewhere above your head. The audio commentary was really well done. Sounded like a couple of characters from Monty Python. You could easily spend several hours just sitting, listening and imagining what it must have been like in the 14th century. Exit through the gift shop, of course, but they had a surprise. English Heritage wine sampling! We had to try them all. Best one is the Traditional Mead followed a close second by the Ginger Wine. If I hadn't already purchased 3 bottles, yes, that's THREE bottles of whisky, I'd have liked to bring back one of each of those wines too. LCBO allows you to import up to a case of liquor or wine. You only have to pay 59.9% of the purchase price AGAIN plus HST. I showed a teensy bit of restraint this time.
Back to Mike and Melanie's. Lorri is going to give Mike a lesson on dog clipping so that Oak never again gets so matted. I am going to start repacking. Have to make room for those 3 bottles of whisky. To make it simpler I emptied out both packs and started from scratch. Turns out I have room to spare. Dang, could have bought that wine after all!
Packing all done and it's time for a wee whisky tasting. Mike has quite the selection. Royal Lochnagar is pretty yummy as is Cardhu. Feeling pretty mellow but have to try the Glenlivet too. Across the street to the Malt Shovel pub for dinner only Steven doesn't cook on Tuesdays. He does lend us his Chinese take-away menus. Delicious! Definitely not North American chicken balls and fried rice. We had crispy duck in miniature tortillas, sweet and sour pork and shrimp puffs. And a ton of other dishes too!
We plan to leave bright and early Wednesday morning and we do. Melanie got up early and cooked bacon! Bacon in the UK is always back bacon. Bacon, marmalade and peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast and we're on the road again. Mike and Melanie very kindly guide us to the main highway. The roads would be tricky but not impossible to follow with a decent map. Ours was sadly lacking in detail. Part of the route to the main highway is across a causeway used by Bonnie Prince Charlie when he invaded England way back when. The Swarkestone Bridge is a heritage road so naturally can't be widened or replaced. Rush hour traffic on a road 600 years old. OMG that is just so cool!
We waved like mad as we passed M&M on the A50 and we're heading for Chester. We should have plenty of time to visit and still get to Glasgow to return the car by 1730.
Chester is still surrounded by the wall the Romans built and is the only town in the world where shops like The Rows exist. We spent about and hour and a half but seriously we could have spent a week and a half there. It's beautiful, it's old, it's quaint and peaceful too. I walked part of The Rows, I walked about a quarter of the wall (the whole wall is about 2 miles around the old town), I sat by the River Dee and watched the ducks and I sat in the Roman amphitheatre and breathed history.
Glasgow here we come. One snack stop and the rest was 75 mph 3-4 lanes each direction. Yeehah! Hertz drove us to our hotel, the lovely Travelodge. Can you hear the sarcasm? I have a Tripadvisor account so check back for that review! Oh well, last night and then we're home. Our plane doesn't leave until 2 but we really don't want to hang around the Travelodge. We're at the airport by 915am. Don't buy coffee at MOSSO, worst ever and that's saying a lot because in the UK they actually like instant. Found the Starbucks and we're good. It'll be so good to be home.
Toronto Airport is the worst! Didn't help matters that the torrential rains they had Friday caused some major leakage in Terminal 3. But throw in a dozen or so different security/handicap helpers who have a dozen or so different ideas about where we need to be and you get the idea. Not to mention that we have been travelling for nearly 20 hours.
Ah, Thunder Bay. Not waiting for assistance in deplaning this time. Lorri is one of the first off and we're home! Yay!
Stay tuned for photos. We only have several hundred to go through. Big grin!

Posted by DawnaL 04:44 Archived in England

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