UK & Ireland, Day 3: King Arthur, Bath Water, & Shakespeare's Birthplace

Friday, 5/27/16

Our morning began with a satisfying full English breakfast at our B&B. I guess it wasn't technically 'full' because it didn't have baked beans, but we did have eggs, hash browns, [veggie] sausage, tomato, and mushrooms. We were served french press coffee, and we were introduced to a toast rack for the first time.  Apparently, this is a popular way they serve toast in the UK.
Our first stop of the day was Glastonbury Abbey, the ruins of a monastery originally founded in the 7th century. The Glastonbury area is associated with the legend of King Arthur, and it is rumored that King Arthur was originally buried there.
On to Bath, which turned out to be a more sizable city than we had anticipated, which contributed to us quickly becoming very, very lost. At this point, we had to make the tough decision to turn on the data on Francisco's phone. This would cost us $10 a day, but we could pay this relatively small amount or waste countless hours being lost and constantly being behind on our itinerary.  We immediately liked the city so much more once we were un-lost and had found somewhere to leave the car, which, in retrospect, probably wasn't a legal parking spot, but, oh, well.
Our first stop was the Roman Baths, a well-preserved Roman site for public bathing.
We were able to sample the Bath water in the Pump Room Restaurant. This mineral water was warm, and unsurprisingly, not very tasty!
The place I was perhaps most excited to visit today was Sally Lunn's Historic Eating House, a world famous tea and eating house and one of the oldest houses in Bath.
I was so excited to try the Sally Lunn Bun, the original Bath Bun, which is part bun, part bread, part cake. The bun was very large, but light. I ordered the World Famous Sally Lunn Cream Tea, which comes with half a toasted and buttered Sally Lunn Bun served with Strawberry Jam and clotted cream. This was my first - and only - time having tea in England. It wasn't half-bad - although a lot of sugar cubes did end up in my cup! :) Francisco went with a savory option, and he was going to get the Roast Vegetable, but they were out of the ingredients. He got the Creamy Brie instead, which leans sweet after all since it's served with cranberry sauce.  The food here was delicious!
We stopped at Marks & Spencer, a major British multinational retailer. It sells everything from clothing to home products to luxury food products - we grabbed some snacks like these tasty Rocky Road bars. I don't even remember how I knew about this store - maybe from all the British teen magazines I used to read back in the day? - but I was so excited to get to go here for the first time.
Our drive out of Bath and on through the Cotswolds took us through many roads that looked like this. Roads that were not quite big enough for two cars to efficiently pass each other.
We stopped at Avebury Stone Circle, which was all but overrun with sheep in some spots, lol. This is one of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain, and it contains the largest stone circle in Europe.
We had heard that the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, a rural area of south central England, were a great area of the country to get lost in. We'd already spent enough time on this trip being lost, so we had picked the specific location of Bourton-on-the-Water to visit. This village has been described as the 'Little Venice' of the Cotswolds and is one of the most popular tourist spots in the region.  We went to The Model Village, a one-ninth replica of the village, containing all the buildings from the Old Water Mill to the Old New Inn.
We wandered through the mini village, feeling like giants. There were even mini villages inside the mini village, like below, lol!
Onward through the countryside!
We checked in to the King's Court Hotel, which was about 20 minutes outside of Stratford-upon-Avon.
We knew we weren't going to have much time in this town that's well-known for being the birthplace of Shakespeare, so we headed into town to at least see his birthplace.
Parking was proving to be an issue to get to any decent restaurant, and we were really just looking for something quick, so we found a McDonald's and tried out the Marmite chips we'd picked up at Tesco [bad, very bad]. McDonald's, however, was tasty. The UK menu features a Vegetable Deluxe hamburger - it definitely tastes like Indian food! Along with fries, we also had a Cadbury McFlurry.


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