Saturday, May 24, 2008
May 24th - Cotswolds
We landed in London at 7am and rented a van/bus to take us through the countryside from London to the Cotswolds.
Doran was driving and he is quite the trooper. First of all, this van is a giant vehicle. Second, it's England and everything is on the opposite side. Third, it was raining pretty hard that first day, and fourth, Beverly isn't great at reading maps "bless her heart!"
I'm sure Doran was pretty frustrated and tense those first few hours, but he never really let it show. We had to turn around no less than four times because we had missed our turn or gone down a road that didn't lead out.
It is terribly hard to turn a 15 passenger van around in a road meant for a horse and buggy.
We stopped for lunch at Burford. It looks like something right out of Disneyland but older and real.
There was this old cathedral in the town. Built in 1170. We wandered around it and the vedger (not vicar) came out and decided to give us a spur of the moment tour and tell us all about the history of the place.
Like nearly all European churches, people are buried into the floors of the church and some had interesting tombstone headings.
"We ate lunch at a tiny little restaurant named 'The Priory'. This was our first official meal in the UK, and my first true taste of culture shock. The restaurant housed no more than five tables, each table only holding up to four people. All of this was snugly placed into an area the size of a living room. This, I imagine, was to be expected from a small eatery in the heart of a quaint village. However, after eating, my mother came to our table (we sat separately) and told us to use the restroom before leaving. Not an odd request, considering the drive awaiting us. But then she told us her reasoning. "You have to pay to use the restroom here." Now, this is something you hear about from other people, scoff at, and forget. Bathrooms are few and far between in the UK, and the ones that exist require payment of some sort. We had patronized the eatery, so toilets were free in this case. But this culture shock hits the hardest when you're scrambling for a spare pound while doing the 'pee-pee dance'. And on a complete side note, the water pressure of the toilets there is tremendous; you could easily flush a friggin' phone book. Seriously - it's almost scary."
By late afternoon we had traveled to Burton on the Water. This is an adorable little town with stone bridges over the 'river' that runs through the center of town. Though the river was only a foot deep. There were shops and pubs all along either side of the river.
We stayed at this pub called the Mouse Trap Inn. Apparently Agatha Cristie had stayed there and written a novel about it, though none of us had ever read it.
Our room was upstairs and down a narrow hallway. (These stairs Beverly would fall down and break two ribs on the next day, but we didn't know they were broken until we got home)