So as you could tell from yesterday's post, we went to Stonehenge in the morning. We vacated the hotel at 8:45 with our bags all packed up again, then Carl drove us to Salisbury. Based upon the description that Judi had give me of her last time at Stonehenge, I wasn't expecting much. But since her last visit, they've really done a lot to let visitors see the stone circle and still keep it protected. The day was breezy and chilly, but those ancient stones were pretty darn nifty!
We then headed on to Bath, a city I have visited before. We got right into the Roman Baths and explored there. I think that has updated some since my last visit - or I just am remembering poorly. Mom and Amy and I then got lunch at The Trinity Pub. I had a steak and ale pie, Amy had fish & chips, and mom had the vegetarian pie (with a curry flavor). It was all tasty and we were the only tourists there.
Back on the road again, we headed on to Exeter to the Mercure Southgate. Earlier in the day, James (our tour guide) had given us name badges, but he took them back before we left the coach. Then at the bar in the hotel (after we'd refreshed a bit), he gave us someone else's badge and we had to find our own. It was a simple and fun way to meet the others on our tour. When we sat for dinner, Natashia joined us. I had the courgette & thyme soup for starter, baked cod with hollandaise and mashed potatoes (with mustard seed), and maple syrup panna cotta. It was all very lovely. (And I liked the unintended symmetry when I got fish, Amy got curry, and mom got a steak-based meal. Like we rotated from lunch.)
Today we got a slightly later start, which was nice. The Mercure had a full English buffet and it was yummy too. Then we headed out to Plymouth. We had opted to do the boat ride excursion, so we got to travel along the quay and up the river while our captain told us lots of historical facts. He then showed us the Mayflower steps where the pilgrims heading for The New World left by. Then we got back in the bus where we road the ferry across to Cornwall to visit the fishing village of Polperro.
Polperro is a quintessential fishing village. Tiny narrow roads, loads of holiday homes, cute shops, pubs, and lots of Cornish pasties and ice cream. I did not wind up having a Cornish pasty in Cornwall, alas. But we had a wonderful lunch at The Blue Peter at the recomendation of our tour guide, who ate with us. We shared the seafood platter and an order of fish & chips. The crab, shrimp scampi, calamari, scallops, fish & chips were all yummy. Mom and I had scrumpy, which was deceptively mild and tasty.
We popped into a shop on our way back to the coach and I bought a box of shortbread made with clotted cream. And then mom and I got some Cornwall ice cream. Dang, but that's good stuff! (I've had friends tell me that before but this is the first I've gotten to try it.) Stuffed to the gills, we returned to the coach.
Carl drove us to Buckfast Abbey next. We had 2 hours there to enjoy the grounds and take advantage of the gift shop. Amy got print-outs on the Shorts and the Andersons which will be interesting to read through. I got some pens and nibs. Mom got a cute sweatshirt with sheeps on it. The grounds had 3 gardens in it, including a lavender garden that looked and smelled lovely. The church was beautiful and an organist was practicing while we were there. It was a very relaxed couple of hours.
We took the scenic route back to Exeter, with Carl moving through winding roads that were almost too narrow for a bus. The Dartmoor lands are gorgeous. I'm glad we went the scenic route (and I didn't have to watch the people passing us!)
Mom, Amy and I had also opted into the dinner in Kenn. We went to an old pub (built in the 13th century) called The Ley Arms. Knowing full well that we'd picked Fish & Chips for our supper, mom and I still had seafood for lunch. Heh. I also chose the soup (not specified when I picked it) and the sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream. The soup was potato leek, and it was lovely. The fish & chips were also tasty and I discovered that if you put mint into mushy peas, I like 'em! Who knew? I had a Thatcher's cider and the whole meal was lovely. Plust we got to talk to several other folks from the tour.
After dinner, we walked to the church, which was almost as old as the pub (well, the workmen had to stay SOMEWHERE while the church was being built). The church's caretaker gave us lots of history about the building. It had 14th and 19th century stained glass, an 11th century font, and 16th century thingummy... term is lost. But it was all in very nice condition - well loved and cared for,
Once we'd gotten back to our rooms, we started preparing for tomorrow. And Amy called dad so we could wish him Happy Father's Day. But whoops, thats next week! And then the fire alarm sounded! So we stood in disbelief, then sort of got ourselves ready to evacuate. And it went off. Then back on. The gentleman across the hall was wheelchair-bound, so we said we would find a way to help him down stairs. But on our way out the nearest exit, a hotel employee assured us and a few others who'd gathered, that it was a false alarm. Phew!
So we phoned dad to reassure him that we were fine. And now everyone's asleep except me! good night!