Monday, June 18, 2012 (Day 12)
Awake at 7:30AM today. The sun is shining.
Ate breakfast at 8AM. We are getting fueled up for our next adventure – a bus ride to Glasonbury and Wells, just southwest of Bath.
Bath is a small town. You can see pretty much all of it in a couple of days so an opportunity to get out and see the country was appealing to us. Why these two towns? They were recommended in Rick Stevens guidebook for England. Yep, we use guide books and Rick Steves’s are pretty good. We only bought one book for the Kindle so far, and this was it.
We caught the bus at the Bath Bus Station. A bus leaves for Wells (and on to Glasonbury) every half hour. We were on our way to Well at 10:10AM. It is an hour and a half trip to Wells, another 17 minutes to Glasonbury. Buses leave on time here.
The countryside is lovely. We saw green landscapes of rolling farmland with serene cows and sheep. The little towns we passed through are filled with stone houses, narrow streets, and gothic shops with names like “The Chemist”.
About two hours later, we got off at Glastonbury, sort of. Being unfamiliar with using public buses (we are from California for petes sake), we had forgotten to ask which stop in Glastonbury we should hop off at. When it became apparent that we were leaving the small town of Glastonbury for more farm land, we took the next stop at a lonely little sign post in the country. You could say we made a disastrous mistake but I beg to differ. It was only a 10 minute walk back to the Glastonbury city center and without the walk, we would have never had a chance to say “hello” to these sheep.
Glastonbury is known for its abbey where King Arthur and Queen Guinevere are buried. That’s right; this is the land to King Arthur and his Knights of the Round table. The story has morphed into fantastic fairy tale but who cares really? The remains of the abbey where King Arthur held court are the most romantic ruins I’ve seen yet with its high and gentle arches. This abbey was sacked by King Henry VIII during the Reformation for its lead and gold. Later, he had it burned just to show the monks who was boss (I don’t think I like this guy, I am glad he is not family after all). After hundreds of years of more neglect, here is all that remains – fragments, a ghost of a genteel kingdom.
We had lunch at a little diner called Hundred Monkeys. We shared a huge plate of penne pasta in a basil and walnut pesto – yummy! The town of Glastonbury is small and dotted with new-age stores hidden inside tutor-style buildings. Charming!
We caught a bus back to Wells, a larger town known for its church. Yep – another cathedral, but what a cathedral!!! The Wells Cathedral is knows as one of the most beautiful in Europe — it is certainly grand! Here are a couple of pictures but look at the website to see its the odd staircase, the clock, and the wonderous stained glass windows.
We made it back into Bath around 7:00PM. The bus ride was very pleasant and a great change of pace for us. Aside from a few gloomy clouds, it was sunny and warm all day! We spent the rest of the evening at the hotel checking emails, blogging, and eating McVittie biscuits. Tomorrow will be our last great breakfast here at The Kennard. Tomorrow we are traveling the Cotswolds region to the north. We are renting a car.