Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Woke up at 7:30AM. The sun is out. Even with the shades in our room drawn, you can tell that the sun is out! From the window of our room, people are walking their dogs and sheep are on the hills. Eric tells us we can expect good weather for the next couple of days.
Breakfast was very good! The bacon is especially luscious! Normally I try to stay away from animal products but they have such unparalleled flavor here – I don’t know why but I am happy about it!
My DH is feeling better for a couple of reasons. First, he is feeling better now that his cold has subsided a bit. Also, he is feeling better about driving the car. Practice makes perfect! The car is a Peugeot 107 – small motor and a stiff gear box. It drives great on city streets, not so great on steep hills – we will avoid them from now on… if at all possible.
Today we visited the following villages in the eastern region of the Cotswolds:
Chipping Campden: Called a “taste of Olde Cotswold England”, this village really is a step into time. Old yellow Cotswold stone is everywhere! Little stores are tucked into the stone like caves.
Moreton-in-Marsh: One of a few Cotswolds’ villages with a train station. We almost stayed here before we decided to rent a car. I forgot my camera in the car so I apologize that I don’t have any pictures to show you (refer to link for website). However, this villiage has a number of great art galleries!
Stow-on-the-Wold: Our favorite villiage of the day. This is a market town where sheep were sold. The building are so old they are sagging under the weight of their years. We had tea at Tilly’s on the main square. We took one of the Rick Steves’ walking tours of the town and came across Fleece Alley. This is part of a larger system for counting sheep. The alleys are so narrow only one sheep can pass at a time, thus making it easier to count the sheep that pass into the market gates. This was my DH’s favorite find of the day!
Upper and Lower Slaughter: The name of the villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter stems from the Old English name for a wet land ‘slough’ or “muddy place”. This quaint village sits beside the little Eye stream and has a number of unspoiled limestone cottages in the traditional Cotswold style. A fast moving stream connects both villages. A number of low stone bridges make getting around easy. It was a popular place and we had trouble finding a place to park. We found a parking spot outside of the village of Lower Slaughter which gave us a chance to walk on the famous Cotswolds’ public footpaths. There are maps available but we didn’t have one. No problem, the paths are pretty obvious.
Bourton-on-the-Water: From the website, “Regularly voted one of the prettiest villages in England, Bourton-on-the-Water has more than its share of Cotswold houses and cottages, many of them three hundred years old, some dating back to Elizabethan times four hundred years ago.” What more can I say? We were fortunate in that we arrived late enough in the day to have missed all the Japanese tour buses. We had dinner at the Rose Tree Restaurant right off the major waterway that runs through the town. We enjoyed that last couple of hours of sunshine and some great British grub – I had the classic Fish Pie and my DH opted of the healthier Sea Bass with salad – he is very smug about that.
All of these villages are within a few miles of each other so we did not spend a lot of time driving. Unfortunately, everywhere you go, every turn you make, there is yet another gorgeous vista of hills, fields, and pastures of sheep, cows, and horses! It is all so prefect, I need to be slapped!
We made it back to the hotel before it began to rain – hard!