Spring Break: Walking in EnglandHiya. Today I rambled in the Cotswolds, fulfilling a lifelong dream. :) Not to ramble in the Cotswolds specifically, but rambling in the English countryside.
Justin and I were pooped from walking all around Cheltenham yesterday--don't know how many miles it was, but we really covered some territory. So we didn't meet for breakfast till nine. We finally headed out and eventually found the tourist info office, bought a trails book, and decided on our plan for the day, which we put into motion about 11:35.
So we headed to the bus stop, stopping quickly at a smashing cafe I wish we'd visited earlier, where a rotund but extremely caring friendly man (must've been the owner) served us up some great egg sandwiches for cheap. This was lunch. I ordered mine with "black pudding"... which I still don't know what it is, but it started as round slices which he put on the griddle with the eggs and meat stuff. So he fried it for a while and then slapped it on my sandwich. The thing it is most like to me is corned beef hash--it was just a little thicker consistency and really dark blackish-maroon.
We ate on the bus on our twenty-minute way to Winchcombe, our destination for the day. When we got there, it was the most perfect little English town--just where I've always wanted so much to go. I was so excited. :) We took lots of pictures of the town and houses. They are so quaint and tidy. We found our walking path then, which headed out from the town through stiles in fences and across fields. The English don't mind people they don't know walking across their fields with their sheep, because the people who come want to be able to use it again and act accordingly, and the owners know the people aren't going to do anything stupid. It was really nice to have that trust going on--it gave us much more freedom than it seems there is in America, at least anymore. People might not have a problem with it, but here there are public walking paths across the fields--it's expected.
Well. It was beautiful. I think it must get warmer more quickly in England than anywhere else, because of all the places we've seen, it's the most springy. The grass was a most intense green--just an explosion of verdure. :) There were some daffodils, and tons of crocus, and some trees had buds. The hills and fields and trees were just like in the pictures. That's the fastest way to explain what it looked like.
So we walked a long time. We walked through a lot of mud (since it IS a public walking path) and wet ground. Sometimes for a while we were on roads, which were between one- and two-lane width, and sometimes a truck or cars came by. At one point, we stopped at a little abandoned shed thing with a dam and shallow pond behind it and lots of snow-drop looking flowers around. Justin accidentally put his hand down on a strange weed that had lots of small prickles on it and they hurt a lot and swelled up slightly in those spots. It eventually went away. We took lots of pictures and walked up hills and by the rare house. Everything around here is built with stone--not just the houses,but even the sheds, barns, and fences.
Justin and I were concerned about the time, because we had to be back in Winchcombe to catch the 5:43 bus back into Cheltenham (the last one). We're not sure how far we went before heading back, but a farmer we talked to said it was about a 4 or 4.5 mile walk back to Winchcombe from where we talked to him, which was our farthest point on the trip. At that point we decided we shouldn't take the time to go see the medieval town (ruins?) that were pretty much in sight, but should just hoof it back for Winchcombe. Instead of retracing our steps, we took a different trail back and then took the road for part of the way. It worked out great and we had time to wander around Winchcombe a little more before catching the bus.
Then Justin and I were pretty hungry, him especially, and we finally settled on a nice looking Indian restaurant. Neither of us had ever eaten Indian before, but also it was the only thing that suited our budget and atmosphere tastes. For being a decent-sized town, Cheltenham really doesn't have too much in mid-range restaurants. There are a bunch of take-out Chinese and pizza places, and a bunch of upscale Thai and Italian restaurants. Oh, and pubs. So we ate there, and really liked it! It was nice. We had good food and talked for a while, before heading back to the hostel, which is actually the Cheltenham YMCA. Now I need to shower and go to bed. Goodnight.