Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday - Salisbury Cathedral & Ride Upon Avon

We awake at 7. The stay at the Hostel includes a “proper English breakfast: Scrambled eggs, sausages, potato cakes, Canadian bacon, grilled tomatoes and baked beans. I partake of all save the beans.

With our bikes ready to go, we set out for Halfords, a small store nearby to gather more chotchkis. Then a ride through a park area that ends up at Salisbury Cathedral.

An incredible structure, even without considering that it was built on the ground without a foundation. It was built in 1250 and its spire is the tallest in all of England.

The inside is truly magnificent, with engraved stones in the floor, hand carved stone and wood everywhere, painted ceilings, stained glass windows, and an organ with pipes on either side of the church. It is the second oldest organ in England.

Salisbury was one of the areas that was designated to have one of the copies of the Magna Carta made for all to see across the English country, Hence, there is a museum for it with many writings and translations of the document. One of those original documents is on display (no photos please). It is quite awesome to be able to see an actual part of history from 750 years ago.

After visiting the cathedral, it's off to the dollar store for more chotchkis ands supplies. They call it “Pound Land” and everything is one English pound, about $1.50 American. For some time now, both Cookie and I have been looking at small, lightweight, portable, three-legged camping stools. REI has some, but they have always seemed a bit expensive. Pound Land had them in the outdoor & garden section. We each bought one!

Lunch at the Kings Head Inn, a local pub/restaurant that has free Internet. Cookie has a veggie-burger, I try the English beef berger. I guess I should have asked for it rare. I didn't, and it was quite dead, so I really can't tell you how English Beef tastes.
After lunch, we ride!

Cookie takes me on a 15 mile trek, halfway to Amesbury and back, along the Avon river for about two hours. Two excruciating hours of downhill and up. It seemed to me that for each downhill run there were two or three uphill! And up... and up... and up! Good thing I have a granny gear on my bike... designed just for that, allowing grannies (and me) to peddle uphill. I am peddling and going so slow, that it is difficult to keep the bike straight. I push through the pain and get to the top of the hills, all of them. I fear tomorrow my body will be hurting!

The group of school children are still here and would love to hear another story before they pop off to bed. I tell them of Zephir's Heroic Vacation, one of the Babar stories. I loved them as I was growing up, and this one was my favorite. Interestingly enough, many of the children are familiar with Babar, and Linda, the teacher-in-charge read them as she was growing up too. Once again, they listen attentively. There is small boy with curly hair that is a dead ringer for The Little Prince. Quite adorable.

I tell them that my mate and I are leaving tomorrow to bike north of here and do some camping. A disappointed, “Ohhhh...” comes from the group. It is a heartwarming sound to me.

Well, it's off to Morpheus for myself too as the day has been somewhat long and the ride arduous. I am hoping to get my “land legs” back soon!

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