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Michael’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 30 Sep 2007

Location: All over..., UK

MapThe next morning on the family tour (last Thursday) we headed off early to Glastonbury to continue the tour. The first stop was Glastonbury Tor, the tower from a cathedral that sits on the top of a hill in the middle Glastonbury. As we approached Glastonbury we could see the tower from miles away. We parked the car and caught the shuttle to the bottom of the hill then Dad and I climbed up. It was incredible! There were cows just milling around everywhere at the top of the hill. I hadn't seen anything like it before, and the vantage point from the top of the hill looking out around the country side was awesome too.

Afterwards we headed to the Chalice Well and Gardens, a blatant rip off in an attempt to make money off the mystic region that is Glastonbury. Supposedly the Holy Grail is buried below the well, but more than likely, the person that owns the property likes gardening, and figured selling it as a Holy Grail tour stop will supplement the expense of the gardening. Rip off... As we headed back to town we passed a classic Bansky piece of work, then headed to the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey. Glastonbury Abbey is also the supposed burial site of King Arthur, and the ruins are quite very impressive.

From Glastonbury we headed to Bath for the afternoon. This old Roman town was set up on some natural hot springs hundreds of years ago, after a kings son was exiled from town after developing leprosy. He bathed in the natural hot springs after seeing his pigs scabs heal, and the minerals in the water apparently healed him. He returned to the city, became king after his father's reign, and built a city to honor what the springs did for him. The city is old, been in the hands of many groups of people, including a long reign as a Roman city, and has heaps of history to show for it. The tour of the Roman Baths themselves, with still working plumbing was really good as well. After leaving Bath we drove to Oxford and stayed on the outside of the city.

The next morning we headed into Oxford to look around this famous college city. Oxford College is made up of many different colleges in Oxford, and the one that we toured was the Christ Church College. The building were huge and impressive, and the school was founded in the 1100's. Something like 14 British Prime Ministers have studied at Christ Church. And Lewis Carrol, the pseudonym of a college mathematics professor, wrote the story Alice in Wonderland about the Dean's daughter. The college is packed with references to the story all over the campus. Not only that, the great dining hall was used as a basis for the dining hall in the Harry Potter movies, and parts of the movies themselves was actually filmed on the campus. After finishing the open top bus tour, we headed to the History of Science museum, had a look around, then grabbed a beer before heading to the Cottswold's. We stopped at Bourton-on-the-Water, and it was gorgeous. The creek running through the town, and the old buildings was beautiful. From there we drove to Stratford-Upon-Avon for the evening. Being a Friday night, I decided to head out, but the town was smaller than expected and about the only thing open was the Chicago Rock Bar – yeah, pretty boring, and I wasn't there too long.

The next morning and we got up and did another of the open top bus tour. The town is packed with Shakespeare history, as it was the town that he was born in and grew up as a child until he moved to show his plays in London. We visited his old house and had a look around inside, and it was amazing just how tiny the house was. People we obviously smaller back then. Continuing with the Shakespeare theme, we headed to The Courtyard Theater and saw the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Twelfth Night. As an added bonus, John Lithgow was in the play as the butler – really cool. After the production, we pushed off and drove to Chester where we stayed the night outside of town in a B&B and headed into town to have dinner at an all you can eat Asian buffet – classy! Hahaha.