Somerset, Devon

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Wednesday,  June 21:  We start by renting a car.  Have we mentioned that they drive on the wrong side of the road in England?  Yeah!  This is fun.  The car rental place was pretty much right on a major city street, with not so much as a parking lot to practice in.   Suffice it to say, I think indentations in the shape of Scott's fingers can still be found on that steering wheel.


 The structure underneath the steam room.  Heat from the adjacent furnace room flowed under the stone floor between these supports, which originally held the floor.  Some of a series of smaller indoor pools off the main open pool.
 The main pool in the Roman Baths  


Annyyway.  We headed out early in the morning on our journey to Bath, Stonehenge and points West.  That afternoon, we checked into a terrific Bed and Breakfast run by a couple of wonderful lawyers (we couldn't believe it either).  The first evening we walked around town, visited a glass blower's shop, a museum, and then onto the Roman baths (kind of an 1800 year old spa, kind of amazing).  

 Our table at the B & B The glassblower's shop The cathedral at Bath

And as if that weren't cool enough, on the recommendation of our host, we embarked on the Bath Bizarre Tour.  This was incredibly hilarious and nutso.  Little to no history, a lot of performance art, magic, comedy, and bizarre stunts.  If you're ever in Bath, don't miss this.


 Our bizarre tour guide

 Scott finds a friend (awwww)


An example of the bizarre tour fare:  About 2/3 of the way along, our guide leads us along a narrow walkway atop a 20' wall leading down to the river.  He introduces us to his friend, Houdini the Rabbit (a large stuffed bunny), and commences to describe Houdini's escape trick.  He then ties and chains up the rabbit, places it into a sack, weighted the sack down with iron weights, and lunged it into the river.  After a harrowing minute or so, much to everyone's shock, a large boil appeared on the surface of the water, followed by, you guessed it, the rabbit.  As we all stood awed at this accomplishment, the soaked animal drifted down the river.  But little did we know, that was only part one of the stunt.  Stay tuned...

The next day we headed cross country to visit ancient ruins and cree-eepy witchy stuff.  (These structures make the Roman baths look like modern architecture)

 A view of 4000 yr old Stonehenge

 Mile wide stone circle at Avebury  The Stonehenge arches


 The Tomb  The path
From Stonehenge, we traveled to Avebury, where we climbed up a long muddy path through a drizzly meadow to an ancient burial site.  The field sported a massive crop carving for Summer solstice.  Inside the tomb, we saw burial room and a couple of real life worshippers.  Of what, we didn't ask.
The Crypt

From the Bath/Stonehenge area (Somerset county), we headed west toward Devon.  Jumping into our micro car, we trekked across bucolic scenes and placid lakes, landing, finally, at Dunster Castle.
 The (so called) car The landscape The swans (ahhhhh)
 A little hamlet along the way  Main St, Dunster Dunster Castle
Dunster (town and castle) was just cute as could be.  On the quaint main street we stopped for Cornwall clotted cream and high tea.  Yum!  No extra calories there.  Then we hiked up to the castle for a look around.

Then it was off to the Moores and the northern coast of Devon.  Check out those hedges!  The road was about 1 and 1/2 lanes wide, which made it interesting when a tour bus roared by.  The Moores (a huge wilderness almost entirely devoid of trees) were crawling with sheep, often blocking the road.

 If there's a bustle in your hedgerow... Our dwarf car dwarfed by the vista Bahhhhhh
In Devon we stayed in a charming B & B on a little farm, where we met some bona fide Brits on vacation.  As we drove about the coast, we some poor waterless boats (tide was out) and some gorgeous little villages.
Breakfast in Devon  Here water, water, water, water.... Looks like my house
Finally, on the strong urging of our host, we visited a little thatched roof village built, oh, around 50 years before Columbus sailed for America.  And Scott thought his house in Wake Forest was old!
 These homes predate Columbus' voyage, and are still used. 


On Saturday, on our way to back to the London airport, we stopped in Windsor to say "Ta ta" to the queen.


Still wondering about the rest of Houdini bunnies feat?  Well, at the end of the tour, our guide performed a trick in which he borrowed a ring from someone in the audience, tied it up in tissue, and tied it to a balloon.  As he went to hand the balloon to a little girl, it "slipped", sending the balloon into orbit high above the spires of the Cathedral.  After a minute of apologetic groveling by our guide, we hear this motor off in the distance.  Suddenly, from around a corner about a block away, comes the fluffy dry Rabbit driving a remote controlled race car at about 25 miles an hour.  He pulls up beside our guest, holding in his hand a gift wrapped box containing the ring.

London Somerset, Devon Paris Normandy

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