After dining last night at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant (the guy from Hell’s Kitchen, the reality show), we didn’t get back to the hotel until after 2 am (we’re five hours ahead of the STates, if you’re keeping track). We were in bed right before 3, and the tour bus came to pick us up at 7:45 this morning! With our 7:15 wake up call, that was, oh, about 4 HOURS OF SLEEP!!!
We all piled on the crowded tour bus, barely awake, and snoozed most of the way to our first destination…Warwick Castle, up in the Cotswalds area of England. It rocked! This castle has been in several movies, including that Kevin Costner debacle, Prince of Thieves, and the classic Errol Flynn ROBIN HOOD. The orginal Guy of Warwick was supposed to have been a giant, basically, and fought dragons, monsters, etc. His descendants built this castle (or he did…I’m a bit confused). It was kept in the family for centuries, they were relatives of England’s royalty, and many of their Kings and Queens stayed here. At least that’s what I gathered from the tour.
One of the most fascinating things there, and THE CREEPIEST thing we’ve seen so far, was the dungeon here. Yikes. More on that later!
Next, we piled on the bus and went to a local pub for lunch (pubs are the only restaurants around). It was so old, and it’s ceilings so low, I just about had to bend down to walk through it.
All of this was in the Cotswalds area, an area of England that used to produce wool. When the Industrial revolution hit, and cotton overtook wool in popularity, the Cotswalds plunged into financial despair, becoming virtually ghost towns overnight, with the people moving away in droves. But the result was now these towns exist very much like they did hundreds of years ago.
It’s almost like they’re in a time warp. I had never heard of the area, and so wasn’t really jazzed to go see it, but now I’m so glad we did.
Next we went to Stratford upon Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. I never cared for Shakespeare’s work, personally (or Francis Bacon’s work, depending on the story you believe), but seeing the house with it’s incredible gardens (where the kissing pic was taken), was really incredible. And the village itself was really picturesque.
To be continued…..