A Travellerspoint blog

Winchester and the Great Hall

The treason trial of Sir Walter Raleigh in the Great Hall

sunny 45 °F
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It was the performance going tonight that brought us to Winchester. When we decided on London and the concerts we wanted to see we also checked out the Globe. We’d had such a great time at the Globe that we wanted to see another performance, even though we knew that we’d be at the indoor theater. I found a performance of the “Treason Trial of Sir Walter Raleigh” at the original 800-year-old Great Hall and bought tickets.

It was later that we discovered the performance was in Winchester. Our first reaction was, “where is Winchester?” We pulled out the map, found Winchester and then places nearby to visit. Hence the trip to Winchester.

We hoped to visit the Great Hall before the performance but, after a walk up to the Hall, we found it was closed. We’d forgotten that there was to be an afternoon performance as well. We walked around the hall area, looking at the remains of the Winchester Castle, a favorite place of King Henry Vll and the place where his son Arthur was born. The hall is all that remains standing.

There were a few items we wanted to buy for grandkids so found the bookstore and then went on down to the markets by the Cathedral. This time we walked thru the entire Christmas Market buying hot roasted chestnuts and mulled wine.

We stopped for dinner at Cote Basserie, the place recommended by the Visitor’s center. This restaurant has an extensive gluten-free menu. Both Dale and I ordered off this menu so that we could split the meals, Beef Bourguignon and Cassoulet. I was so stuffed after such a hearty meal but knew it would last for the cold evening.
The Great Hall, built in the 1200’s, was the site of the Treason Trial and many other trials. It also is the location of King Arthurs Round Table. The original trial took place about 415 years ago.
The trial was set up more modernly, actors wearing modern day clothing and there was the use of electric lights, but they used the transcripts from the original trial. The actor who played Sir Walter Raleigh looked like the picture of Raleigh and was very convincing.
There was no heat in the building so we were given red blankets to cover with. But, we were completely spellbound during the proceedings, the 2-hours passed by so quickly.

A side note; the couple seated next to us asked where we were from, our accents seem to give us away. They also asked where else we would be traveling. When we mentioned that we were avid Downton Abbey fans and going to visit Highclere they were so excited. The woman said that she’d taken tours to Highclere for afternoon tea in the past. We showed them some of our photos of our Dowton dinners and they appeared to be impressed.

After the performance, we went back to Cote Basserie, only a 5 minute walk. The staff was expecting us. We finished the evening with a French version of Irish Coffee and a small Chocolate Pot.
Stuffed and happy we went back to the hotel to get ready for another day.

Posted by Miss Chris 02:15 Archived in England Tagged winchester walking travel sir_walter_raleigh international_travel great_hall Comments (0)

Day 1 in Winchester

Exploring Winchester

overcast 45 °F
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The plane ride was good, a picnic with complimentary wine and cheese and crackers that I’d brought were a great way to start the flight.
After customs, we found the location of our bus ride to Winchester then found some Italian coffee to pass the 3 hours we had to wait. The bus ride would have been interesting if we would not have kept falling asleep.

We arrived in downtown Winchester, hopped into a cab and went to our hotel. We wanted to go to dinner in downtown Winchester but couldn’t find the wherewithal to leave so ate at the hotel restaurant. This was actually a good choice as the food was good and gluten-free.

The buffet breakfast had lots of choices so we could fill up on food that would last for several hours. We then hopped the city bus just outside of the hotel on the main road and went into the town.

We didn’t have a plan for today, just go to the Visitor’s Center again, and then go to the Winchester Cathedral. After that, we wanted to see the Great Hall if we had time or walk around the Christmas market or go where the spirit moved.
We went to Winchester and found the Cathedral and found a tour guide, this is free with an entry ticket. Our guide was actually from the states but has lived in the UK for many years. She gave us a great introduction to the site. After the hour+ tour, we went back and looked at 1 part of an original bible. The book was of interest to us because of its age.


I wanted to see Jane Austen’s memorial and burial site. I have loved Jane Austen for many years and have read and reread her books.
Having spent several hours at the Cathedral we were getting hungry. The guides had told us about a pub that they thought was great so we tried to find it. Instead, we got lost and ended back at the Visitor’s Center. I’m suspecting that they were getting tired of our questions, but they gave us another map with the location of the pub circled on it. The person helping also has Celiac and she located safe restaurants on the map for us.

We started walking but were distracted by a farmers market, then saw a grocery store and remembered that we had forgotten a corkscrew for the wine we brought. While we were in the store we remembered that we also wanted to buy more wine. Well no corkscrew or decent wine, but they directed us across the street. And by then we remembered that we also needed a 3-prong adaptor to charge my laptop.

We went across the street but didn’t find any decent wine or any corkscrews. And after searching at yet another store thought that we’d look for the adaptor. That was yet another runaround but finally found both a corkscrew and adaptor.

Finally, we found the restaurant we’d been looking for only to find that there wouldn’t be a table free for the evening. We went out of the restaurant but didn’t know where to go, we hadn’t eaten since breakfast and I wasn’t doing well at all. A man stopped and asked if we were lost and I answered that we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, we couldn’t eat at the place recommended and we had no idea where we needed to go. He pointed out a street with lots of restaurants (one recommended by the visitors center earlier but we’d forgotten). We went up the street and popped into a pub.
I ordered food at the bar only to find that we needed a table number (I forgot all about that) so we had to cancel the order and find a table in the very full pub. We found us a table, ordered our food which turned out to be very good and very inexpensive.

We finished up at the pub and got back to Winchester Cathedral in time for Evensong. We like these services as there is music in these wonderful cathedrals for no charge.
After the service, we were freezing cold (it was cold all day) so we had another cup of mulled wine then ran to catch our bus. Alas, we’d missed it and the next bus wasn’t going to arrive for another 40 min. We found another pub and had a “spot of tea”.

Finally, after a long day of running around, we made it back to our room. After some wine and cheese, we were done.

Tomorrow is another day!

Posted by Miss Chris 02:52 Archived in England Tagged winchester walking travel winchester_cathedral international_travel Comments (0)

Trying To Get To London

Adventures before we could even catch our plane

sunny 70 °F
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Last year, while working in Florida, we had a family emergency and bought plane tickets to fly home and back. As it turned out, we had to drive home to work the fires in Northern California, so did not use the tickets. We canceled our flight and thought we’d use the tickets at a later date, if possible.

Our time was running out, to use the tickets so we looked for concerts we might like to attend. We found that there were several concerts in London, so we booked our tickets around the concerts. And for the same price, we booked our round trip with one stop.

Our 1st flight was set to depart at 11:50 am giving us 2 hours in San Francisco, where we would board our 3 pm non-stop flight to London. We had 2 passes for the United Club, expiring in 2 days, so I printed the passes and we were feeling quite smug with ourselves.

As we were driving to the airport, about 15 min away, a notification came over my phone that our flight would be delayed until 1:45 which would put us in San Francisco just a few minutes before 3. We drove on to the airport and Dale dropped me off close to the United ticket counter.

No one was at the counter. I ran to the parking lot where Dale was just parking the truck and grabbed my phone. I figured I’d call Customer Service.
On my way back into the terminal I saw 2 United personal walking to the ticket counter. They did not know about the delay until I told them but they proceeded to check us in. They suggested that we get to San Francisco and then see what the options were. We decided to go back home quick, repack a bag that I’d thrown things into, and pick up a couple of items we’d forgotten.

While at home we ate a little, repacked and then thought we’d get back to the airport. It was only 12:30 but I like to have a little extra time when carrying laptops, tablets, and all of the electronics I take.

We got into the airport and as we entered the terminal we heard our names over the loudspeaker. They were paging us to get to the gate. Fortunately, there was only 1 person ahead of us in the security line, and since we have Global Entry we were able to hurry thru.

We ran to the gate and found that the plane was waiting for us. We found our seats and took off for San Francisco. This would give us an extra few minutes to get to our next flight.

Before reaching San Francisco the flight attendant asked where our final destination was and what time the plane would leave. She then took our bags from the overhead bin and placed them in the front seat and she announced that we were to exit first as we had the furthest to go.
We were wearing our trail-runner shoes, so figured that we were ready to at least try to make our flight. We walked as quickly as possible from the domestic terminal to the international making it just as our group was starting to get on the plane.

What a relief to be on the plane! We wouldn’t lose our bus tickets to Winchester or a hotel night already paid for and non-refundable.
And so the next journey begins with an adventure!

Posted by Miss Chris 01:58 Archived in USA Tagged london travel airplane_travel international_travel Comments (0)

Mesa Verde's Long House

A hike into the Long House

sunny 40 °F
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Tuesday morning, we had a fairly early hike, and with the drive up to the Mesa, another 45 minutes, made our departure time even earlier. I was a little concerned that there might be ice on the road as it was only in the 20’s but roads were clear.

For those who haven’t been to Mesa Verde, the mesa drive is so beautiful. There are pull-outs that look over the valley, pull-outs that look over the canyons one each side, and in some stretches, there is a drop off on each side with only the road visible. I found myself looking for ruins in alcoves within the canyon walls.

For this day we had a hike into a site we’d never visited before, “Long House”.

“Long House” is a different hike, 2 hours in total which includes the tour of the site, most other hikes only last 1 hour. The hike itself is easy at first, level and paved, but down into the site, the trail consists of steep switchbacks. It wasn’t so hard that we had to stop too many times on the way out, but, we wished we would have brought water.

The ruins are appropriately named as the alcove is long with the site stretching along further than others do. The ranger led us thru the site walking to the rear to see the seep spring, pointing out where the people collected their water. We reflected on how the community must have interacted at the site, possibly gossiping or exchanging ideas while collecting their water or keeping the chaos of children’s games from muddying their water. Coming out of the site the ranger pointed out a hand print on the top of the alcove.
Going into the sites gives one the sense of going back in time and the rangers are knowledgeable and give us a chance to reflect on those who went before us.
We are looking forward to going back.

Posted by Miss Chris 11:00 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip hiking mesa_verde grandkids grandkids_travel rv_travel grandkids_trip rv_adventures gmc_truck gmc_sierra long_house Comments (0)

A Little Time in Balcony House

A walk into Balcony House in Mesa Verde

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Instead of playing in New Mexico on Sunday morning, we drove off to beat the storm. At least we hoped we were beating it. We wanted to get to Mesa Verde in Colorado where there was no rain in the forecast.

Driving north we always love driving by the “Earthship Homes” in New Mexico and someday we will stop so I can shoot photos of the fun homes. We know we are on the right road when we pass by the homes.

As we started over the pass we discovered that snow had already fallen, fortunately, the roads were not slick. It did snow for a bit while driving but mostly we left it behind after the pass. We did see so many beautiful trees in full fall colors and I was having Dale stop every few minutes so I could shoot more photos. He probably thought we would never get going.
We got into Mesa Verde after dark, and it was really dark. If our truck lights had gone out we would have been goners as part of the road is on a steep hillside. This must be one of the darkest places on earth. We found the campground and backed into our site, hooking up to electricity. We were so happy for electricity as it was below freezing and the heater quickly made our RV warm and toasty.

I had looked online earlier and found that only 2 tours into ruins were available and that this was the last week of the tours for the year. We couldn’t buy tickets online but rather had to go to the Visitors Center to purchase them.

First thing Monday morning we drove down to the Visitors Center, got a Jr. Ranger book for Zaya and tickets for the 2 hikes available. One hike was for that afternoon and the other for Tuesday morning.

Monday’s hike was for Balcony House. I was looking forward to this hike as we go thru a tunnel that was used by the Ancestral Pueblo people. Kids could stand up in part of the tunnel but most of us were forced to crawl. This is also a great site as we could walk in areas where they walked and worked. https://www.mesaverde.org/files/uploaded-images/2013BalconyHs_English.pdf
I had taken photos years ago in Balcony House but lost the negatives and gave the original photos away as a gift so I was so happy to be able to shoot photos again. I didn’t take the tripod but did carry my big camera for better photos.

Zaya was a little concerned about climbing the 30’ high ladder but after doing so wasn’t afraid at all for the others. But I was just a little worried when she was scrambling up the toe-holds etched into the cliff to the exit. She had to stretch her legs to get from one hold to another, then stopped and turned around to talk. I told her to keep her eyes on where she was going. I have no idea how I was planning to catch her if she fell and, since I was right behind her, I couldn’t shoot photos of the toe holds but did turn around and shoot one looking down the cliff. YIKES, how the ancients went up and down carrying babies, food or what have you, I have no idea!
Once again, the Jr Ranger program opened up opportunities for Dale and me to learn more. We visited the pit houses on top of the mesa, learning how they were built and how people lived. We noted the foundation walls of a village around the excavated pit homes. As with our other Jr. Ranger events we had to read every word of every sign with Zaya but again learned so much.
As the mesa top is open 24/7 we could take our time with our only worry being to leave by the time we wanted dinner. We were cold and tired when we returned to the RV but so happy with our exciting day.

Posted by Miss Chris 12:52 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip hiking mesa_verde grandkids grandkids_travel rv_travel grandkids_trip rv_adventures gmc_truck gmc_sierra balcony_house Comments (0)

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