Monthly Archives: June 2016

Cats, Cathedrals and Ciders: The South of England: Day 9

Fri. May 20, 2016:
Bath to Cotswalds

Once again breakfast was included and once again Brent had the full English breakfast, I stole some of his toast to go with my yogurt, granola and fruit. This time though the full English breakfast had blood pudding instead of baked beans. Because we were in a fancy hotel with a no-running-shoes dress code in the dining room we had to get dressed up all fancy- for a complimentary hotel breakfast! Before heading into the dining room we stopped at the car to check what time we had to leave at and whether we would have to rush through breakfast. I was not expecting to see cows on the other side of the fence, past the field near the parking lot (the supposed helipad). Therefore we would indeed have to hurry through breakfast so we could pack up and I could take pictures of the cows before they left. The blood pudding was ok, I just could not get past the weird texture- it was lumpy and grainy, I had been expecting something more like a pâté. So far this place had the best granola and the best breakfast sausage. The in-house-made danish was amazing. It was so delicious, owing to how fresh it was.

On the way down to the car, after packing as fast as I could, I looked out the window to ensure that the cows were still in the field. I slowly crept towards them, there were so many and they were so cute! Half of the front row started staring at me, it felt so good to have so many cows looking at me. Suddenly two of them started head-butting each other for no apparent reason. A third one came over to join in the fray, leaving a gap in the frontline, allowing the second row of cows to see me. They instantly perked up. A cow far off on the left started mooing, causing a wave of moos to pass over the herd. Apparently this was the call to head over to another part of the field. On our way out Brent rolled down the window and slowed down so I could get one last look at the cows.

We were off on a tour of the Cotswalds and the English countryside. Our first stop was Bibury. There were some cute little cottage houses going up a hill near a creek full of baby ducks and some swans. The place was full of tourists, a bus having just arrived. A man tried to take a picture of his (I assume) wife on the bridge over the creek, however a child from the family who had just crossed the bridge stayed behind to ham it up for the camera. The lady leaned in and posed for a photo with this stranger child, cheek to cheek with him. It was too weird and awkward, I had to look away.

We parked on a side street in Burford behind another car, there were enough other cars parked that there that sure it was street parking there. We were down the road from the Lamb Inn. We decided to start with lunch and then walk down the main strip. As was quickly becoming the usual, I had a half pint of cider. Symonds cider was bubbly and slightly sour, not at all like apple juice (therefore good). We were about ready to order when we realized that there was a backside to the menu! We ended up getting a charcuterie board each because on the menu there was the option of serving size for one. We would get to try two different ones. Mine was piled high with meat, Brent’s had some cheeses and a pork pie. The brie was surprisingly good. I had never seen a charcuterie board piled so high with food. On the side were two really thick slices of white bread, making for some colossal sandwiches. This was the first (and probably last) time I was too full to finish a charcuterie board.  “Downtown” Burford had some little cottages and some antique shops. One shop had the most gorgeous leather riding boots I had ever seen.

On the way to Cheltenham (stop #3) we passed a sign warning us of a toad crossing, so weird. Cheltenham was a more developed town, we walked down the main shopping arcade. I popped into H&M, continuing my desperate search for the shirt and coming up empty handed. The weather was awesome, it was warm and the sun was shining. Adding to the awesomeness, the mini Toffee Crisps I had stashed in the car were hitting the spot.

Our second last stop of the tour was in Bourton-On-The-Water. This was the picturesque ideal little village. It had a creek running through the middle of town, with union jack banners strung over top between the trees. I could just imagine a Sunday afternoon rubber duck race on the creek. I was tempted to get ice cream but none of the flavours stood out to me.

Our last stop was in Stow on the Wold but it had been added to the tour later on and we did not have a proper map or address for navigation. Trying to get there, it did not seem like it was 700m away as the GPS insisted. No sooner had I said that, we saw the town sign. We followed a sign for parking but it had lied. We kept going down the one road with no sign of parking, getting further and further from town. Going back the way we came was out of the question, as the whole time we were passing a traffic jam of cars. We turned onto a side street and made our way back in a circle around the traffic, taking a detour and going back to where we had seen the town sign. This time around we drove straight through the intersection and through town. Thankfully there was another parking lot downtown. It was a nice walk, there were beautiful old buildings. We stopped in at a grocery store so I could get my Fanta fix. At the last second I grabbed a Cadbury Crème Egg because apparently in the UK the recipe had recently been changed. It did indeed taste different, much less sweet than usual. It was finally possible to eat it without the horrible too-sweet tooth pain.

We were staying at the Snowshill Bed & Breakfast but it did not have an address. The Google maps directions only gave left & right directions and only one street name. We opened up Google maps on Brent’s work phone as a backup. We eventually found it via road signs. As we pulled into the parking lot I saw two chickens but they immediately ran away as I tried to take their picture. As chickens would, based on the reputation I suppose.

The little B&B was in the heart of the Cotswalds. There was no one at the B&B, we found Brent’s name in a note with the key on the floor in the entrance. There was no in-house restaurant and we had not passed anything on the way in, nothing but farm fields and forests. I was about to start panicking that there was no coffee maker, but I found it in a cupboard. The nearest McDonald’s was a 20 minute drive away and it seemed like our best option for dinner. The nearest grocery store, Tesco was 13 minutes away. The only food we had left was half a pack of Speculoos cookies. We were lucky to at least have wifi, even if it was slow. We immediately headed back out for food and snacks to last us the next two nights at the B&B. We were worried about having to navigate back in the dark.

On the way we passed by Broadway Tower which we would be visiting the next morning. That Tower turned out to be a great navigation tool while we were in the area. On the way to Tesco we saw an Aldi grocery store and went there instead. It was so unbelievably cheap! We got two bags of chips, chocolate covered toffee popcorn and some more Jellie Babies. The McDonalds was in an industrial park like a strip mall. It was incredible how busy it was. The place was packed. Who knew that McDonalds was the place to be on a Friday night? We had to park across the street because the lot was full. I swapped out the drink in the chicken nugget meal for a frozen soda, a genius plan.

Back in the hotel the internet was still really slow. I was legitimately surprised that Netflix had loaded and we actually managed to watch an episode of TV. The Älska Nordic berry cider I had tasted like juice. But then again Aldi had limited selection, so who am I to complain? Once again we were in a hotel room with a heated towel rack. Because we were staying there for two nights I saw the perfect opportunity to do some sink-laundry, with the perfect place to hang it to dry. It was a genius idea. One of two that day. I was mildly afraid that my laundry on the towel rack would cause a fire, so I kept the door open to monitor it as I read my book. Apparently we had grabbed a different brand of Jellie Babies and different companies can all claim to produce Jellie Babies candy. The Dominion brand we had now were not nearly as good as the ones we were used to, the centre was not as chewy. I couldn’t find the toffee popcorn and I was worried it had fallen out of the bag and was in the car but I was too tired to go check. The mojito flavoured kettle cooked chips were weird… but exactly what was to be expected.


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Cats, Cathedrals and Ciders: The South of England: Day 8

Thurs. May 19, 2016:

It was so hot in our room, I barely slept all night. We saw the fellow Canadians from the day before at breakfast. We had seen them checking in the day before. We both had almost the exact same breakfast as last time: Brent with the full English breakfast, me with the fruit, yogurt, granola and strawberry jam toast. But this time around the bacon was way better and the beans were optional.

Apparently at our afternoon tea the dress code specifically said no jeans, therefore we would have to be in our dress clothes for the morning. The plan was to visit the Roman Baths and then visit Bath Abbey. There was no way I would survive in my heels. I really did not want to have to carry them around in my bag all day, but I did not want to risk not being able to find a crappy pair of sandals at Primark or H&M. The idea of showing up to afternoon tea in my running shoes was too much, I packed my heels and lugged them around. At first I was wary of being seen in public in a black maxi skirt with a dressy top and running shoes, but I quickly forgot, I was so comfortable.

We started at the Roman Baths because we figured that was the more popular of the two attractions and it was only going to get busier throughout the day. We got there just after 10:30am and already there was a huge crowd. Oh no, I thought, we will have to wait forever to get in! Luckily It was just a tour group amassing outside. It was still really busy inside. More than once we found ourselves in a human traffic jam, barely able to see the exhibition cases. The audio tour guide was partly to blame. A mass of people would be walking and then suddenly everyone would halt. I did not really see the point of the audio tour guide, all the info was right there on the panels. From what I could hear (there was one lady who did not have headphones) it was a narrative presentation, with fake actors. It was so cool to see that the mineral and hot springs were still active, the surface of the water periodically broken by bubbles. Some of the original stonework was also preserved and the stuff that had been thrown into the spring was presented in cases. The coins were kind of neat. But the real interesting display was about the notes written to the gods. There were some hilarious complaints of thefts and insults carved on pewter. At the end of the self-guided tour we got to try some of the mineral water. It was awful. It was warm, slightly salty and metal-y with a sulfur end note.

Bath Abbey was not as cool to see. It was rather ordinary and nothing really stood out. I had to wait for communion service to finish before being able to take pictures. The abbey took way less time than had been expected. We now had two hours of time to kill before afternoon tea at the Royal Crescent Hotel. Primark and H&M did not have any crappy sandals that met my standards. The sandals at Marks & Spencer were way too expensive for non-leather sandals. While there though we picked up some crackers, as our next stop of the day was the Fine Cheese Co.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of cheeses. I asked for a recommendation along the lines of a nice camembert. He suggested the British version of camembert, how could we go wrong? This sounded great! For a second he seemed taken aback that I took him up on the offer. I wondered just how expensive this cheese was going to be. It wasn’t. Why was he so surprised I wondered?

We still had some extra time. What to do? Go to a pub for a quick pint of course! We went to the Star Inn, it had been on the list of potential pubs to visit from the previous night. It was a great pub, nestled in an old hotel, it was very cozy. At first I was worried, it seemed they only had Thatcher’s Gold cider on tap, and I had already tried that one. I was about to order a bottle of Reveller’s cider, the one with the pig on the label when Brent noticed that they also had Thatcher’s Cheddar Valley cider on tap. Thus saving me from having to drink more than a half pint (it was barely noon). The cider was citrus-y and almost sour, much less fizzy than other ciders I had tried before. We read the Times of London and tried to do the crossword puzzle. It was impossible, the clues were so difficult and I was not having it.

We took a long round-about way to get to the Royal Crescent Hotel and managed to get there right on time. I changed into my heels and immediately started pining for my running shoes. By the time we sat down my feet were already hurting. We ordered the traditional afternoon tea service that had sandwiches, scones and mini-desserts. It was too early in the day for champagne. Once again, I got to choose both teas. For Brent I selected the Golden Assam because it sounded super fancy. For myself I ordered the superior oolong, the clue as to why is in the name. The description also called it a rare tea. We started with the scone and “Bath bun” (which was really just a scone with raisins and orange peel) because they were warm and therefore the butter would melt. Up next were the sandwiches, providing us with a much needed break from the sweet, in order of best to worst: salmon, egg salad, roast beef, chicken). The macaron was way better, not nearly as dense as at the Pump Room. The guy at the table next to us was in jeans, what is the point of a dress code? Why was I suffering through wearing heels?! I was annoyed from early on because I got strawberry jam on my finger and it was sticky throughout the meal. At the other table next to us was a family with an infant. When I looked back, the child had fallen asleep in the high chair, with his head resting where his food would have been. I changed my shoes in the bathroom, rather than outside of the hotel, there was no way I was going to spend one extra minute in those damn things. As we walked we passed a girl who was walking barefoot and carrying her shoes, the cobblestones being a bad mix with high heels. I felt smart for my less-than-fashionable shoe choice.

The drive to our next hotel, the fancy Ston Easton was not great at times. There were small tight roads, one of which had the speed limit of 50mi/h! We passed a field of cows near the hotel, I wished I could photograph them but they were far from the main entrance and there were no sidewalks and it would be too far to walk anyways. As we unpacked the car I could hear a rooster off in the distance, I really wanted to go find it. The hotel had a resident cocker spaniel named Oscar, I was anticipating a lot of cute. Alas he was not there when we checked in, someone had taken him for a walk.

There were rain clouds looming overhead, but that did not stop us. Once I changed out of my dress clothes and into jeans we went for a walk around the grounds to see the estate. There was a nice little creek running behind the house, with lush rolling hills and even a mini forest. We could hear a sheep bleating like mad. We went to look and we saw him peering down at us from the top of the hill. We could not tell if he was stuck in the fence or just being loud. We could not get any closer as the hill was steep and full of trees. Further along the trail we saw the rest of the field. It was full of really loud sheep. Turns out this was just a really vocal flock. We could not find the old icebox but we did find the ruined grotto. A cat emerged from the bushes, he was a beautiful grey but it looked like he had a tumour on his right shoulder. It was a sad sight to see. He was so friendly and cute and lovable, he followed us around, rubbing against our legs. He stuck with us for the rest of our walk, even going so far as to venture alongside Brent into the estate’s pet cemetery. He enjoyed making biscuits on our feet as well. Eventually we came across an old building that had a water dish, a food dish and a kennel cage. This was a cared-for outdoor cat it turned out. The cat stopped short at the edge of the parking lot, he seemed to be afraid of cars. At least we did not have to worry about him following us back into the hotel or getting hurt.

At the front desk we asked for a butter knife and a beer opener. They brought it to our room instead. The guy opened our beers for us, because this was the only beer opener in the hotel. For some reason they included a plate of butter with our butter knife.  As we unpacked our bags we noticed a rather funny smell. Turns out it was the cheese and it dawned on us that without a fridge we would have to eat all the cheese that afternoon. The Turnworth Soft Cheese was only like a camembert in texture, in taste it was like a camembert but with a lot of corn flavour to it. It was weird and I could only eat so much, washing it down with the Stella Artois raspberry cider.

Apparently the hotel had a helipad but I had not seen it on the walk. Maybe it was the grass lawn beside the parking lot? We had time before dinner, so we settled in and watched TV, periodically complaining about the cheese. It had started stinking up the whole room. The internet was being wonky, so we alternated between streaming Silicon Valley on the computer and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on the iPad. It was a brilliant plan, watch one while the other buffers and alternate.

We were having dinner in the hotel and I had to get all fancily dressed up again, even though they had seen me wandering around in jeans and a sweatshirt earlier. Again I was mad about having to wear heels. My feet were throbbing as soon as I had put them on. We were seated at a small table facing the windows, looking out onto the back lawn of the house with the forest and the creek in full view. It was only after ordering that we were walked into the main dining room, to a more reasonably sized table for dinner. It was a tad confusing. We had quite the debate over the menu. We had two options: a 5 course prix-fixe or a la carte with a two (starter and main or main and dessert) or all three. I had wanted the quail, but that was a starter and with a main (there was no way I was passing up dessert) it would be too much food. Brent ended up ordering the 3 item option with the quail starter, of which I stole a few bites. His main was the lamb shanks, so I did not trade him the pork cheeks and belly main halfway through. For dessert I had the espresso-based sponge mousse option, who can say no to coffee-based and with a side of ice cream? Brent went with the 5 Somerset cheeses. I was still not convinced that England was any good at making cheese. Brent gave me two to try. The first one was goat cheese, an immediate flop. One was OK, and the other three looked so unappetizing I could not even sample them. Alongside my dessert I had a small glass of Bristol cream sherry. The dinner was delicious, one of the best of the trip so far. Plus we had made a bet with the wager being a bag of Skittles, dinner is always more exciting that way.

We tried to check out the library but there were people in there having dinner, making it really awkward for us to play chess. We never did end up finding the billiards table. On our way back to the room we stopped in the front hall. Oscar the dog was resting in a chair, the perfect opportunity to pet him.

The internet was still being crappy, we weren’t sure if we would be able to watch Game of Thrones online. I wrapped the stinky cheese in a plastic bag and threw it in the garbage. I was so mad that it tasted so bad and had now stunk up the whole room. I walked into the bathroom and realized that before we left for dinner I had not turned off the light in there. And the window had been re-opened. Apparently the hotel does turn-down service without leaving a treat or a note on the pillow. I had to settle for reading my book without a snack.

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Posted by on June 27, 2016 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel


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Cats, Cathedrals and Ciders: The South of England: Day 7

Wed. May 18, 2016:
Stowerton to Bath

I woke up at 8:20am and rushed downstairs for breakfast. We had looked at the menu the night before and I knew what we wanted. It was nice to see that a table had been already reserved for us. It turned out that for the full English breakfast you did not choose between back bacon, pork sausages, mushrooms and baked beans, but that in fact you got all of those. I guess that is why it is called “full.” The only choice was the style of eggs and type of toast. Thankfully we had figured this out before ordering. Looking around we saw that the toast was a large portion, therefore I did not order any and just stole two slices from Brent. I opted for the buffet options instead. There was no way I could eat that much food. Yogurt, granola and fruit made for an awesome breakfast, along with toast and jam. The full English breakfast looked stereotypically British. I was all for trying the baked beans until Brent mentioned that they were in ketchup. I was already confused about the beans for breakfast part, but ketchup?! I was not on board with that. The back bacon was true winner, it was not super crazy salty as I am used to. It was edible!  Because breakfast was served so early we had some time to chill before we had to leave. It felt so good to crawl back into bed and read my book.

As we drove to Wells Cathedral it started raining. It was difficult to find parking, after all we were in England’s smallest town. Eventually we found the public parking at the grocery store Waitrose. We walked in the rain with no directions, hoping we could find the cathedral. We walked towards what we thought was the cathedral but it turned out to be a small unimpressive church. For a brief second I was cheesed, this is what we were trying to find?! This small church?! Brent had mentioned that the cathedral was known by another name, St. Andrews. I laughed, I had seen a sign one block back pointing towards St. Andrews cathedral and I did not know that was what we were looking for. That was the only sign, other than pointing us in the right direction we were once again on our own. Thankfully the bells were ringing off in the distance and we followed the sound. I pointed at a building and said that the bells were somewhere behind it, as soon as we rounded the corner, lo and behold the cathedral was exactly where I had pointed, behind an arch.

We were suckered into paying a donation for admission because there were two people sitting at the front desk. The cathedral was beautiful, it had scissor arches that we had never seen before. The highlight was a 13th century medieval clock that rang on the hour and featured knights going in a circle through the clock jousting, a much cooler version of a cuckoo clock. One of the knights gets knocked flat by the other, it was very amusing. This cathedral was one of the best so far, it featured a resident cat. A friendly cat who let me pet him, who posed for pictures, who was just so darn cute I could not take it!!! I dubbed him a cathedral cat and was grateful for the unique photo opportunity he had afforded me. The library in the cathedral was a stand-out, they had old books that still had the chains on them (books used to be chained to the bookcase, for in-library use only to prevent theft). Unfortunately the titles, which at the time would have been written on the pages (the books were shelved with the spines facing inwards) were not visible. While we had been inside it had finally stopped raining, and now we could go back outside and get a full and proper grand view of the cathedral.

We walked across the street to The Swan (at the Best Western, oddly) to have a drink. I was still too full from breakfast to even contemplate having lunch. I tried to order a pint of cider but the tap was broken, so they gave me a pint of the other cider, Thatcher’s. It was delicious regardless. Across the street there was a patio with a beautiful full view of the cathedral. There was a sign stating that there had been a café there but in the 19th century it was demolished to build the patio with a view. It was nice to sit back and relax with a cider, talking… and then a cat strolled in. He had a little bell on his collar and was so cute, walking around with his tail held high. He came over to me and let me pet him, he rubbed against my leg but would not jump up onto my lap. I was sad when he left, but then he came back! And still refused to sit on my lap though. He more than made up for this by meowing his cute little meows at me. I was so tempted to pick him up and snuggle him and never let him go, but he was more interested in walking around the pub and checking everything out. He made my day.

On the way to the car we stopped at Waitrose for some road snacks. I was so happy to be reunited with my beloved Biscoff cookies. We also stocked up on some more British candies like Dairy Milk buttons and mini Toffee Crisps. We stopped by the alcohol aisle as well. There I found a Stella Artois berry cider and a strawberry-mint Pimm’s cocktail. We got ID’d at the checkout and my driver’s license (not being an EU one) got questioned.  In the end it was all ok. We also fueled up the car, it was unbelievable how expensive it was, double what we would pay back home.

The Ayrlington Hotel, where we were staying had a really pretty exterior. We had an hour until our afternoon tea reservation at the Pump Room. I tried to read but was so sleepy I ended up napping instead. It was a short 10 minute walk but it was so pretty, all the cobblestone paths and crossing a river. We walked by the Roman baths and the abbey. We walked by a shopping arcade, so much potential shopping, I noted it for later.

The Pump Room was super popular, probably owing to the fact that it was connected to the Roman baths. We were seated in a giant hall with a lot of other people, the place was huge. As we decided what teas to order, a pianist played in the background. It was all really nice. And the service was amazing. Our tiered-tower of sandwiches, scones and mini desserts arrived before our tea. On the second cup of tea we swapped and tried each others. Brent had a lemongrass green tea and I had the Darjeeling. I had chosen it because the description said something about it being rare. The sandwiches consisted of melba toast that you spread mushy salmon on, and a ham sandwich that for some ungodly reason tried to sneak a tomato by me. Who puts a tomato in a ham sandwich?! We had two scones each, which I still contend is too much. One scone is more than enough. They are dense. Also our scones did not come with clotted cream on the side. What kind of afternoon tea scone was this? The mini desserts were hands-down the best part: espresso cake, raspberry crème puff, a slightly-too-dense macaron and a nut tart.

After tea we wandered around through the shopping arcade, gawking at all the architecture. We stopped in at LUSH so I could buy a bathbomb. We were staying in Bath, therefore I had to have a bath while in Bath, and what better way than with a bathbomb? It all made sense. I had seen people with shopping bags from H&M and Primark, but I could not for the life of me find those stores. Until we turned and walked in the opposite direction, success! Primark did not have too much, it was a smaller store. I did find some nice tank tops and a package of fake pearl earrings for £4 which was an awesome deal. I did not spend too much time in there was I had planned to go to Primark later in the trip while in London anyways. I stopped in at the H&M, alas the shirt I wanted was not in stock. They had it in every other pattern but the one I wanted. As I left the store, dark and threatening storm clouds appeared out of nowhere. We speed-walked back to the hotel and were less than 2 minutes away when the sky tore open and it began to hail. It stopped as soon as we got to the front door of the hotel. By the time we got to our room it was sunny outside, as if none of that had just happened.

After resting a bit, Brent googled some nearby pubs and we headed back out. First we walked to Victoria Park which was really more of just a giant lawn. At least we scoped out where we would be having afternoon tea the next day. There was a guy taking pictures of a girl in flowy fabric. He was wearing white magician gloves, she kept jumping for the camera. It was all really weird.

We stopped in at The Raven because it was highly rated. Apparently so, as it was very busy and we got the last two seats at the bar. I started with a half pint of West Country Gold cider. By doing half pints I figured I could try more ciders, as they had quite a few on tap here. It quickly became clear that this was going to be more than just “one pint” at the pub. The wireless card payment reader was not working. One guy decided to give it a try anyways and when it failed he asked the bar tender if he had tried turning it off and on again, peals of laughter rolled through the bar. It was amazing, I could not believe it had just happened. Were all of these people really IT Crowd fans? Or were they all just really drunk? The second half pint I had was Sheppy’s cider, it was drier and less fruity than the first, i.e.: better. We met a guy who was out at the bar with his co-workers, celebrating that they had not met their quota. He said next time they will just fudge the numbers. In talking to him we found out that he was ex-military, when he mentioned visiting Medicine Hat, Alberta. He had also been to Vancouver and Australia, and he hated his boss. The guy was really chatty and friendly. The third half pint was Naish’s cider. The bar tender first asked me if I had ever had a similar cider, that it was different from the usual ciders. I balked, of course I had tried such ciders before. Of course I’d be fine. Of course I would like it. It was awesome, it had strong sour end notes and was unique and it won for the best cider of the night.

I watched a guy order a pickled egg, alas he must have eaten it in the few seconds when I had looked away. I will never know if he had actually eaten it or not. I am still content, having seen a jar of pickled eggs behind the bar. I guess it is a real thing. I had cleared through the ciders on tap. My fourth half pint was an Oteley No. 9 Belgian-style fruit beer. Or so I was told. I tasted no fruit. It was just beer. I regretted not having gone with my first choice, the Bacchus framboise bottle. My argument was that I had tried it before. I passed my half pint over to Brent and ordered the Bacchus and we split it. I had forgotten just how good it was. The Raven was an amazing pub. It was full of middle-aged drunks ready to start a conversation with anyone. It was an awesome atmosphere.

In a haze we walked down the street to McDonalds. We were in need of greasy food, stat. I ordered a sad-looking quarter pounder and some “taste of America” chicken strips. Alas, because it was not regular menu, the sauce options were limited. I would have to try the curry dip another time. Back in the hotel I brewed a cup of tea, grabbed some Biscoff cookies and the Pimm’s cocktail and had a bath, while in Bath, using a bathbomb. It was the perfect end to the day.

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Posted by on June 19, 2016 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel


Cats, Cathedrals and Ciders: The South of England: Day 6

Tues. May 17, 2016:
Salisbury to Stowerton

I asked Brent to open the curtains when waking me up. I immediately regretted my request. The sun was so bright! Leaving town we could see the wall made of stones from the original fortress, castle and church in Old Sarum (technically we were in New Sarum, though now it is called Salisbury). I was so excited, we were on our way to Stonehenge!!! In a field we passed a horse sleeping on its side, it panicked me, they sleep on their sides right? I asked. As we got closer I kept my eyes on the horizon, keeping an eye for a view of Stonehenge. Turns out the view of Stonehenge is on another highway. There was a line-up of people at the ticket booth even though it was not even open yet. Alas, we had to wait in that line to trade in our print-at-home tickets for actual tickets. We had to take a 5 minute shuttle ride up to the actual Stonehenge site. We were the first ones off the shuttle and a for a brief moment we were the only ones by the site. It was nice to be the first ones there, it was not very busy and we had unobstructed views of the stones. We circled it a few times, marveling at it. It was incredible, but by the third go-around there were people with selfie-sticks ruining the experience. On our way back to the shuttle I stopped to look at some fluffy sheep in the nearby field, they were so cute and fluffy I couldn’t take it. In the gift shop they had stuffed animal sheep, equally fluffy, but way overpriced. They also had Stonehenge beer. We finished off with the exhibits in the visitor centre. It was creepy to see Neolithic skeletons that had been buried nearby, it unnerved me and made me shudder. I think it’s the teeth in the skull that really gets me.

It was a short drive to the Spreadeagle Inn. It turned out that our hotel was right on the grounds of the Stourhead Estate, touring which was our plan for the afternoon. We tried to check in at 11:30am but apparently we would have to wait until 2pm. We left our stuff in the car and went to the Inn restaurant, but apparently they did not start serving lunch until noon. We opted for ice cream from the shop next door. Jaffa cake makes for a surprisingly good flavour. We walked to the church and graveyard next door.

We ordered lunch on the patio. It was too early for alcohol for me, I opted for the earl grey tea. Finally getting my tea fix and a nice surprise: a Biscoff cookie on the side. My eyes widened, they were available here. In my notebook there are a ton of exclamation marks and hearts around this. My ham sandwich was made with awful white sponge-y bread. The ham and grainy mustard were good, but the bread just ruined it so badly. The homemade kettle-chips were also terrible. After lunch we headed back to the car, I needed my jacket it was a cold day. We stopped by the edge of the parking lot, behind a fence there were some sheep grazing.

We started off our tour of Stourhead in the historic house because it closes and the grounds are open later. The library in the house was an A+, the books were in alphabetical order and the shelves were numbered. It was very satisfying. Once we were back outside it starting raining, almost on cue. There was an obelisk behind the house, but to get to it we had go in a roundabout way through the forest. We then had to walk through a field, it was quite far back from the house. There were cows grazing in the field. As I slowly approached the cows they perked up and starting paying attention to me. When they lost interest in me I turned around to leave, but Brent pointed out that they were staring at me again, and so I went back. They were so cute, just staring at me, unsure of what to think or do. It was well worth my shoes and pant legs getting soaked in the tall grasses and rain. In the lake we saw some black mallard ducks, it was weird and unsettling. We walked the grounds going into the smaller buildings like the writing cottage and the tea house. The 260 year old grotto was pretty cool.


All of that walking had killed my legs. Even still, I climbed the small bank from the parking lot to the fence to look at the sheep. They were closer to the fence now and they had lambs. These ones were not as cute, some of the sheep had been spray-painted and some had been shaved.

Our hotel room was super fancy. There was a large selection of teas, two types of cookies and Cadbury Dairy Milk hot chocolate. I watched TV and in my hunger ended up eating 3 of the 4 cookies. It felt like forever until it would be time to get ready for dinner. Having eaten the cookies, I would have to get up early for complimentary breakfast the next day. Despite the cookies, hot chocolate and TV time seemed to drag on. By 5pm I was voraciously hungry, and I still had 2 hours to go! I had even looked at the menu beforehand and decided on what to order. That barely saved me any time, as I had to go look at the taps and decide which cider to have. I started with a Lilley’s apple and pear cider, it was sweet and like juice. I was done before our food even arrived. Not the best start to a meal. I had succumbed to a last minute temptation, the pan-seared duck breast on brioche. I changed my main to a starter size, having two starters instead of one main. I had been expecting some mini slices of bread with duck breast on top of them, not half a bun with duck meat atop a bed of salad. I instinctively picked it up, as one would a sandwich, and quickly realized we were in a semi-fancy place. I took to butchering it with my knife and fork. The second cider I had was the Ashton Press Cider. Alas, cider is more filling than wine and by the time the dessert menu came around I was too full, even though I was tempted by the warm custard with a fruit crumble.

I was so tired after dinner, we had had a long day of walking. Even after showering, it was only 9pm. I tried to stay up and read. In the end I justified going to bed early (read: before 10pm) because breakfast was only from 8am-9am and I would have to wake up early.


Cats, Cathedrals and Ciders: The South of England: Day 5

Mon. May 16, 2016:
Winchester to Salisbury

It felt great to have 10 hours of sleep and wake up to a short bread cookie for breakfast. I was pleased with myself for not having eaten the cookie the previous night. A cookie, coffee and a book made for a rather pleasant breakfast experience.

Our first stop of the day was the post office, I had to mail the postcards so they would arrive before I returned to Canada. I had a nice chat with the two ladies working there, one offered to trade places with me until she heard I was graduate studies in university. I also snuck in a joke about getting used to the currency. The five pence piece was especially tripping me up as it was the same size as a dime, 10 cents, back home. Up next we went to Costa Coffee for a quick breakfast. I had wrongly assumed that because it was a chain they would have drip coffee a la Tim Hortons or Dunkin’ Donuts. Turns out I had not learned my lesson at Caffe Nero. I was starting to get the impression that coffee is just not as popular in England. At least I could justify having the latte, milk has calcium and calcium is good. Ditto for the lemon loaf, lemon has vitamin c.

Winchester Chapel was amazing. It was incredible to see 12-13th century medieval ceiling paintings and still-in-tact 13th century floor tiles. As always I was enamored with the beautiful gothic arches. The true gem was the Winchester Bible. It was beautifully illuminated. I chatted for a while with the volunteer about the bible, marvelling at its pristine condition and she told me about the restoration work currently under way on some of the other volumes in the set. The cathedral had been built atop a crypt. It was creepy to go look at it, partly because there was a low level of water in there, but mostly the cold draft and the large heavy wooden door. We saw Jane Austen’s grave, alas it was inside the cathedral so I could not dance on it. I just do not like her writings. The cathedral library was not open due to renovations.

We drove to Chatown to see Jane Austen’s cottage where she wrote most of her books. Maybe here I would discover why her books were so boring. It was a tiny quaint little town and the cottage fit right in. The displays focused mostly on the peak of her writing career until her death. The only interesting thing really was a cute little table in the kitchen where she wrote every morning. It did nothing to solve the mystery of the boring stories. In the gift shop there had been a sign warning of the resident cat, Marmite. We found him napping under a tree in the garden. He could not care less about me. He was still there after we finished going through the cottage. There was a second cat in the flowers, he was too busy rolling around and climbing under the gate to notice me. It was unclear which cat was Marmite and who the other cat was.

The hotel we were staying at in Salisbury, the Legacy Rose and Crown had been built around an old building from the 13th century. We had to go exploring. The bar and the first eight rooms were in the old structure, which consisted mainly of really old wooden beams. We walked into town to the see the alleys and the shops, passing by the River Avon. We stopped at McDonald’s for a quick lunch. The crispy sweet chili chicken wrap hit the spot. The guy thought we were American.

Walking to the Salisbury Cathedral I started regretting not having gotten a frozen lemonade at lunch. We got there 30 minutes before our tour. We wandered through the cathedral, craning our necks to look at the high arches and giant stained glass windows. The choir benches were beautifully carved. We saw the best preserved copy of the Magna Carta but could not stay too long to gawk at it and hear the 5 minute presentation.

The tour was almost two hours long and incredible. Easily one of the best tours we have ever been on. I was expecting a tour of the cathedral and a tower climb. Not a tour of the innards of the cathedral roof and a glance into the spire. Essentially we saw the guts of the cathedral. It was unnerving at moments, to think that the roof was held up by crooked logs from centuries ago. I got lightheaded thinking about the fact that the wooden platform I was standing on was held in place with two wooden beams at a cross-section. At the top of the tower (or bottom of the spire, depending on how you interpret it) the views of the surrounding countryside were gorgeous and incredible. I could see sheep in a field across the river. It turns out earlier as we were walking over, when I swore I had heard sheep baaing, I was not crazy, and I just could not see them. The only view we missed out on was to the south because there was a peregrine falcon nest there. We watched them for a while on the webcam. On our way back down we stopped and listened and watched to the bells ringing. It was loud but it was neat to see the hammer smacking the bells. The whole tour had been us, the tour guide and an incomprehensible Scottish guy. After the tour we tried to go see the Magna Carta but it was closed. On our way out of the cloisters we passed an exhibit about the peregrine falcons. There was a screen with the webcam feed. The falcon was getting antsy, screaming at the sky and starting to stand up. Underneath we could see the eggs and that one had already hatched. We could hear the screeching faintly. Eventually her partner was able to settle and give her food. She fed herself first, as we anxiously waited to watch her feed the baby. It was so adorably cute.

We had dinner at the hotel bar because we wanted to see more of the old architecture. I had ordered the fried chicken and it was truly horrible. Who knew it was possible to screw up fried chicken? I joked that I was having the authentic “terrible British food” experience. The Magner’s berry cider helped me down the chicken. The coleslaw had been placed beside the chicken and had warmed up. The fries were bland and we had no ketchup. It was awful. The only other upside to dinner, besides the cider, was watching the sheep across the river. They looked like big balls of fluff with little feet poking out. We watched them drink from the river, precariously perched on the edge. I briefly wondered about tipping them over. Needless to say, we did not look at the dessert menu.

We took a mini-break in the room while Brent searched for nearby pubs worth going to. We decided to go out and have a drink, then come back and watch TV. We walked back through the main part of town to the Craft Bar at the Salisbury Arms. The pub was apparently well-known for its beer selection. The sign outside said they were voted best burger on TripAdvisor. I further regretted having had dinner at the hotel, but how was I supposed to know?! Fried chicken seemed like a safe bet. I ordered an English mule cocktail because the chalkboard outside also advertised craft cocktails. This was their take on a Russian mule. Instead of vodka it had Beefeater gin, which I had been wanting to have during our trip at some point. As I watched the bar tender make the drink, he was training a new guy. It made sense why he was making 2, one would be for the new guy to taste. Nope, the bar tender plopped both down in front of me. I was confused. Had I somehow accidentally ordered two cocktails? Would he not have clarified especially after Brent ordered a beer? After sitting down and reading a table menu and the other chalkboard sign, I realized it was a buy-one-get-one-free deal. I had indeed ordered only one cocktail. As I sipped my two cocktails I considered one that had apple-infused gin, but that could not compete with craft cider from a cask. As we drank, we played Connect Four. Brent won the first round, I won the next two. All three had been diagonal wins. We stayed for a second round, well for me it was a third really. I had a half pint of the Thistly Cross Whisky Cask Craft cider. It was delicious, and a new contender for the best. It was nice to just sit around and talk, we sent a few drunk texts in Brent’s group chat that surely we thought were much funnier than they actually were. Still, we were very amused. The only other people in the bar consisted of the staff and a knitting circle of young hipster ladies. The bar tender came by and chatted with us for a while about our travels and things to see and do in Salisbury but that it wears off for the locals. We mentioned that we felt the same way about Toronto. He came by again later with a plate of fries, saying that they were free because they were left over from the kitchen. The fries were delicious, way better than the ones I had at dinner. We polished off the entire plate in no time. It really made me wish we had eaten dinner at Craft Bar instead.

On the way back we stopped at McDonald’s. I was craving a McFlurry and I figured why not try the “taste of America” caramel cheesecake flavour. It was ok, the caramel was really more of a fudge and the cheesecake bits were crunchy. We stopped by the cathedral to look at the remnants of the bell tower that once stood there. From the ground level you could barely tell there had been anything there. We only knew about it from looking down from the base of the spire earlier. There was no sign of the peregrine falcons, but there was a guy flying a drone. It was nice to have seen the town cleared out of the daytime tourists, our little adventure proved successful, Craft Bar had a great selection and was an awesome pub.


Cats, Cathedrals and Ciders: The South of England: Day 4

Sun. May 15, 2016:
Brighton to Winchester

I had not fully closed the curtains the night before and at 7am I awoke to a sliver of sunshine peeking in. I swapped out my iPad with my phone in the charger and went right back to sleep. When Brent tried to wake me up at 9am I was so not having it, I was in a deep sleep. I made coffee in the hotel even though it was instant coffee because all the cafes we had passed the previous day were past the Royal Pavilion and I need coffee before I can start my day.

The streets of Brighton were much nicer in the morning, nice and empty. At the Royal Pavilion we had just beat the rush to the ticket line. The Music Room and the Banquet Room were absolutely stunning and just unbelievable. There was a crystal chandelier held up by dragon sculptures. The décor was very lush. Somehow the library was forgotten in all this, it did not meet the same standards. We had not gotten the audio tour and were probably the only people in the whole place without it. It periodically caused traffic jams we had go around. Everyone’s audio tours were loud and out of sync causing a quiet cacophony of out of sync narrators.

We stopped at a souvenir shop but I couldn’t find any postcards to meet my exacting standards. We went for another walk in the lanes this time keeping an eye out for the little tea shop. I have no idea by what way of wandering we had found it the first time, we could not find it for the life of us.

We walked down to the beach to the side of the pier that I had noticed yesterday. It was here that we found the boardwalk, the second half of the Brighton ocean-side fun. We had our terrible-as-planned lunch on the boardwalk. Brent had fish & chips, apparently a boardwalk staple. And I had what I considered the boardwalk staple: a hotdog. Only it was more like a really crappy bratwurst than an “American” hotdog. It was awful. And it totally fit the bill of what a lunch on a tacky boardwalk by the ocean should be.

As we walked there was construction and I noticed a sign pointing down the way and saying Ben & Jerry’s. Forget the crappy soft serve, Ben & Jerry’s is a way better boardwalk ice cream treat! The sign lied. There was no Ben & Jerry’s. There was one shop that had a Ben & Jerry’s cooler… that had mini containers, not even scoopable ice cream! I did manage to find some postcards on the boardwalk.

On the way back I stopped in at the ice cream shop from the previous day. It was awesome, not only was the ice cream (Oreo cookies and cream) delicious and fresh, but there was also a student discount! We had one last wander through the lanes and there was no sign of that tea shop. It had vanished. It was too awkward to Google as well as these were alleys behind shops and not proper streets. We stopped in at a pound store (one of three different brands all within a block of each other) for some road soda: fruity Fanta and an Irn Bru.

When we got to the car I put down my purse and was horrified to find bird crap on the strap. A bird had crapped on my shoulder. Not good news when you only have the one sweater and are only into the first few days of your vacation. I was not happy.

The scenery as we drove was beautiful, fields filled with animals and even a castle off in the distance. To get to our hotel room in Winchester we had to walk down a corridor between the restaurant and its patio. It was awkward to walk through there laden like a camel with all my stuff. The army guys drinking on the patio thankfully did not seem to care.

We had the whole afternoon to wander around the town of Winchester. Of course my first stop was the mall. There was a Primark and my curiosity got the best of me. It was a small crappy one though. We walked over to Winchester Cathedral but it would be closing soon so we decided to leave it as planned, the next morning, when we would have enough time for it. Plus there was a religious festival of some sort happening in the park and I did not want to have anything to do with it.

Walking to Winchester College I noticed signs for Wolvesey Palace, why not check I out I suggested. It was an unexpectedly amazing find: the ruins of a castle that got sacked in the 16th century. We learned about the rich bishops of the 12th century. It was just the shell of a castle, barely anything standing left, but so picturesque.

On the way there we had somehow missed the house that Jane Austen died in, we had to keep an eye out as we returned. We had to speed walk to keep ahead of an annoying family playing trivia, also looking for the house. It had a sign saying it was a private residence, no wonder we had walked right by, there was nothing to distinguish it. Winchester College proved to be similarly disappointing as it was closed to the public and we could not see over the wall.

We walked out a street festival we had seen earlier on our way to some historic buildings marked on our tourist map from the hotel. The Law Courts were modern and boring. But next door was the Great Hall which was still open and admission by donation. There was a round table hanging on the wall, presumably they claimed that the story of the “round table” had originated in this hall. Across from that building in the courtyard there were remnants of a 16th century castle. There was a stairway leading down a secret passageway that you could look into. It was creepy to look down the dark tunnel.

Walking back we could see that the main tourist strip was staring to empty out, the day-trippers were going home. We stopped at McDonald’s to grab some dinner, it was around the corner from our hotel. The menu did not have too much wacky stuff. There was a “New York” burger that used a bagel instead of buns and had coleslaw. Brent had an “extra spicy” chicken sandwich, but it was not that spicy. These were some really weird iterations of what “tastes of America” (as the promotion was called) would constitute. There were two other intriguing burgers in this promotion, but one was no longer available and the other one was going to be available towards the end of our trip. The McFlurry selection was just awful, who wants a caramel cheesecake McFlurry?! We had a walk of McShame as we passed the patio and restaurant, now filled with wedding party guests mingling with hotel patrons. We briefly considered joining them after dinner. Everyone seemed like such friendly drinkers.

Irn Bru and teacakes made for a much better dessert than any McFlurry ever could. Earlier in the day I had seen a post office, therefore I had to set to writing my postcards so I could mail them the next morning. It was tough to write this early in the trip. We cracked open the chips from the previous night. The marmite chips were terrible, the Worcestershire sauce chips were surprisingly decent. The WiFi was weedy but somehow Netflix was working well enough that we managed to watch 3 episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt while drinking Henry Weston’s Cider (which I opened on the door jamb) and eating tea cakes. I was tempted to eat the complimentary short bread cookie, but I knew I would regret it in the morning when I would have nothing to eat.

In the evening we went back out for a walk to see the cleared out town. We stopped in at the Old Vine pub for a drink. The religious festival was still going strong. It turns out the bar tender had been born in Canada. He was a very nice guy, he gave Brent a very generous tasting (a quarter pint really) of beer. I had a Bulmer’s pear cider and we split a bag of Piper’s cheddar and onion chips. The lady at the table next to ours was talking about her friend who saw aliens in a field, as close to her as she was to the bar now. She talked with such conviction, she was clearly nuts. Then there was another lady talking about her wire and knit sculpture.

We decided to go check out the religious festival as last time we passed by it had turned into a concert. Things were now winding down and everyone was leaving. The healers and their tents were all gone. I saw a guy wearing a jacket, emblazoned on the back STREET PASTOR. It was unreal. Back at the hotel the wedding party was still going strong, having moved into the bar. Brent went to check out the taps and I saw kids paying for lemonade… this wedding wasn’t even an open bar!

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and reading. The internet was still a very weak connection.


Cats, Cathedrals and Ciders: The South of England: Day 3

Before waking up I first dreamt I had woken up at 6am, and then in the next dream I woke up at noon. Waking up at 9am, for real, seemed like a perfect fit. After 13 hours of sleep I felt great. On the walk to Caffe Nero we stopped at Wilko to pick up a converter. Based on the window display we assumed Wilko would carry such a product, it kind of looked like a small cheap department store. A desperate search ensued but eventually we found it in the hardware section near some light switches and copper wires. I thought Caffe Nero would be more like a donut-coffee shop than a fancy-latte-coffee shop but I was too hungry to really care that they did not serve drip coffee. The sticky toffee muffin really hit the spot.

As we walked back to the hotel we noticed the old city walls of Canterbury…and realized how had we not noticed them the day before?! We had been completely oblivious in our jet-lagged stupor.

We drove to Brogdale Farm to see the orchard collection of apple and pear trees. On the way we saw a pheasant in a field. At first the orchard was underwhelming, until we started following the tracks of the tour train which led us to the more picturesque segment of the orchard. Some of the trees were starting to bloom and it was beautiful. The farm also had a few small shops, one of which sold cider and beer. I bought a pint of the cider, I got a discount because the default size is 2 pints or 4 and there wasn’t enough. Given I would have to drink it that night (it needs to be refrigerated otherwise), I was totally fine with it. I was looking forward to the cider, it was made on-site with apples from the orchard. I also sampled the elderflower cider and it was some of the best I had ever had.

Driving to Sissinghurst Castle was not much fun. There was street parking on small streets, so whenever there was a car parked the street effectively became one way and we had to take turns with oncoming traffic. Then there was a car blocking our lane because they were letting an old man out in front of a restaurant. From the looks of it he would not have managed the walk from the parking lot, so it was ok. We passed some sheep and lambs in a field. Little did I know what a common sight this would become.

Sissinghurst Castle was not really a castle, but it was still really cool to see. There were very pretty gardens, a few of them organized by colour (i.e.: the white garden). In a tower overlooking the moat there was a small, cozy library. On the information pamphlet it said that there was a farm, I had been hoping to see some cows and pigs. Alas, there was no farm to be found. I did see a few sheep. We walked by the lake and around the dock you could see all the fish gathering, clearly they were regularly fed here. It would have made a great fishing spot.

The cafeteria did not have any appealing food, it kind of reminded me of the IKEA restaurant. For now we had Jelly Babies in the car to snack on. It turns out that the Jelly Babies all have really funny names.

Our next hotel, in Brighton, was voted most improved in 2012, this made me worry. We got to our room and it was a bit warm. There was no air-conditioning unit to turn on. The window did not have a screen on it and I was not going to open it and let bugs fly in. No sooner had I walked away from the window, a giant wasp appeared on the curtain. It turns out the previous people had opened the window. I immediately panicked and hid in the bathroom. Eventually the wasp went into the lamp and started grooming itself. I opened the window so it would fly out, but instead a bee flew in. Brent caught the honey bee with a cup and let it out. Back to the wasp, it had settled and the only way to get it out of the lamp would be to agitate it. I suggested putting a cup with a little bit of cider just below the lamp to attract the wasp, but it could not care less. I resorted to cowering in the corner. Eventually the wasp flew down onto the desk and Brent caught it in a cup and it let it go out a window in the hallway. I would not have been able to sleep had that wasp been left in the room.

Our hotel was not in downtown Brighton as parking would have been a nightmare. It was not that far to walk. We still had not eaten lunch and our dinner reservation was not until 7pm. Brent had looked up good pubs and we stopped in at New Laine pub for a pint and a quick late lunch, it was 5pm already. We split a plate of nachos. I had seen a bottle on another table, Old –out Cider, I assumed stout. I ordered the passionfruit and apple flavour, it was sweet and not very cider-y but so refreshing. It turns out it had been called Old Mout, and it the label says it is always mispronounced. Hah.

The streets of Brighton were full of people and none of them knew how to walk properly: taking up the whole sidewalk, suddenly stopping, walking incredibly slowly. It was unbelievable.

We walked down to the beach and to the pier. The beach was more like a pile of pebbles but that did not seem to stop people. We saw a guy walking about with a metal detector. He had a shovel, you could tell he was serious. Brighton Pier was the epitome of tackiness. Bright carnival rides, music, food booths, arcade games and even a casino games section. I gambled 50 pence on a slot machine and lost, it was still worth it. There were two arcades and inexplicably the first one was far busier than the second, it did not make any sense. There was one ride that was stomach-churning to even watch. It whipped you back and forth and upside-down and I could not even watch. It was fun watching as a drunk guy tried to ride the mechanical bull, he was off it within 5 seconds.  We decided we would have lunch on the pier the following day. As we were leaving. Everybody by the Backstreet Boys was playing and I declared my love for the tacky pier.

We still had time before dinner so we wandered the lanes looking at all the shops and restaurants. We saw some true British drunks. One guy tried to sell us his friend’s shirt for a tenner. At first we had no idea what he was saying, it was only after he repeated himself as we walked away that I realized he meant 10 quid. It was odd. We passed a cute little teashop but it was closed. It was amazing how many fine jewelry stores there were, how did they all manage to survive, there were more of them than any other shops and in such a small area.

We had dinner at English’s, who are renowned for their oysters. We ordered two of each oyster (3 types total). They were delicious, some of the best I have ever had. For the main course I had a dressed crab. It was weird though, the egg was on the side, so was the mayonnaise. Why did they not mix all the ingredients together? It was what I had expected when I ordered it. Brent’s sea bass fillet won by a mile. I had wanted to get ice cream for dessert but the place I had scoped out earlier was closed. On the way back to the hotel I stopped in at the grocery store and found Tea Cakes. They turned out to be Viva Puffs but coated with rich milk chocolate, making it impossible to eat more than 2 at a time. There were no good chip flacours at the store, for some reason the Doritos were only in a 6-pack of mini bags.

Walking back to the hotel I saw a girl who seemed to be the epitome of everything Brighton: pink fur jacket, hair down and messy and a mini skirt. We passed another lady who knew how to spend a Saturday night: she had a plastic bag with beers and a can of Pringles. We stopped at the gas station for chips. We grabbed a mini bag of Walker’s marmite flavour (expectation: salty and gross) and Worchester sauce flavour (expectation: salty and like a lame version of BBQ). Alas, by the time we got to the hotel my stomach was hurting, the chips would have to wait. The shower was super lame, barely any water came out. I spent the rest of the night in bed reading until 10:30pm- barely, I was so tired.

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