U.K. Holiday: April 2017

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Tuesday, 11 April - Glastonbury and Wells

We had two cities on our agenda today: Wells and Glastonbury. At our 8:00 breakfast, we talked a while with Stuart, who was a kind of regional manager from Birmingham. He has mates who are American football fans, and will be visiting Dallas next season with plans to attend a Cowboys game. Our 9:00 taxi to Bath got us to the bus station for a 9:35 bus to Wells. We had a very entertainingly-chatty driver, who talked with us and the other passengers about everything from history/abbeys to the queen to local sites to Brexit to Hillary/Trump and the 2016 US general election. After checking our options and the bus schedule, we decided to get directly onto a the bus to Glastonbury and return later to explore Wells.

Photos from the morning (7 images)

We decided to go on to Glastonbury first and the work our way back to Wells. In Glastonbury there were only 2 objectives: touring the abbey and walking around the market. As we were told ahead of time by a lady on the bus, lots of hippie type people there, and you'll know you're there when the clothing abruptly changes - she was right. Abbey was cool, but the center was taken up by a group doing some sort of ceremony holding hands in a circle, with lots of hugging afterwards. After touring the abbey, we walked up (literally) and down the main street crammed with new age shops. Ginger found a great deal on beaded jewelry at one of the shops.

The two must-see items in Glastonbury were the market and the abbey. We heard Glastonbury was a hippie town, and boy was that true! Mixed in with the typical restaurants and clothing/hair styles, there was a noticeable uptick in the number of dreadlocks, colored hair, tank tops, tye-dye, and crystal shops to be seen. The market turned out to be on just one side of a small street where vendors were selling honey, jewelry, produce, t-shirts, etc. After briefly perusing the wares, we walked over to the abbey.

Glastonbury Abbey is another of the ruined abbeys on our list. The abbey is located within a 36 acre park. You can tell that in its heyday, it was a gigantic abbey complex sprawling out in all directions. Interestingly enough, in the main chapel area of the abbey is the site of King Arthur and his queen's tomb. True to the town's hippie influence, the center was taken up by a group of people doing some sort of ceremony holding hands in a circle, with lots of hugging afterwards.

After touring the abbey, we walked up (literally) and down the main street crammed with new age shops. Ginger found a shop with a wall full of resale jewelry. She bought several pieces with the intention of taking them apart and upcycling them to make jewelry of her own.

Photos of Glastonbury Abbey and the town (42 images)

We then hopped on the bus for the short ride back to Wells. The cathedral there is a 10 minute walk a few blocks from the bus station and along the way we stopped for afternoon coffee and taking a few pictures. Wells Cathedral is the completely gothic and dates from around 1200 and is a glory to behold. We got tickets for the cathedral self-tour and spent an hour or so inside. Between the cathedral and our next stop was Vicars' Close, a block of very well kept row houses where people still actually live.

Photos of Wells Cathedral and around the town (50 images)

Next stop: Bishop's Palace, with pretty extensive, castle-type walled grounds complete with a moat, and gardens outside the walls. It's partly in ruins but also partly fully functional, and just as interesting as the cathedral! On the grounds of the palace are the natural spring wells, from which the town of Wells gets its name.

Photos from around Bishop's Palace (40 images)

Since it was about 5:00 we decided to get something to eat before the bus trip back to Bath, and found a great little pizza/burger/kebab shop. The guy who ran it was from Turkey and said it was his dream to come to the US, to California and then Texas. We chatted a while as he put together a big order before ours, and then piled up huge portions of lamb kebabs for us. Back at the bus station, we had enough time to eat about half (which was plenty) before our bus was ready to board. We were back in Bath around 7:30, and were able to get a 7:45 train to Freshford, so the walk back to the hotel was in the daylight, complete with views of some pretty impressive estates. Before turning in for the night and packing up most of our stuff, we arranged breakfast and a taxi for the morning.

Photos from the evening (17 images)