August 30, 2014

Gentlemen on the Road, Part 6: Meeting the Doctor, and Oxford

The last day of our tour would contain a lot of driving, but I had never been to Wales before and I really wanted to visit Cardiff, so the boys agreed that we would spend the morning there. Cardiff is actually not exactly a beautiful city, and the preparations for the NATO summit a few days later did not add to the atmosphere: Fences and policemen everywhere. We navigated towards downtown and found the most beautiful Vinyl records store you could hope for. The owner (the Gentleman on the left) told us the story how he once played football against Hamburger SV in the sixties and became a friend to Uwe Seeler, one of Germany's biggest football heroes of all times. Not sure though how many times he tells this story every day. Anyway he told us the way to Cardiff Bay (via Water Taxi) where the Doctor Who Experience turned out to be situated. The guys did not know the Doctor (yes, this happens quite often in Germany!), so I only visited the shop and bought Sonja a T-Shirt with a Weeping Angel on it.

I knew there had to be a TARDIS somewhere!

A Lego Dalek

Now this is art I can relate to!

Gentlemen in Pierhead Building

The Wales Millennium Centre

We loved this mirror!

The last stop of our journey was Oxford where we arrived quite late in the day, but were lucky enough that it was not raining, so we strolled through this wonderful city for a while. I cursed myself more than once for not spending a study year here in my youth, but then again these people would expect results (joke courtesy from Ghost Busters)! Anyway this was another place full of history, knowledge and diversity, and we loved every minute of it! Unfortunately our vacation turned to an end here, as we would have to fly back the next day, so after one last dinner we headed for our airport hotel.

August 29, 2014

Gentlemen on the Road, Part 5: Real World and Medieval Times

Somewhere close to Bath, in the little village of Box, you can find - if you really, really look for it - a world class music studio where lots and lots of great Rock and World Music albums have been recorded: Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios. Although we knew perfectly well that we would not be allowed to visit the inside of this gem we at least wanted to take a gander at the actual place. 

Afterwards we drove through Bradford-on-Avon where since medieval times you could cross river Avon and where we strolled around for a bit and had some sandwiches. 

Frank and his idol

Wine that rocks?!

The travel guide had one more surprise for us up its sleeve: the ruins of Farleigh Hungerford Castle, a few miles southwest of Bath. This time the weather did us the favor and exactly gave us the blue and grey skies that you need for such scenery. We were left speechless by the amazing atmosphere of this place (and the lead caskets in the crypt).

August 28, 2014

Gentlemen on The Road, Part 4: The Naked Truth, and a Roman Bath

(First of all my apologies for the long break between posts, but I was on a business trip and could not find the time to continue...).

On Wednesday we packed our things up again and continued our tour to our next destination Bath. Our first (and due to the weather conditions pretty much only) stop was in another ocean village, namely Ilfracombe. This is a nice little village that somehow got infamous for a statue in their harbor depicting Verity, being shown as a partially skinned pregnant woman, hiding the scales of justice behind her back, but raising her sword. I was never good at interpretation of art so I let this one go, but I am sure that there is some world-shaking wisdom in this...

Via the beautiful Exmoor National Park...

...we made our way to our next B&B, but not without our GPS leading us through the busiest construction area in Bristol, the downtown train station construction monster (we lost over one hour). 

The next day we visited Bath, an old Roman city that we all fell in love with instantly. Beautyful Victorian houses, a nice shopping mile (including a Record shop!), and most of all the amazing Roman bath that is worth every trip and even the high admission charge.

Figuring out what to do next

The man, the knight

Not sure what is so British about Vespa, but I still love it!

What a clash of cultures!

The thermal spring

An old Roman

A young Roman, speaking perfect English. There must have been a TARDIS around somewhere?!

August 27, 2014

Gentlemen on the Road, Part 3: Eden, Gravestones and Phone Boxes

Monday greeted us with lots and lots of rain, so on our further way the the Southwest we decided to spend some time indoors, at the Eden Project, where you can experience various climate zones in some kind of hothouse for people. This turned out to be a very bad idea, for various reason: it was horribly overpriced, due to the weather a handful or two other blokes had the same idea, it was indeed NOT inhouse as you had to walk forever from the car park to the entrance, and then again from the entrance to the bubbles, and there was hardly anything interesting to see. We do not want to comment on waiting in line for an hour to see a mechanical T-Rex roar...
Actually the most interesting and surprising exhibit...

After that disappointment weather improved, and we continued our way towards St Ives, a beautiful little village, with a great beach, and thus a lot of people. For some reason they do allow cars there, so while admiring the beauty of the place you might get run over.
Before we found our way to Boscastle for a fantastic B&B we took the opportunity to visit a little cove south of Tintagel. We just could not keep our eyes from the water splashing against the rocks. Beautiful!
The next morning we actually went for a hike! A real one! In fanatastic weather!! The path led us to the Boscastle cove and then upwards to a rock from where you had a fantastic view on the Atlantic Ocean. We continued following the footpath up and down at the coast and then over fields to an old church with a beautiful cemetery. We would feel all the climbing in our legs for days to come...
There are two persons on this picture I could have done without:
In the afternoon we went looking for Tintagel, supposedly King Arthur's birthplace. Not really worth going to, although the ruins of the castle look pretty nice. Unfortunately it was not easy finding signs leading to it, so we ended up on the other end of the town, where we could at least get a glimpse of it.
The day ended with a nice dinner at a local pub, followed by the only thing these red phone boxes are being used for nowadays: a Tourist photo.