I did a quick trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. By coincidence I was there during the Stratford Foodie Festival, which is a sister festival to the Oxford Foodie Festival that I attended earlier in this trip. Stratford is pretty touristy, but looks like it might be a great place to shop. I did buy a couple of books of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Here are some fairly random pictures…
On Saturday, I finally did a Cotswolds walk to the Broadway tower. This required a bit of navigating by train and bus to get to Broadway where the walk begins. I remain impressed by the British public transportation system. It’s easy and cheap to get anywhere nearby. To get to Broadway, I took the train first to Moreton-in-Marsh then a bus through some amazingly tiny back roads to Broadway. I had a few hours to spare in Moreton-in-Marsh. For future reference, it appears to be the place to go for antiques. There was some cool stuff there, but I didn’t need any more cool stuff.
Broadway was in the middle of some sort of festival, I’m not sure what for. Festivals are popular over here. I ate lunch then headed out on my hike. Hiking here is interesting. The paths you follow head out across pastures, through people’s back yards, wherever. Sometimes they’re not paths, just occasional signposts that reassure you that you’re going the right direction. It’s a bit of an adventure just walking.
The highlight of the walk is the Broadway Tower. It’s pretty fun and the view is tremendous. An unexpected bonus was being able to tour and underground cold war nuclear monitoring facility nearby. The hill near the tower has hosted a Royal Observer Corps facility since World War II. This monitoring facility is unique because it is still fully equipped.
On the hike down I struck up a conversation with Selina. It turns out she grew up four fields over from the Tower, but had since moved away. She was back visiting her step-mom. She has the interesting job of improvement specialist for the Scottish government. I’d never heard of the position and asked how it was going. She’s applying improvement science, also new to me, to healthcare. Interesting stuff.
Here are a few pictures from the day…
As promised, here are a few pictures from my walk along the Thames from Oxford to Abingdon. Continue reading “Thames Walk”
Here’s the next Blenheim Palace installment. These are pictures of the inside of the palace. It was opulent, as you might expect, but after you’ve seen a few of these places you see a fair amount of consistency. They definitely had their style for that time period. Some of the subtleties were interesting though. While there was the usual china collection, someone in the family was really into toy soldiers. This makes sense given the family history. Of course, no great house in England would be complete without a library. This one, called the long library, occupied the entire west side of the building. That works for me though some of the books were interesting; like a bound collection of Vanity Fair over several decades.
As mentioned in a previous post, the Duke and his family still live in some other portion of the building. Upstairs, I’m guessing. I’ve been working my way through a Cary Grant movie, The Grass is Greener, based on a similar theme. I say working my way through because I usually watch a bit before I get sleepy and go to bed. It’s pretty fun.
Here are the pictures…
I took 498 pictures during my visit to Blenheim Palace. They’re obviously not all worth looking at, but that’s still a lot of content. I’m going to break my visit up into a collection of posts to try to and give you a taste of several different aspects of the palace visit.
Blenheim is the current home of the 11th Duke of Marlborough. Dukes are next to royalty in the British aristocracy. There’s only a handful of non-royal Dukes and they’re ranked by how long their family has had a dukedom. It turns out that Marlborough is a relative young upstart having only been around since the 1700s. Blenheim (Woodstock) was given to John Churchill, the 1st Duke, by Queen Anne for winning the battle of Blenheim. You can spend hours poking around Wikipedia learning about this place and its history.
To begin, here are a few pictures around the outside of the palace. It’s big, really big.
While in Bristol, we visited the S.S. Great Britain. The Great Britain was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic. The ship is huge and the museum is well done. A good illustration of life aboard a ship in the early 1800s. I recommend First Class.
Here are a few highlights from the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. This museum is mostly filled with scientific equipment from the past for a variety of disciplines. Some of it’s pretty interesting including the first large reflecting telescope and Einstein’s blackboard. The museum has it’s challenges through. The displays are covered in do not touch signs, which makes photography a challenge, it’s a bit cramped and didn’t seem to be in the best repair. The front facade is being refurbished though. The scaffolding did provide a unique view of some of the statues out front. The location for this museum is prime. Right next to the Old Bodleian Library on Broad Street.