Friday, 3 January 2020

Churchill Way East – Churchill Place (Basingstoke, England)

My plan today was to take the train to Winchester and visit the town’s cathedral and castle. All went well until I tried to find the best route to the train station. Because of the large roundabout, getting across the street is difficult and then it’s a 10 minute walk to the station – even though I can see the train tracks a short distance away. My mistake was to trust Google to help me get there. It took 20 minutes of walking, and back-tracking to find the station.

Once I arrived at the station it was easy to board the train for my short journey to Winchester. The day was turning out to be sunny and cool which was fine with me. My walk to the cathedral was easy from the Winchester station and found myself in front of the cathedral in less than 10 minutes.

I knew that the cathedral would be big but wasn’t quite prepared for what I saw as I approached the building. I knew it was one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, and it is still mostly intact. It was when I learned that Winchester was one of the first royal centers in England that it made sense why such a large cathedral was built.

There were not many visitors while I was there so it was easy to move about and take pictures. There are a number of interesting parts of the cathedral to see. Jane Austin’s grave, the Winchester Bible, and the oldest intact choir. The height and depth of the cathedral was amazing. I took a picture of a 13th century wooden bench that was on display which I found fascinating to have such an old piece of furniture still intact.

From the cathedral I walked to the castle, or what there was left of it. Inside the remaining section was a round table inspired by the legendary King Arthur, though the age of the table is from the middle ages and not from an earlier time. Of course, to attract tourists, signs to this location promoted the round table as something that should be seen white in Winchester.

As I approached the castle I started talking with a couple who were also visiting. We had a very long chat about English history, the monarchy, politics and travel. After we parted ways I walked to the castle only to learn that it was closed today due to a private party reserving the space. I guess I might return over the next couple of days, time permitting.

On the way back to the station I stopped by a store and found a few items to complete my grocery list. I had two full bags when I left Waitrose last night but still needed a few more things. Anything left over I can take to my next Airbnb stay.

Once I got to the Basingstoke station I decided to walk through the large mall that separated the station from where I’m staying, figuring there must be a shorter way, and there was. I was surprised that I was able to find the path that would take me to the walkway that extended from the mall to where I was staying.

Since I hadn’t had anything for lunch, I had a quick snack when I returned to the flat then took a nap. After my nap I posted an update to my travel blog and made a reservation for a two-night Hilton stay when I return to London on the 9th. I was able to use Hilton Honor points to cover my two-night stay. The hotel sits on top of Paddington Station where I’ll take the Heathrow Express to the airport on the 11th.

After preparing dinner, and doing one more load of wash, I watched a few episodes of Merlin before bed. Tomorrow I’ll take the train to Salisbury to see their castle. I’m trying to decide if I want to see Stonehenge which is near to the town of Salisbury. We will see.

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