Thursday, August 17, 2006


Today I travelled from Canterbury to Salisbury( This was much better than the journey from Cambridge to Canterbury because:

* I got a seat on the train
* I didn't have to travel from station to station on the Underground - I had to go from Waterloo East to Waterloo, which basically involves walking about 200m
* They had a buffet service on both trains
* Both trains ran express.

Funny that a couple of days ago when I was desperate enough to eat railway food, there wasn't any on offer - today, when I had a full English brekky so that I could avoid railway food, it was available in abundance.

The train trip was long but quite pleasant. I read a bit, looked out the window a bit, knitted some more of my shrug, then went back to looking out the window. The highlight of the trip: one of the stops en route to Salisbury was at Basingstoke. The little bit of it I could see from the train was pretty ordinary looking - I wasn't sure if Basinstoke was the cure for Margaret's madness or the cause!!

Salisbury is very pretty but they obviously don't have access to many cartographers. It takes me half an hour of wandering around the streets before I find the TIC, then it takes me another half an hour to find my way up to the B&B where I'm staying. In my wanderings, I encounter a very stressed gentleman who asks me where the bookie's shop is. I have no idea where anything is, I don't even know where we are (other than 'in Salisbury'). I hope he eventually found someone who could either tell him where to put a bet on or he found his way home.

Accommodation in Salisbury is on a par with hen's teeth. Luckily I got jack of wandering about and stopped for a quick bite of lunch before I went in to the TIC to see if they could do me a booking - it took over an hour for me to get everything sorted out. The girl rang seven places (steadily ascending in price) before she found me a room. I now have pretty much the same thing I had in Canterbury (single room, shared bathroom) at almost double the price. The B&B is late 1800s and although it is in much better repair than the Tudor Rose, I don't feel nearly as much at home here.

Because I was having so much strife with accommodation here, I booked ahead for the next few nights. I will be going to Penzance tomorrow to stay at the Union Hotel for two nights, then to St Austell (near the Eden Project). Prices are similar to Salisbury - maybe I should have told the Penzance TIC that I am an orphan...

I did manage to get in a bit of sightseeing before everything closed. The Church of St Thomas ( is on the way to the Cathedral. It isn't particularly exciting, except for the mediaeval Doom (a painting of the Last Judgement). It was whitewashed out (bloody Cromwell again!), but the whitewasher was obviously shagged out after a hard day smashing up statues with a crowbar and the Doom was recently restored. It's very impressive.

The Cathedral ( is open until 7pm in summer - I got there a bit before 5 and managed to nab the last spot on a tower tour. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to do much else, but the tour was absolutely unreal! We went through the ceilings, up into the bell tower and ended up right at the bottom of the spire looking out over the city. It was a nice change from tombs, stained glass and smashed-up statues - I'll nick back tomorrow to see the Magna Carta. The Cathedral are also the proud owners of a 13th Century clock which was worth a look - it still works! Bit of excitement for a dull day.

Tomorrow, I'm hiring a bike and riding out to Stonehenge - hopefully I'll get a chance to make a post before I have to hie me off down the coast to Cornwall (pieces of eight! pieces of eight!).


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