June 25, 2006

Market Harborough and the Grand Union Canal

This weekend, Kris and I visited our friend Ardis in Market Harborough in the Midlands. Her flat is overlooking the Grand Union Canal, with an awesome view of canal boats. She took us to admire the roses in Welland Park, enjoy ice cream and later a drink while overlooking the Foxton Locks, hike to Gumley (Saxon Village), admire an old church in Great Bowden (alas, the Frank Hayes gallery was closed), and hike a few miles on the Brampton Valley "Rail to Trail" (Market Harborough to Northampton). We had a wonderful and relaxing weekend.

June 20, 2006

Warwick Castle, Shakespeare's Museum, Oxford

My friend Sheila and her daughter Pooja (visiting from Atlanta) decided to try Premium Tours. In one long day we visited Warwick Castle (witnessing 4 parachuters on the ride up), toured the Shakespeare Birthplace Museum & Gardens in Stratford Upon Avon, ate lunch in a 15th century inn and enjoyed a champagne reception and tour of Christchurch College in Oxford which inspired Alice Through the Looking Glass and the Harry Potter Warthogs dining hall. We really enjoyed this tour and opportunity to see so much in one day. Our only change would have been to grab a bite to eat in Stratford Upon Avon instead of the pub lunch - which would have given us a little more time at the other sights.

June 18, 2006

Regents Canal Ramble

The Regents Canal Ramble got off to a late start because of tube troubles. The walk from Warwick Avenue station to Camden Market via the Regents Canal was very scenic. We especially enjoyed the colorful long boats, the enormous mansions and the zoo. We were hungry by the time we reached Camden Market and decided to opt out of continuing the walk in favor of a leisurely lunch and shopping.

June 03, 2006

Devon - Dartmoor

We spent the weekend in Devon with our friends Cathy and Leighton, their two young terriers (Pippin and Barney), and 2 cats. They live within a short walk of their village shops and beautiful trails. They drove us around the Dartmoor moors showing us settlements from the Bronze Age, historic pubs, an Artist Guild, and the Postbridge clapper bridge. The existence of this bridge was first recorded in 1380 and is the largest complete clapper bridge (larger ones are partially or completely destroyed).

The highlight was our hike in Dartmoor National Park. I heard my first cuckoo bird (sounds just like the clock) from Wistman's Wood. We then made a perilous crossing across the river. We continued along Drake's Leat (small aqueduct) which was constructed in 1591 to bring water from Dartmoor to Plymouth. At one of the crossings, an adder sat blissfully sunning herself (Cathy did some research and reported that it must be a female by its coloring) . The adder was actually quite small but I tried to make her look like a python in my photo!