Thursday, July 12, 2012

England/France Trip 2012: Day 5

July 2, Day 5
To me, this was the best day of the trip. I’ll give you the two main reasons why: castles and treacle sponge cake. Intrigued? Well those come later in on in the day.

On the way to Bath

The day started off sort of early because we had to get the rental car in order to do what we had planned for the day. Once we got the rental car, we were off. I don’t remember much of the car ride to the country-side because I tend to fall asleep on long car rides. My mom says I didn’t miss much, just lots of rain (which it dad every single day while we were in England).

Roman Bath entrance

Our first destination was Bath. Bath, if you didn’t know, was established by the Romans as a spa. They built baths around hot springs. The interesting thing about this is that some of the architecture still exists as well as the hot springs! The water still flows and you can still see the steam rising up. My mom and I took a little walk through all the exhibits of Bath and at the end you could taste the water from the bath. I didn’t try it, but my mom, who is much more adventurous than I am, did.

Part of the bath, you can't see it, but there is steam rising

The Temple Pediment: This was at the front of the Temple of Sulis Minerva and was supported by four massive columns. It looked down on visitors in the Temple Courtyard from a height of 15 meters. Its powerful imagery dominated the scene.

The little town surrounding the hot springs is quite cute. My mom and I had lunch in a little pub with some really delicious food. I had this jerk chicken that was the most flavorful jerk chicken I have ever come across. And after lunch we went to a little fudge shop where I got chocolate covered marshmallows. I know it’s a simple little thing, but I haven’t had a marshmallow in ages!

A building in Bath

Sally Lunn made big buns.

They were at least 6 inches in diameter (at the very least) and about 4-5 inches tall.

Once the marshmallows had been eaten, we were off again, this time to Thornbury! This is where the trip gets really exciting, well at least for me anyways. Again, I slept most of the way there, but I was awake for the last 30 minutes to see the gorgeous green country-side. Seeing the rolling hills of green is such a stark contrast to the barren desert that is Colorado.

The reason why going to Thornbury is so exciting is because for one night, my mom and I got to stay in a real live castle! It was pure magic. On the outside, the castle is so pretty and tall with beautiful stone walls. Yes, that’s right, I called a stone beautiful. And inside the grounds were something else! Everything was so green and perfect. Guests are allowed to explore every inch of the castle, which is pretty much what my mom and I did. We went up many mysterious spiral stair cases and looked in all the public rooms. Everything put me in awe!

Driving up to Thornbury Castle.

The entrance.

One of the many spiral stair cases (apparently I'm so pathetic that I can get motion sickness from going up these kinds of stairs)

On the castle grounds. See how green everything is? ( find the greenness of some places truly fascinating)

We got to stay in the Anne Boleyn room, a room where Anne Boleyn supposedly stayed. When we opened the door (the key was no ordinary key either, it was one of those old fashioned keys, like the ones in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – I found that so awesome!) my jaw literally dropped. The room was so fantastic. There was a huge window overlooking the main square of the grounds and another castle tower. The beds were soft and comfy with giant fluffy comforters. There was even a fireplace! A real fireplace with a real fire roaring away in it. I welcomed that fireplace like an old friend. I was even able to stand upright in it (and I’m 5’2”). It was just so wonderful!

The beautiful Anne Boleyn room.

The fireplace. (we kept it roaring the entire night- it was wonderful)

The courtyard outside our room.

Isn't this magnificent?

When we were done exploring the castle my mom and I drove up to a nearby town for some dinner. All of the shops were sadly closed, so we didn’t do much exploring in that town, but we did manage to find some pubs that were open. We ended up going to a place called the Swan Inn, and let me tell you, this is where the trip gets beyond fantastic. So we sit down and order our food. I wasn’t too terrible hungry so I just ordered a ham sandwich and my mom got some kind of deconstructed shepherd’s pie. My goodness was that thing huge. My mom described it as a meal fit for a 500 pound man. Anyways, while I was eating my dinner, the dessert menu caught my eye. I took one look and saw this golden cake with some kind of syrup drizzled on top. I asked my mom if we could order it for dessert, and I’m just going to say that this dessert changed my life entirely. This has now become my new favorite dessert of all time (it was so good I don’t even remember what my favorite dessert was before this!) When the dessert reached the table, my eyes went bug-eyed. It looked so good. I let my mom have the first bite. Man, do I wish she had gotten her own, because as soon as I took my first bite, my eyes rolled in the back of my head. It was so moist, and hot, and soft, and syrupy and just… pure deliciousness! I kept secretly wanting my mom to stop taking little nibbles of it because I wanted it all to myself. Needless to say, I all but licked the plate clean, and trust me, if I were in a private setting, I would have!

The reason for my existence: Treacle Sponge Pudding

It is now my goal to find the perfect recipe for Treacle Sponge Pudding. I will not rest until I have found it. Sadly, most of the recipes I have found so far ask for golden syrup, something I can’t find anywhere!!!! Ok tantrum over. Sorry.

Like I said before, going to Thornbury was definitely the highlight of the entire trip.

And once more because I'm in love!

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