Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Great Britian: Day 2 Torquay, Devon & Cornwall

Torquay - the Grand Hotel

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This was a beautiful, restored hotel right on the seaside.  Originally built on the seafront in 1881, at the terminus of the Great Western Railway, it was named the Great Western Hotel after the railway. Unfortunately, I have no picture.  A note about that:  I took my camera and a video-cam (very new back then).  Unfortunately, I have the videos I took, but no way to view or print.  This picture is from the internet.

We had a room at the top of the hotel, which probably was originally a servants room, but beautifully refurbished as a guest room.  One of the best features I enjoyed in most all of the rooms we stayed was the heated towel bars.  Rinse out your undies and hang them on a towel bar & they were dry in the morning.

One of their most famous guests, Agatha Christie, was born in Torquay on September 15, 1890. She and Archibald Christie, a young army officer were married in 1914 and honeymooned at the hotel.   

After stowing our luggage in our rooms, we re-boarded the coach to travel to the village of Kenn in Devon. 

Kenn, St. Andrew Church & Ley Arms

We were given a tour of the Parish Church of St. Andrew, Kenn by the Bellringer a very old man (he was in his 90's and had been a bellringer since he was 7) his son and grandson are also bellringers. He let me ring the church bells!

The church was built over several different periods having been chartered by King Stephen in 1200, the baptismal font remains from this period, between 1280-1300 the first major changes were made to the church and extensive renovations were made and battlements erected in the 15th Century during the Wars of the Roses.

After our visit to St. Andrew's, we walked to the Ley Arms for a wonderful dinner.  The Ley (pronounced Lee) Arms was built in 1290 to house the stonemasons who were building the parish church.  Squire Ley and his family won the land & inn in a gambling debt and the pub has been called the Ley Arms ever since.  

My mom had her first mis-hap here.  She left her purse (including her passport) at the restaurant.  Our tour guide called the Inn and they made arrangements to meet us as we traveled by on our way to Plymouth and Cornwall.  Calamity averted this time!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Travels with "Auntie" Mom

My mom loved to travel, always had a good time and enjoyed life to the fullest!


2001 England, Wales, Ireland & Scotland


My first adventure with my mother was quite eventful.  We were booked with Insight Vacations, a tour group I highly recommend.  We flew into Gatwick Airport, quite a ways from London, but the trip into the City was interesting.  We flew in early so had 2 nights in London at the Kensington Hilton which is located in a very walkable section of the City.

We met our fellow travelers at a reception that evening and hooked up with some delightful people.  I recommend traveling with Aussies and Tasmanians whenever possible.  They liked to drink, eat, sing and have fun.


The next morning after a wonderful full English Breakfast, my favorite meal, we were on our way to Stonehenge, Cerne Abbas, Dorchester, Thomas Hardy's grave in Stinisford and ending in Torquay at the Hotel Grand.


I was a little underwhelmed by Stonehenge, we were given self-audio tours, and it was extremely crowded.  The audio tour was not all that well done and I had to try 3 of them before I found one that worked.  You are unable to get close to the stones because of the amount of people who visit, they have barricades up to keep the tourists at a rather great distance so it wasn't really possible to get a good picture.  Those above are postcards I purchased at the visitor's centre.

Cerne Abbas:

Again, a disappointment.  At the time we visited it was so overgrown you could barely make out what you might be seeing.  Located in Dorset, it is a 180' tall figure of a naked man (with a large erection) etched to a width of 1' into the chalk hill.  It was originally believed to be an ancient figure such as the Uffington Horse which has been determined to be 3,000 years old.  However, it is now thought to have been carved into hill during the time of the English Civil War as a satire on Oliver Cromwell during the 1600's.  The picture above was located on the Internet.

Thomas Hardy Country - Stinisford Saint Michael Church

Dorset was very interesting, all the buildings, including new construction, have to conform to a building code, which means all have thatched roofs to match the the original buildings.

We had a delightful "Plowman's" lunch in Dorset.  We visited St. Michael Church where Thomas Hardy was a parishioner, as was his father and grandfather.  His ashes are interred in Westminister Abbey in London, but his heart is buried at Saint Michael, in the grave of Emma his first wife, who died in 1912.  His second wife, Florence was also buried in the same grave in 1937.

The church was constructed in the 13th century, and the oldest feature is a Saxon relief of St. Michael.  Originally located above the west door, it was removed and installed in the south aisle, to protect the oldest feature from the weather.

The countryside was very beautiful as we made our way to the sea and Torquay, where we would spend two nights at the Grand Hotel.

Great Britian: Day 2 Torquay, Devon & Cornwall

Torquay - the Grand Hotel This was a beautiful, restored hotel right on the seaside.  Originally built on the seafront in 1881, at t...