Monday 4 September 2006

Summer holiday

A few weeks ago Gillian and I went on our summer holidays. Certainly for me it was the first "proper" holiday I've had for ages (the last time I went away other than Christmas/easter/weekends was to see my uncle in Cape Town, and before that I think it was probably before I went to University...) so it was much looked forward to.

We decided to go hostelling in Somerset and ended up visiting Cheddar, Minehead and Bath in sequence. Unfortunately this plan did rely rather heavily on driving, so the fact that our car was forced into the garage didn't help things (more on that later). However in the end we hired a Peugot 206 at a fairly reasonable cost.

I took the usual selection of photos.

Cheddar turned out to be slightly disappointing. While the main attraction (Cheddar Gorge and Caves) was suitably impressive (if hideously overpriced) the town as a whole was quite dull, especially in the evenings. We also went on a short bike ride from Cheddar (having strapped our bikes to the back of the car). The second evening in Cheddar we decided to go to Weston-Super-Mare to soak up the tackiness and find some food.

En route to Minehead we stopped off at Wells and Glastonbury to visit the cathedral and (ruined) abbey respectively; both were interesting.

We got to Minehead after a fun drive (forget any pretences of going anywhere quickly in Somerset) and made it in time to book dinner at the idyllic Minehead YHA. It is built on a hill and access to it is via a series of forest tracks. It is probably the most welcoming and pleasant YHA I have been to, and everything was excellent from the food, to the atmosphere, and the no shoes inside policy.

Next morning we were slightly delayed as Gillian wasn't feeling particularly well, but we made it to Exmoor National Park and embarked on a longish walk (made longer by us completely losing the path and spending quite a while tramping through long grass/heathland).

After a return to the car and cream tea we returned to the youth hostel having decided that the food was too good not to experience again.

The following day we went on a steam train on the West Somerset Railway (good choice, since it rained - the only time while we were there). Then we drove to Bath, got lost in Bath, found the youth hostel, and went to meet some family friends of mine for dinner.

Having committed to returning the car to the hire centre by close of business on the Friday we then had only a few hours to "do" Bath. We went to the Jane Austen centre for a well-presented exhibition, and some excellent tea.

Then we went to the (again, outrageously overpriced) Roman Baths, which, while good, was slightly rushed. We also made the mistake of "taking the waters" - don't be left under the impression that they taste at all pleasant!

Then it was time to make our way home, which we did, uneventfully.

All in all, a good simple week away.

Posted by Dominic at 18:50
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