Winchester, Afternoon Tea, and a Concert

28 Jul

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What a great combination for a very enjoyable day!  We decided to sleep in a little this morning since we had such an early day yesterday.  We ate breakfast then caught the tube to the train station for our trip to Winchester.  It was about an hour by train and once again it was a feast for the eyes!  The weather is gorgeous today (and has been every day so far).  Still hasn’t rained in London and the sun was out, but the temperature today was only about 76 degrees (one of the warmer days we’ve had).

Once we arrived in Winchester, we asked for directions to the town centre.  Sarah had told us about a walk through the town and knew we would enjoy it.  We made our way through the beautiful little town and looked into some of the shops.  Before we started our walk, we decided to eat an early lunch since we had reservations for an afternoon tea back in London at 4:30 pm.  Jimmy had been wanting to try fish and chips and we found a pub near where our walk would begin.  Pubs are not bars!  They are neighborhood restaurants, usually owned by a family and run as a family business.  They do sell alcohol if you want it, but they don’t push it and many people eat in pubs and don’t drink.  It’s a place where you often find families eating.  We both ordered fish and chips (which are traditionally served with green peas).  It was good and fortified us for the walk ahead.

The John Keats walk starts in the town centre and weaves through the little streets, past some very old buildings,  past the house that Jane Austen died in, and past the cathedral where Jane Austen is buried.  It follows the path through town, past Winchester college, then leaves town and goes into the countryside.  The path then follows along a beautiful sparkling clear stream through a region called the water meadows.  It was absolutely gorgeous and what a gorgeous day for a walk.  When we got to the end of the walk, we cut back into town and followed the streets back to the train station.  I took lots of pictures and would love to go back to Winchester some time in the future to spend more time exploring this quaint little town.

We bought bottled water and a cookie from a lady that lived along the walking trail.  She sold baked goods, sandwiches, snacks and drinks right out of her kitchen window since the trail ran right alongside her house.  She was so friendly (all the locals we’ve met so far are exceptionally warm and friendly) and asked us about our visit so far and about what we had planned for the next few days.  The white chocolate raspberry cookie that we bought from her was delicious.  She kept her kitchen window open (there are no flies here!!!) and you just walk up to the window and ring a little bell for her to come.

We made it back to the train station with about 15 minutes to spare before our train was to depart for London.  We were sitting on the bench, enjoying the nice cool breeze, the low humidity and the high of only 76 degrees.  We were talking about how nice the weather had been and how much we were enjoying the cool temperatures.  The temperatures here remind me of the fall temperatures at home.  As we were commenting on the pleasant weather, we heard this announcement come across the Public Address system at the train station.  “This is an extreme heat notice.  Please be aware of the extreme heat today and be advised that persons should carry bottled water with them onto the trains.  If you are feeling ill, please seek assistance immediately from station personnel.  Please do not board the train if you are feeling ill from the heat.  This could cause unnecessary delays in receiving treatment. ”   We looked at each other and said, Are they kidding?  It’s 76 degrees!  Heck, I’ve mowed the yard for hours at a time in the blazing hot sun with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees with 98% humidity or more!  This is nothing!  We got a big laugh out of it.  We said if they think this is hot, they should come to Kentucky, we’ll show them what hot really  is!

We got back to London, cleaned up real quick, changed our clothes and caught the tube over to the Langham Hotel for our afternoon tea.  What a delight that was!  I think we should definitely adopt the practice of afternoon tea in America!  It took about an hour and a half to enjoy all the delights they brought out to us.  After picking the tea we wanted (we went for Earl Grey since that was the only one we knew anything about!) they started bringing out the delicacies.  The first item was a little panecotta with some type of tart glaze on top.  It was delicious.  Next they brought out a selection of sandwiches all on different types of breads.  There were cucumber and cream cheese which was my favorite, chicken with rocket (or arugula), tuna, egg salad, and salmon with some delicious  type of spread.  After that came the warm scones (two kinds) and then a selection of four different desserts.  We thought that was it, but then they brought us each a little fresh berry tart as the finale.  It was so relaxing and so enjoyable.  They kept the tea coming and every time we’d drink our cups down, they’d come around and go through the process of pouring us more.  They would get out a little strainer, prop it on our cups and pour the tea out of the pot through the strainer, straining out the leaves as the tea poured through.  I think this would be a big hit in the US!

We left there and took the tube to St. Martin in the Fields Church, where we had tickets for a classical music concert by the famous Belmont Ensemble of London.  It was held in the beautiful, historic St. Martin in the Fields Church by candlelight.  The concert consisted of pieces by Handel, Bach, and Vivaldi.  The concert ended at about 9:30 pm, so we caught the tube back to our hotel.  As we exited the train station, we spotted a McDonald’s and decided to both get a cheeseburger and fries.  Nothing like a good ole hamburger and fries to end the day!


3 Responses to “Winchester, Afternoon Tea, and a Concert”

  1. thecozylittlekitchen July 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    What a perfect day!!! I’d love to incorporate “afternoon tea” in my daily schedule, as well. :)

  2. Sarah July 28, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    I think I left my heart in Winchester…(sigh)…

    I enjoyed the picture of Dad holding his tea cup immensely! Sounds like a wonderful day! You guys just aren’t going to want to come home!

  3. Gayle/Mom July 29, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    You are making me want to take a trip……….especially to Winchester. it is lovely! Jimmy is a good sport! Imagine, High Tea in London. the food looks delicious.

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