England 2015, Day Seventeen

(May 18, 2015)

We left Swallow Barn early in the day, after a lovely breakfast of toast, jam, and berries — just the right way to get us started.

We attempted to see Glastonbury Tor, but were defeated by the enormous amount of tourism and sheer lack of assistance in getting around the town. We’ll have to see it some other time (some other trip).

Instead we headed over to Bath and had lunch at Clayton’s Kitchen (at The Porter). This is a wonderful (posh) restaurant right in the heart of town. They serve locally sourced, seasonal food prepared superbly. J. started with tomato soup, I had a salad with heirloom beets and candied walnuts. For my main, I had grilled sea bass with crab linguini, and J. had a chicken and bacon sandwich. We were both delighted with our meals, which were perfectly prepared and had outstanding flavor. Highly recommended.

Satiated, we walked to the Roman Baths. This site, a very well preserved structure is well worth the visit. There is a great interactive visitor’s center, with loads of information about the baths and their role in the town and daily life. While they were more crowded than I like, the Baths were really great, and well worth a visit.

a male gorgon -- this image hung at the apex of the entrance

a male gorgon — this image hung at the apex of the entrance

a glimpse of the baths

a glimpse of the baths

This was a big car day, and we ended up in Cirencester (siren sess -ter) at the close of the day. A quick stop to drop off our bags in our room at the Fleece, and we headed out for dinner at . . . a place closed on Mondays!  (DUH dum dummmmmm) A quick reconnoiter, and we instead went to Piazza Fontana.

We really needed something different, and Piazza Fontana filled the bill. I started with grilled sardines in a garlic sauce, and followed that with prawns and monkfish in a creamy tomato garlic sauce. Delicious!  J. had the caprese salad and spaghetti alla bolognese. Delicious! We had a lovely chat with the manager about Italy and our travels their (he was from Sardina). All in all, a great night.

The Fleece at Cirencester, btw, is lovely. Billed as an “Inn of Characters”, the rooms are well appointed (if not spacious), and the beds VERY comfortable. Moreover, the windows open. Everyone (especially the night porter, Keith) were wonderfully polite and interesting to talk with. And breakfast is included!

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