Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vicarious Tourism: Walking Through Winchester

So today the sun was shining, the weather was fine, the grilled cheese sandwiches were in the cool bag, and we went to Winchester. Honestly; we couldn't have picked a day more atmospheric for some sightseeing and wandering around outdoors in a historic city centre. Not to mention the great open-air market stalls we saw all over. Bliss.

The bunting from the Olympics was still all over the place, so it lent an even more idyllic atmosphere to a day that felt like we were away on holiday. First stop? The city museum! It was free and full of all sorts of odds and ends to explore...
...including this fun bollard!

Ethan explores history by touching a Viking tombstone.

I think maybe he loves himself a bit too much...
After shuffling and schmoozing around the medieval floor, we made our way back to ground level to indulge in the best part of any family history trip for us: dressing up.

My lovely little newsies.

Just, you know, hanging out in an Edwardian apothecary's. As we do.
After the City Museum it was off across the green and into Winchester Cathedral: site of the buried remains of one Miss Jane Austen. Not to mention some very lovely architecture (of which Ethan's favourite part of was the cavernous, echo-providing space). I'll be honest: I know it said "Cathedral" in the title, but this place blew us away with how big it was when we finally came upon it! Though they have had over 1000 years to keep improving on just how much awe it manages to inspire.

like the inside of an overturned ship

good old medieval floor tiles

the flooded crypt made for a fun photo
We had a great time walking around and taking pictures. Ethan mostly just enjoyed getting to walk around. No joke, people: this kid is getting a baby leash for his birthday so we can let him wander around without inducing permanent spine curvature! He was toddling down the nave, plodding up staircases, and stomping over centuries of the dearly departed. I don't think he's walked this much in a single day before in his life.

After the Cathedral, we made our way off to the Great Hall and the Round Table. Yes. That Round Table. As in Arthur, Bedevere, Launcelot, Gawain, Galahad, Tristram, Kay, and all the rest. Of course, the Tudor rose in the middle suggests it was made a bit late for Arthur to have pulled up a chair...

Also, we unleashed the Attack Baby in the gardens.

We tried heading up to the military museums to be huge nerds and channel our inner Sean Bean (as Richard Sharpe) whilst in the Rifles museum. Turns out we'd just missed last entry by about 4 minutes, so when I bring Victoria (take note, please, Midget) we'll come back here and do a full re-con for the Husband. We did, however, have lots of fun watching Ethan learn to drop rocks in the fountains for a while.

Then, it was back to the car and down the M3 for a drive home to some lovely mac & cheese for dinner. For what was basically a micro-mini holiday, Winchester was well worth the drive and its sites were well worth the cost. Some spectacular summer weather helped in no small measure, as well. Until our next adventure!

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