Glastonbury Abbey

I loved this place. It was full of interesting things to look at and also good for just sitting quietly. I went first thing in the morning. There were maybe a dozen other people there, but as it’s a big site (there’s some gardens off to the side), it felt more deserted than crowded. As the entry ticket lets you come and go throughout the day, I went back just before the last entry and stayed until closing.

The first thing you see on entry is the Lady Chapel.

The monastery that was here dates back to Saxon times, the 7th or 8th century, and there was a church here before that. It was an important–and influential–institution in Medieval Christian England.

But in 1184 there was big fire that burnt down many of the monastery’s buildings, and the old church as well. As a replacement, the monks wanted to build a great church but they ran out of money. Then they discovered the tomb of King Arthur and his second wife! Which brough pilgrims (and money). Who says God doesn’t perform miracles.

(That is what happened.) (Also maybe some political stuff going on.) (And I want to know about his first wife.)

The ruins of the great church, but that’s not the entry to the church. Where I’m standing is the nave (what you might think of as the body of the church, where people sit). The arches are the entry to the choir (or quire).

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One of my favourite parts of travelling is that moment when the plane comes out of the clouds, the bus turns into the main street, you step out of the train station and see for the first time where you’re going to be for the next few days. Sometimes I think “You’re lovely.” Sometimes I think “Meh”. And once I thought “Now this looks fun.” That one? Glastonbury, where Christian meets pagan, and the results is… interesting.

So let’s start with the Tor, because I did. Climbing up the many steps just before sunset. (300 apparently, more than Bath Abbey Tower! Not as narrow and steep though.) It’s the tower of 14th century church on a hill. It’s also the entry to the land of the bed. The home of a fairy king. Avalon. The resting place of the Holy Grail. The source of two springs, one red, one white. (That one is actually true.)

It does have interesting lighting.

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Just some photos of Bristol

I was only in Bristol I could use it as a base to visit some nearby places so I didn’t have time to look around the city. Although I came back from Caerleon mid-afternoon so I had enogh time to head over to the harbour to have a look over SS Great Britain before the sun set, and the day I left I took some photos around the Old City (where I was staying) and Castle Park.

This is a 1878 steam crane. You can go in and look around it.

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A Visit To Bath

This is Bath, the largest city in Somerset, with a population of about 100,000.

In Georgian times it was very popular as a spa town and a lot of its architecture dates from then.

Not this though. Bath Abbey was built in the late 15th/early 16th century, replacing a much larger Norman cathedral. This building is big, but apparently it would easily fit inside its predecessor. Also, I’m told it should be a priory church not an abbey, but Queen Elizabeth said it was an abbey and so it’s an abbey. It also has no earls buried in it. (I asked, which is why I found out about the priory church thing and also earls generally preferred to be buried on their own land.) There were 3829 other people buried under the floor though. (“Were” because the floor was recently replaced and any remains found were reburied in a nearby cemetery.)

Also, the tower has 212 steps. I know this because just inside the door is a piece of paper that says so. It also has a list warnings and a list of health conditions that if you suffer from you shouldn’t climb up the 212 steps, and next to that another piece of paper that you sign to say you’ve read and accept everything on the first piece of paper.

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On the road: Tintagel to Bristol

I want to write more about Tintagel (there’s some interesting things going on when you start looking) but I need to get to Bristol. This requires catching four buses, with three changeovers. I could have done it in three but there was a town on the route I wanted to around.

The first stop is at Camelford. It’s a small place. Just this main street (and houses, schools, industrial areas etc). As previously noted, it’s a place to change buses. In particular, between bus 95 (which runs along the north coast) and buses to everywhere else in the world.

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