A Saturday in Salisbury

Another day, another adventure.  Last Saturday, I ventured a bit north to Salisbury.  Officially a city in 1220, Salisbury has so much history to offer visitors.


Two of my course mates, Shaddy and Bianca, and I set off early Saturday morning for the train station.  After a quick stop in Eastleigh to change trains, we headed through the countryside towards Salisbury.  With the more-than-average rain we’ve been having, the fields and forests contained lush, green life.

Unfortunately, with rain in the forecast for later that day, we knew we’d be lucky to just stay dry under the cold, gray clouds.   As we left the Salisbury train station, we found a few different rivers running through the city.  There are actually 5 rivers come together, or, the confluence (word of the day!) of 5 rivers.

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Where there’s a river, there’s a path, which is usually prettier than the main streets.  So we followed and, just like Winchester, the high waters rushed by us.



With a few twists and turns, we came across the Salisbury Cathedral, the main reason for our visit.  Completed in 1258, the Salisbury Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the UK and also an impressive example of early English architecture.


From a distance, the grandness of the cathedral was overwhelming.  Taking a closer look, the amount of detail on the exterior was extraordinary with statues lining the walls.

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Walking in, we were blown away by the openness of the cathedral.  We explored the tombs of past bishops and other dignitaries as well as ancient devices such as a working clock dating back to 1386.   Another impressive item was the organ, stretching around the cathedral.

IMG_1846 IMG_1849 IMG_1853The longer we were in the cathedral, the more the sun started to break through the clouds outside.  To our advantage, we were able to experience the beauty of the stained glass windows from within.

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We noticed a sign that said the Queen of England visited Salisbury Cathedral during her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.  This was picture worthy, of course, because I didn’t know the next time I’d be at a place where the Queen had recently been!

IMG_1867Walking out of the cathedral was joyous as we were welcomed by blue skies and sunshine.  Though there were absolutely zero warmth from that big ball of fire in the sky, I’ll take sunshine over clouds any day!   The sunshine gave us a whole different perspective of the cathedral’s exterior, making it even more magnificent than when we first arrived.

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From the cathedral, we took a walk around the city.  Since it was Saturday, there was a large open market in the main square, which included produce, meats and cheese, freshly made donuts, clothes and shoes and everything else in-between.

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After a bite at a delicious Italian restaurant, we noticed the weather was taking a turn for the worst – dark clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped.  So, we headed back to the train station to make our way back to Southampton.

In 2010, I visited Salisbury on a tour to Stonehenge.  The only site we saw during this tour was the cathedral so it was nice to see a little more of the city.  Though small, Salisbury still had a unique charm to it.


Off to the Isle of Wight

With a week of break ahead of us, a group of my classmates and I decided to take advantage of another sunny day and head to the Isle of Wight.

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The Isle of Wight is England’s largest island (which is funny since England is an island itself but, I digress). Queen Victoria chose the Isle of Wight as her summer retreat and would spend periods of time at the Osborne House.  The Beatles even included this island in their song, “When I’m Sixty-Four”.   Also, since it is an island, you can’t forget about its boat making history and dinosaur fossils.  For a small island, it has a lot to offer.

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Unfortunately, Mondays in January are not the time to visit the Isle of Wight since most of the museums and shops were closed.  Nevertheless, we took the quick 25-minute ferry ride from Southampton to the city of East Cowes.

IMG_1693Once off the ferry, we started exploring the town.  As most of the shops were closed, we stayed close to the shoreline.


We ran into a few quick rain showers but it eventually cleared up and the rest of the day consisted of sunshine and steady temperatures.

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From East Cowes we grabbed the 1 bus and headed to the main city on the island – Newport.  Here, we found the action – people out and about working, shopping and going about their day-to-day business.  I must say I was quite surprised to see so many people.  On a map, the island looks pretty small.  But, in reality, looks can be deceiving!

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After wondering the streets and finding a beautiful church, we settled on some pizza and pasta before grabbing the 7 bus and heading to Alum Bay on the far west side of the island.

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From our estimation, it should have taken about an hour from Newport to Alum Bay.  Unfortunately, this didn’t happen.  At one point, the bus driver came over the intercom to say our bus wasn’t working properly and she’d have to shut it off.  A few minutes later she had it going again and we proceed…but only for a few more minutes.  Like any island, there are very few main roads and when one is under construction, all are affected.  We sat at a standstill for a good 20 minutes waiting for our turn to pass.  Thankfully, we found ways to entertain ourselves.


After a few more detours, we finally reached Alum Bay but only to be told that the bus we were getting off of was the last bus on the night.  Not what you want to hear when it’s getting dark and the next town with bus services is at least a 20 minute walk up the road.  As a group, we decided to take our chances and raced to The Needles to catch a glimpse of the final moments of the sunset.


After the sun set, we were trying to come up with a plan for getting back to the ferry.  Out of nowhere, we noticed a bus coming towards us.  Guess there was one more bus after all!  I raced towards it to make sure he saw us and didn’t leave without us.  Pause for a moment – I hate running, so for me to run for anything is a big deal!  Thankfully, we made the bus and were able to grab a ferry back to Southampton.

Another great day trip!  Though many of the attractions were closed, we still had a great day.  Can’t wait to go back in the spring or summer and experience more of the Isle of Wight!