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A Taste of Stonehenge

What is the oldest thing you have seen in person?

We couldn’t come to the UK without seeing the famous site of Stonehenge. It’s thought to be over 5000 years old and was once used as a burial site. It also marks the winter and summer solstices and could have had spiritual significance.. however, no one really knows for sure why it was built.

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Over the years, access has become more restricted. Tourists used to be able to actually climb on the stones, and a long time ago, chisels were even provided for extracting a keepsake. Now, the 800k annual visitors are kept to a designated path, not even permitted to walk amongst the stones except with a special permit at restricted times.

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When making our own plans to visit, we wanted to get the best photos we could. We really wanted to be there for golden hour, either right after sunrise or just before dusk. Though it would undoubtedly be more crowded, we opted for sunset as it was still within the operating hours of the site (and we couldn’t pick up a rental car in time to drive out without incurring an extra day of rental fees).

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We also looked into the sunrise and sunset permits, but they sell out months in advance.. and they were prohibitively expensive. As it was, we couldn’t quite stomach the €19-per-person entry fee. Fortunately, you CAN visit Stonehenge for free.

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We just parked at the visitor center and walked through to the path to the stones. Tickets aren’t required until you get closer, and then you can walk to the north of the main entrance onto a public path that goes next to the stones. We were a little farther than those who paid, but we had a decent enough view.

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As we were leaving, someone else on the path asked if we were there for the harvest moon. We weren’t even aware there was one that evening! We stuck around a few extra minutes and were rewarded with the beautiful orange orb ascending in the east. We only wish we had thought to position ourselves west of the stones earlier!


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A Taste of the Salisbury Cathedral

What’s a cool day-trip you’ve taken?

Most people bound for Stonehenge depart from London and stop off in the cute town of Salisbury. We came from Bristol, but since we had aspirations of catching sunset at the stones, we had plenty of time to kill in Salisbury.

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The highlight of the town was the beautiful Anglican Salisbury Cathedral. Known for its tall, hallow spire and sweeping close, it was spectacular to admire as we circled the inner courtyard. I love the symmetry and all the patterns in the architecture – anyone else?

The cathedral is also home to the best-surviving original copy of the Magna Carta. No photos of it are permitted, and they keep it safely tucked away within a tent inside one of the most dazzling rooms of the church. We were mesmerized by the stained glass windows and ribbed columns.

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With this dose of history, we were ready to dive even more into the past to see the famous Stonehenge… but that’s a tale for our next post 🙂


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A Taste of the Bristol Cat Cafe

Have you ever been to a cat cafe? Which is your favorite?

One of the first things we did upon entering the vibrant city of Bristol was hit up their cat cafe, You and Meow. We’re obviously a little obsessed with cats, as we dote on ours back at home and let those abroad dictate where we travel next. (Not to mention, we have a dedicated Instagram account for crocheted duplicates of our kitties at home who travel the world with us!)

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We’ve been to cat cafes in Japan, where the idea originated, and we frequented our own in our home city before we left. We simply love the concept, as it’s a great way to restock on some feline healing during our travels. Since then, we’ve had no problem getting our daily purrs from the many strays in Croatia, Kotor, and Istanbul, but we’d be hard-pressed to pass up the opportunity for a cat cafe all the same.

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We timed our visit perfectly (purrfectly?), as we had the wonderful opportunity to feed the kitties their afternoon snack, instantly becoming their best friends. And the entire establishment is pleasantly cat-themed, from pictures of each resident feline (and their specialty) to cat-stamped toilet seats.

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We, of course, had to sip on a cat-decorated catpuccino while exercising a kitty with a fishing toy on a cat wheel. Hilarity ensued!

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A Taste of Taunton

What’s a fun little town you’ve discovered during your travels?

Taunton is a tiny town in the UK that isn’t usually on any traveler’s radar. However, it has its own British charm (and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the planet Hoth).

We found several cute churches, a wonderful little old town, and even a large park with a unique grove of interlocking branches. We wandered the winding streets, across a river, and along a wall of street art. We didn’t need a lot of time to see the town, but it was a welcome quiet break from the hustle and bustle of big London.

Honestly, the only thing that brought us to the area was securing our very first cat-sit. It was only for a couple of nights, but it was an excellent introduction to what would become our favorite type of lodging during our travels. Jack and Mr. Purrkins (yep :3) were welcome companions, and our host was an absolute hoot. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and we love finding more cats to love all around the world!


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A Taste of the British Museum

What awesome free things have you discovered in your travels?

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When I saw images of the mesmerizing ceiling of the British Museum, I knew I had to visit if for no other reason. I was thrilled to learn that admission is completely free! (perfect for the budget traveler!)

 

Aside from breathtaking architecture, the exhibits therein can suck hours from your day (in a good way!). We wandered the vast halls of exhibits, marveling at Japanese armor, African artifacts, and Egyptian mummies. We even stepped through time as we took a physical tour through the history of clocks and watches (and I attempted to thoroughly analyze the workings of each – side effect of being an engineer!).

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Unfortunately, we didn’t realize it closed so early. After only about half an hour of entering, we were quickly ushered out. We were disappointed we couldn’t see more (and we might have moved a bit faster had we known time was so short). But as long as it remains free to enter, we’ll certainly return the next time we’re in town!

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6 Things We Missed in London and What We Did Instead

We spent five days in London and could see quite a few things in that time. However, there were plenty of things we didn’t get to do while we were there. Some were because they were too expensive while a few others we didn’t even know about. It is such a large city, so it is impossible to do it all. London is a perfect blend of old architecture and vibrant culture. With a few days, you can get a good feel for the city and see many of its highlights.

We took a bus to London from Belgium and went through the channel tunnel which was an exciting adventure. The bus was loaded on a train and then we rode through the tunnel under the water. That was awesome! Once we arrived in London, the bustling city greeted us with double-decker buses and rain. The rain didn’t stop us from getting out to see as much as we could, but we still couldn’t do everything because the city has so much to offer. Here are 6 things we didn’t get to do while in London and what we did instead.

Inside Flixbus on Channel Tunnel Train

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A Taste of the House of Minalima

What quirky attraction have you just stumbled upon?

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As we were walking along an alley in the city of London, we noticed an odd shop packed full of Harry Potter paraphernalia, The House of Minalima. However, when we were
invited in by the storekeeper, he told us the upper floors house a vast collection of original artwork, concept designs, and props from the films (including *the* Marauder’s Map). And the best part: it’s entirely free! (London is really great about offering many cultural and educational experiences free to the public.)

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A Taste of Westminster Abbey

Which landmark do you think of first when you picture London?

Westminster Abbey is one of the popular destinations for visitors of London. With gothic architecture similar to what we found at the Cologne Cathedral, it has so many intriguing details to admire.

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A Taste of the Change of Guard

What ritual or tradition have you witnessed overseas?

London’s changing of the guard is an occasion of much pomp and show (this is England, after all!), but we love the tradition! We wanted to catch it while we were in town, because, why not?

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A Taste of the Prime Meridian

What famous “divider” have you visited? The equator? The Great Divide? The Panama Canal?

While in London, we couldn’t see ourselves so close without actually hopping the river to visit Greenwich, the official home of the Prime Meridian. After a long day of Shoreditch, Leadenhall, St. Dunstan’s, and the Garden at 120, we debated even going – but I’m glad we did!

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