Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back to the Cotswolds: Postlip and Cirencester

After so many weekends away, or preparing to leave, it was nice to stay local for a change. We had plans to attend the first evening of the annual Cotswold Beer Festival in Postlip, and then decided that getting back to those countryside walks on Saturday or Sunday wouldn't go amiss either.

We bought tickets for a bus to and from the festival, which worked seamlessly. We're fairly organised about these festivals now -- mind you, this was definitely the biggest one we'd been to by far -- bringing snacks, water, jumpers (i.e., sweaters), and a large camping blanket that's waterproof on one side; it beats standing the whole time, and packs up nicer than those camping chairs. The selection of ales was so impressive; all the more so because you're in this enormous converted barn, listening to great live music. I had ales that had hints of fruit cake, others called Pig's Ear and Dr Hexter's Healer, porters called Old Slug, and the list goes on.

Oddly enough, we had an epic lie-in on Saturday. Then it was down to High Street for some errands, and lunch at Nando's; that fixed us right up. (So glad to hear they have one in Ottawa.) Rejuvenated, we decided that today would be the day that we'd make our much-talked-about run to Ikea in Bristol. And it worked out really well: much like home, it seems folks forget that the place is open late on the weekends.

The Church of St. John the Baptist
We got up a bit late on Sunday as well -- I made some of the Turkish tea we'd brought back from Kuşadası, which really hit the spot -- so we decided to stay close for our walk. In the end, Cirencester, with its beautiful Church of St. John the Baptist, won out. We had a great time wandering the church grounds, and through Bathurst Estate and Cirencester Park, before stopping for a pick-me-up at the Crown.

On the drive home, we stopped at the Golden Heart Inn, something I've been wanting to do for a long time. It won Pub of the Year in 2009, and it isn't hard to see why. There's such a great atmosphere, delicious food -- Tea and I ordered one roast beef and one turkey carvery, and shared them -- and a surprisingly-big patio area out back.

Carvery at the Golden Heart Inn

As luck would have it, we happened to be driving back as MacKay and Reid -- two friends from home -- were making their way to their hotel. I got out and led the guys to one of our favourite pubs, The Royal Union, while Tea dropped the car home and then joined us. We had a blast, catchin' up and chatting with the owner -- and giving his two dogs, Kelly and Lucy, lots of love; have I talked about how much I love that part of their culture lately? It's so natural, and... good for the heart, I guess you could say.

Another lie-in wouldn't've hurt either, after all that, but alas, that was the weekend.

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