Belgium, Amsterdam, England, June, 2013
Mark and Vicki shipped their RoadTrek to Europe in May, 2009 and are now in their 28th month of European RVing. They will return to the US in November. Their website is TheRoadGoesEverOn.com and their blog is at www.roadeveron.blogspot.com.
Our first stop in Belgium was Brugge which we had visited briefly over 35 years ago. Belgium and the Netherlands are easy places to visit as you can drive on the right side of the road and almost everyone speaks English, so if you are looking for a good spot to start touring Europe they would be high on my list. We stayed at Camping Kleine Strand in our ACSI discount book for 16E with electric. This is a huge campground on the lake west of Brugge, and I imagine it is very busy in July and August. It is typical of England, Belgium and the Netherlands with many folks leaving their caravans (travel trailers) there year round. The bus stop is close and the office sold 10 tickets for 10E and refunded any you didn't use. We went into the city along with a French couple and missed the stop. Do not get off at the train station, or the bus station, but at the next stop after the bus station. You will see a large modern sculpture of people walking and riding bikes—turn right there and in only 3 blocks you will be in the heart of the old city. (If you are going in on Sunday, 53 does not run, 52, the bus you want will says Ostende instead of Jabbeke.) We visited two museums, the Hospital of St. John for the Memling collection and Groeningmuseum for Bosch, Memling and others. Brugge is a beautiful little city and probably worth two days if you have the time.
The museums we wanted to see in Antwerp and Ghent were all closed on Mondays so we bypassed those cities and drove straight to Amsterdam. Our goals were to meet up with fellow Skips Larry and Joyce and to see the Van Gogh Museum and just enjoy the city. The past two visits we had stayed fairly far out near where our camper was stored for 10 months. Those campgrounds were nice but required two buses and double fares to reach the city. This time after consulting our ASCI discount book (which we saw for sale at a camper store in the suburbs) we choose Camping Gaaspedstedt 16E, as it was a 10 minute walk to the metro and then straight to the center. It turned out to have very strong and free wifi too.
We purchased 48 hr transportation passes for 12E each and decided to go into the city Monday to walk the red light district. Actually it was pretty boring on a Monday evening and we didn't have our Amsterdam after dark walk guide with us. On Tuesday the weather was gorgeous at 70 degrees and sunny, and we walked all over town and then hopped a tram to take us back to the central station. Wednesday in the pouring rain we made it to the Van Gogh Museum. We had purchased tickets at the campground and were able to skip the line. The museum is fairly small and all the paintings have good English explanations by them. The gift store is amazingly inexpensive and we bought several presents.
Tuesday evening Larry and Joyce arrived at the campground after retrieving their camper from the dock. They had a few hitches in that they didn't have the original bill of lading but got that ironed out in a couple of hours after some frantic calls. At the campground their solar wouldn't work so we loaned them our European plug-in so they could recharge their batteries and have power. We invited them to dinner and enjoyed turning email acquaintances into friends. When we left Amsterdam Larry was working on the solar problem and trying to find somewhere he could unpurge his propane tank. I remember how trying the first few days off the ship were for us. If you are thinking about shipping your rig to Europe, try to find someone who can get you the electrical hookup in advance. That way you can at least have power while you are working on getting everything working. I must say that I was super impressed with Larry and Joyce—they are in their early 70s and even though this is their first trip to Europe they are happy to tackle the slight inconveniences in order to have a grand adventure. Mark and I have revised our attitude about what we will plan to do in our 70s—the new 50s!!!
In Antwerp we stayed at the camperstop near the Expo grounds for 8.50E and could get free wifi with our antenna. The bus is just around the corner—number 22. Tickets are 1.2E if bought from a machine and 2E on board. There was a machine where we got on but oddly enough not at the main station where we got off. The main royal art museum is closed until 2016 but most of the famous paintings have been placed in the Cathedral or in the Rockox House. This was a delightful 500 year old burgher house and you could get surprisingly close to many of the works for only 4E. There is also a charge at the Cathedral of 3E if over 60. We miss France's free cathedrals! The city hall and main square are beautiful in themselves and it and the Cathedral square are lined with lots of interesting restaurants. It was a fun town center to wander in. Do avoid the Max frite stand across from the cathedral—I didn't realize that you could buy terrible fries in Belgium till we had theirs. The next morning we returned to the city center and bought a joint 8E ticket for the Museum Mayor van den Bergh and the Rubens house. We thought what we were going to see at the Mayor was Bruegel's Mad Meg, but it turned out that it is filled with lovely Netherlandish and other paintings, medieval furniture, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, ivory carvings, and on and on. It was not crowded and again you could stand inches away from objects that in other museums you can only stare at from afar. In fact the only two things difficult to see were the Mad Meg and the Proverbs Plates. The University of Ghent had installed “informative” wooden displays in front of the picture so you could not approach it. The guard shared our disgust with this arrangement and told us to be sure to note it in the guestbook. But don't miss this little gem of a museum. The Rubens house was also interesting—filled with not only many of his paintings but those of other artists and apprentices that he collected. And the streets are filled with interesting shops.
We had planned to spend the next morning walking the Art Deco district of Wijk Zurenborg but the weather was cool and windy and decided to hasten on to Ghent so we could locate wifi in time to skype with our granddaughter in California. There was no camperstop listed for Ghent, but one for Ghentbrugge with an indication of a tram close by. It turned out that Ghentbrugge is a close in suburb and the camperstop is free, one building from the police station, and we were able to pickup free wifi from the restaurant. A nice man on the street directed us to the correct bus stop—walk out to the main street, turn right, walk under the expressway to the bus stop—take bus 3. It lets you out right across from the bell tower. We thought Antwerp was gorgeous and Ghent is even more so. Many lovely squares filled with 16th and 17th century Flemish houses. Lovely canals and church after church delighted the eye and again many interesting shops—lace, tapestry, chocolate, waffles, housewares—and prices much lower than Brugge. Again tickets on the bus are 2E and from a machine 1.2E.
We spent our first afternoon just walking the lovely squares and visiting the Cathedral with Van Eyck's Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. A stiff 4E to see one painting, but it is magnificent. It is behind a glass wall so bring binoculars for close study of the 248 characters and 47 kinds of plants. It is hard to believe that this was painted in 1432—a hundred years before Michelangelo—certainly the Northern Giotto. Then off to the Museum of Fine Arts the next day.
It is really not far from Ghent to Dunkirk where we were taking the DFDS ferry with a $53 fare through The Caravan Club of England. We didn't know if we could park at the ferry (looked okay when we got there) so we spent the night at the Auchan market. The security patrol said no problem. The store was closed on Sundays so Monday morning we stocked up before heading to the terminal. Wine is much cheaper in France and it is hard to find long life cream in Britain. The ferry ride was fine and we spent an hour talking with a Brit whose camper was parked near ours. He told us that you could wild camp at any Tesco which I'm sure will come in handy. (But after a month, all the Tesco's we've seen have had time limits.)
We joined the Caravan Club so we could reserve ahead for their parks in London and Edinburgh. Edinburgh was actually full for August starting in January but by checking daily before we left the States I was able to put together the week we wanted during the Festival. London is always booked up in July and August and weekends other months so you have to plan ahead. Also the Caravan Club book provides a map and book full of hundreds of private sites at homes, pubs, farms called Cls where you can stay overnight for 5-12 lbs. Wild camping is illegal but possible, but still hard to find. Most parking lots have height bars so that adds another difficulty. From past experience we have found Wales and Scotland to be easier.
We had intended to spend our first night in Dover at a nice, legal parking lot in town where we stayed before but missed the turn and found ourselves on the highway to Canterbury. Since we have already been to Dover Castle twice we headed on the short distance to Canterbury and stayed at the marvelous Dover Road Park and Ride. (There are two others in a ring around the town.) There is a special area reserved for motor homes with free water and a dump and unlimited free bus to town for 3 lbs a day! We stayed 3 days to get oriented. We had a USB modem from 3 from our 09 trip so we topped it off. We also bought a second modem from EE (T mobile) for 3 months for 20 lbs. Currently the pound is about $1.53. There is also a laundromat about half a block off the bus route—ask the driver to drop you at Cross Key Pub. Wow, after 10 weeks in France and Spain we can finally talk to people—anyone, even bus drivers know English!!
Having toured the Cathedral before, we skipped the 9lb entrance fee and went to the Evensong service. It is always lovely to hear a choir and organ in a cathedral, and we were free to gawk at the ceiling all we wanted. We also used the TI to help us get an appointment at Mercedes truck in nearby Ashford. After 58,000 miles we needed to get the brakes done. Frankly, for such a heavy vehicle we felt that kind of mileage before a brake job was quite remarkable. While there I read a brochure on the new Sprinter that said oil changes were now every 24,000 miles. The service manager explained that they have a built in sensor and he knew of vans that had gotten 30,000. The engine is the same as ours, only the sensor has been added. I am going to stop worrying if we go a little over the current 10,000 mile recommendation!
So now we headed west into Kent and Sussex to visit the great houses and gardens of the National Trust. We had only really started doing these houses near the end of our last trip and found the more we visited the more interesting each became. Kent is called the garden of England for its mild temperate climate and the gardens here are the best. So far we have visited Sissinghurst Castle, Batemans, Scotney, Nymans, and Wakehurst. Which one was the best—all of them. The rhododendron and azaleas are in bloom along with countless other spring beauties. Each garden has a specialty with Scotney all blooming nearly at once while Wakehurst's varieties were planned to each show a week or so apart. The great houses at Sissinghurst and Nymans were left as if their 90 something year old donors might walk back in at any moment and offer you a cup of tea. Have you ever walked through a rhododendron woods with 30 foot trees of flowers blooming beside and above you? We have more to go to and we will definitely be back again some other spring. Everything is blooming late this year because of the cool spring, so if you want to duplicate our experience plan on very early May. But of course with flowers, you will need to be flexible with your plans. Details of all these visits are on our blog. This part of England is amazingly rural with few towns but some good sized villages and there are lots of B and Bs and pubs with rooms. Of course, we like best being able to be in our own bed every night and speeding up or slowing down depending on our mood and the sights. Mark is again mastering driving on the left and since these houses are only 10-15 miles apart, it has been nice to only have to drive in short spurts.
We have joined the National Trust on two other trips to GB. This time we joined their American branch, The Royal Oak Society. You get the same free entrances but instead of paying 92lbs a couple ($140) we paid $95. Since all of the larger homes and gardens charge 12lb a visit, it is a wonderful bargain. But you need to join Royal Oak while still in US or have someone mail your membership cards to you.
After Canterbury we spent two nights at the Mercedes truck center, then a night at the South of England fairgrounds. The big agricultural show had just ended so we stayed in the lot with the stragglers from the cattle show. Don't think we would have been allowed during the show. The next night we found a large parking lot by a solictor's office. Again very lucky as there just aren't large parking lots in England.
We visited Petworth House three years ago but its art collection is one of the best in the country so we were anxious to return. J.M. Turner lived there for two years and there are 21 of his paintings in the house along with dozens of Van Dyke's, Gainsboroughs, even a Hieronymous Bosch. The grounds are not gardens but are huge and available for walking even if you don't visit the house. An hour away is Uppark House. It was involved in a huge fire in the 90s but the staff and volunteers were able to save much of the furniture and paintings and the house has been restored. Originally owned by Lord Grey, later by an eccentric bachelor who finally at age 70 married his dairy maid after a string of mistresses and whispered homosexual affairs. It was also the home of H. G. Wells' mother and father, who as housekeeper and gardener left when they married. When the marriage broke up, his mother returned as head housekeeper and Wells visited there often between school terms. After leaving Uppark we attempted to stay at the coach park and the Tesco in Chichester but were not allowed, so we made our way to a farm stay with the Caravan Club for 5 lbs.
Chichester is a pleasant town but I was disappointed with the cathedral. It does have a Chagall stained glass window but not one of his best—at least admission was free which is rare outside of France. Mark says I am unfair, he liked the cathedral very much. You'll have to go to his blog to judge for yourself. We were able to park in the coach parking lot and get to the Cathedral and back in two hours. Over two hours was 6 lbs, not a price I care to pay often.
We spent the night in a small footpath car park near Kingston Lacey Estate that we found using wildcamping.co.uk As a member, $23 a year, I was able to download over 4000 wildcamping and pub stays to our Tom Tom. Even better I could also put them in Google Earth on our computer. We found that super amazing in that we could actually look at sites in advance and eliminate those too unlevel or too small. Since our Camperstop book only lists about 20 sites in all GB, we are glad to have this help in locating free spots. The Caravan Club's CL sites are good but most seem to be running over $10 just to park and many up to $18. Kingston Lacey (NT) itself is a grand house built by the Banks in the 17th century after the Restoration of the monarchy. No real gardens to speak of, but a very large park with huge oak and other ancient trees. Lots of terrific art--Valequez, Titian, Reni. In addition one of the Lords was an early archeologist and robbed Egypt of everything from an obelisk to exquisite tomb paintings. From there it is only a short drive to ruined Corfe Castle—it also belonged to the Banks, but was blown up by Parliament to prevent the Royalists from using it. Lord Banks was Charles the First's Attorney General. Thus Kingston Lacey was the reward to Lord Bank's son for the family's royalist support.
Corfe is a very picturesque and pleasant ruin with great views out over the downs. In addition the tiny village of Corfe Castle has a lovely old Norman church and the whole town is built of Purbeck “marble” from the nearby hills. We spent the night in the car park and woke up to find about 100 English soldiers milling around waiting for their bus. We all left at about the same time, us headed for the sea arch called The DurdleDoor—they to the military base about three miles away. We parked at the pay and display lot at Ludlow Cove for the 1 mile walk to the arch. It is a huge lot designed for summer crowds. Only a small part of it is level but you could spend the night and it is free from 7 pm to 7 am. There is also a much smaller lot nearer the arch but the road sign advised not for larger vehicles. We enjoyed the walk along the Coastal Trail and were amazed to see a large group of 13-14 year old boys swimming near the arch. High today was 61 with 25 mph winds!
On past trips we have been to the Hardy Cottage and the church where his heart is buried. Since I am a huge Tess of the D'Urbervilles fan we stopped on the edge of Dorchester to visit Max Gate—the house he designed and built and where he wrote that novel and Jude the Obscure. It was only opened by the National Trust to the public in 2010. All the furniture was sold when Hardy's widow died except for his study which was recreated at the Dorchester museum. The house is now furnished in period antiques. Parking was an issue as there is no lot but just a narrow street. Good news is that if you come near the end of the day it would be easy to spend the night there. This is impossible at most Trust sites as they lock the gates on closing.
Moving along only 12 miles away was another NT property, A La Ronde. I know this seems like NT overload but really we have yet to go to one of their properties that isn't fascinating. Believe it or not, we are skipping many. A La Ronde was built in the late 1700s by two wealthy, spinster cousins after they spent 9 years on a Grand Tour of Europe. It is a 16 sided octagon and inside is not only most of their furniture but many, many of the “ladies” work that was fashionable at the time--paper cut designs, embroidery, watercolors, and hundreds of sea shell designs. It is really hard to describe but if you go you will not soon forget it. One of the things that I like best was they stipulated in the will that it could only be inherited by unmarried women! Take that, primogeniture!!!!!!!!!!! We spent the night at a carpark about 3 miles away.
We had been heading towards Exeter so that we could attend the Caravan and Motorhome Show. It was a small one as this was its first year here, but still we spent about 5 hours amazed by the clever English and their midget camping cars. There were also lots of booths selling accessories and we bought a road camera. It was supposedly on sale at $60 but we really don't know if that was a good price or not but we love how it works. We always assumed that if we were in a car crash that being foreigners, we would be blamed, our fault or not. This little camera attaches to the windshield and plugs into the cigarette lighter. When you start the engine is automatically turns on and records video and voice on an SD card and turns off when you stop. I recommend it highly for peace of mind when driving in foreign countries.
After the RV show we stayed at a truck parking site behind a closed restaurant in Ivybridge. There were signs that you needed to pay but no one was there. It was a short walk to a giant Tesco so that was nice too.
Antony is the house where some of the scenes from Disney's Alice in Wonderland were filmed so that was fun. It is a smaller house but has beautiful rooms and artwork and believe it or not the owners still live there—not in a wing or upper floor like many Trust properties but in all the rooms you are touring. The house is open four afternoons a week and a volunteer said they just retreat back to their kitchen with its attached sitting room and come back out when everyone has gone! We were also fortunate to be able to tour the sculpture gardens and park with the assistant head gardener. What a treat to be able to ask all the questions you want, plus the Lord and Lady collect modern sculpture and though there is much modern I don't care for, their taste (and pocketbooks) are exceptional. The house's park goes all the way down to the sound so the views were lovely. We spent the night at a layby at N50.41045 W4.36397.
A short drive brought us to Eden Valley Campground in our ACIS discount book for 14lb until June 30. It was time to do the wash at 5lbs to wash and dry 1 load ($8.) But it was a quiet, pleasant place with clean, hot showers. It is close to Eden, the huge indoor/outdoor greenhouse/garden extravaganza we visited three years ago. Unfortunately, the ACIS discounts are not a lot of help in GB as there are only a couple of dozen campgrounds that participate.
You must be wondering how we can keep going to these great houses day after day but we find them fascinating. We have avoided repeating those of three years ago but Lanhydrock, like Petworth, was an exception and worth driving out of the way for. Fifty rooms are open to the public and furnished mostly with the family's own Victorian things—the last family of ten children. The kitchen alone is eight large rooms with a spit that works off of the rising heat in the flue and is large enough to roast a whole cow! Adding to the splendor of the house was a volunteer's tour of the gardens that lasted 90 minutes. Somehow we had missed the entire upper garden before as we were there near the end of October and in a rush to get to Churchill's house before it closed for the season. Leaving Lanhydrock we headed north to Dartmoor National Park to see a stone circle and Castle Drogo. As our TomTom had been routing us down too many small roads for my taste, we had bought an atlas in Chichester. Confidently, I noted that it was a red road, an A road, that led us almost to Castle Drogo's door. Turned out that in this exceptionally rural area on the edge of the great moor even a red road was mostly single lane and the driveway up to the Castle was worth one look before we decided—not this time. We headed back to the “real” red road and parked in a services area N50.71936 W3.85183. Really very quiet and no “no overnight or camping” signs.
Knightshayes has one of GB's best gardens. Plan on 3-4 hours here with a break for your legs. The house is large but only about 10 rooms are open but they have been returned to the 1800s and not typically Victorian by any stretch of the imagination. You just have to see it to understand. The grounds are not just landscaped near the house but for 30 or more acres with 1200 rare plants not found on any other Trust site. The last owners vowed that if they and the house made it through World War II that they would build a garden together. He died in 1952 and left the gardens to the Trust with the house coming to the Trust when she died—in 1997! We spent the night in a very noisy car park at N51.11234 W2.76361. Its one redeeming feature (other than being free) was the stupendous view of the Glastonbury Tor and surrounding valley. By the way, the Glastonbury Music festival is held every year during the last week of June. Unless you fancy being trapped with thousands of British hippies in traffic that clogs the roads for 20 miles in every direction, avoid that week in June. They were already putting up traffic congestion signs and diversions a week in advance. If you haven't been to Glastonbury, the town itself is a hoot what with all the Druid shops, lay lines, King Arthur connections and the ruined abbey makes an interesting visit along with the climb to the Tor. Parking is very difficult unless you are camping there and we have already been there and done that thrice.
We spent a morning in Wells rushing to the cathedral from the Tesco parking lot to beat their 1½ hr limit. A ten minute walk brings you to the Cathedral Close with the best west face of statuary in Great Britain. We still prefer the story-telling sculpture of the French cathedrals but the real glory of Wells is inside and it, and the hourly tours, are free. The cathedral is small but has exquisite fan faulting in the chapter house, a tower reinforced with beautiful and one of a kind scissor arches from the 1300s, and lovely, ornate decorated vaulting in the choir. I also particularly liked the lower stained glass windows in the Lady chapel. During the Cromwell period the stained glass was broken out and then a hundred years later all the bits and pieces were put back together—not like they were, but in random, but beautiful disorder—a face here, a lion's head there, a hand, a crown. Wells is certainly a cathedral you wouldn't want to miss. On the way back to the camper we found that the coach parking is right across the street from Tesco—very full and expensive, but if you go through to the back of the lot, on the right side there is a further, private lot with room for 4 or so larger campers at much better rates. There were no “no overnight parking” signs that we could see.
N51.17953 W2.24828 near Longleat House between Bath and Salisbury is a very nice, quiet car park where we spent an afternoon and night. We visited Longleat itself in 1979 and since we can visit similar estates for free this was just a stopover. A police car and van arrived about half an hour before dark, let the police dogs run in the forest, they chatted with each other and never even spoke to us. Unfortunately, three cars of young men and a couple of motorcycles arrived at 11:30 to drink and yak for an hour. They never even approached the camper, but those things do make you nervous even when you have good security.
Somewhat bleary eyed, the next morning we drove the few miles to Stourhead House and Gardens. Certainly one of the very largest Trust gardens and a fine house. Owned only by two families over 600 years there were many enormous, ancient trees and even a movie as an introduction. We spent almost five hours and didn't see everything. Interesting they run a Caravan Club CL site (5 campsites, usually on a farm) which was 15.5lbs with electric. They were full, but allowed us to stay in the staff lot for 10lbs. This is why we prefer wild camping--$15 just to occupy some gravel!
Next stop was Salisbury. We visited the Cathedral again and frankly unless you opt for the 10lb additional tower tour, it is pretty plain Jane for the 6lb “donation.” You do get to see one of the four existing copies of the original Magna Carta. We did enjoy the market which lasts till 3 in England and the St. Thomas Church with its medieval Doom painting and an hilarious tomb inscribed with how many shillings its owner was paying the church annually to keep from burying anyone else inside it! We parked in the Britford Park and Ride on the south side of town—free and 3.5lbs round trip for two to the city center. On the web it had said that it was the only Park and Ride with an area without height bars.
Heading north, we stopped for a quick visit to Stonehenge on our Wales Heritage Pass (you have to pay for 2 years to get free entry for Wales, England and Scotland.) Probably our 7 or 8th visit but always awesome—but scores of people as usual. The wild camping spot had several hippie vans so we set out again for another favorite prehistoric site of Avebury. At the east Kennet Barrow parking area were 6 more hippie vans and a trash mound. A guard was just closing the Silbury Hill parking lot so we went on to another nice layby at N51.42246 W1.89154. No hippies, no trash, just us and dog walkers until dark. We spent two nights there just to relax. Again a police car came in to turn around with never a word to us. I don't think the hippie vans are normally a problem—except around the summer solstice as thousands gather at Stonehenge and Avebury to celebrate.
We had a lovely walk around the stone circle at Avebury. Then off to Lacock Abbey, home of the Talbot family, one of whose later members invented the photographic negative here. If you come, visit the museum first as there is much background on the house and the family. The house is built next to and above the cloisters of a 12th century abbey that was sold to the family by Henry VIII when he dissolved the monasteries. It is also where some of the filming for the first two Harry Potter films was done, so there was much to see. The family owned not only the house but the entire village which is also now owned by the Trust except for the village church. We spent the night at a nice cul de sac we discovered at N51.46312 W2.30838 which is just west of Chippingham and north of Bath.
Dyrham House was owned by William and Mary's Secretary of State and showed much of the Dutch influence that was fashionable during their reign. It is set in a huge park that includes an Iron Age Hill Fort and a herd of 200 fallow deer. We took another volunteer garden tour, but the highlight for me was the dairy room that was completely lined in Delft tiles—more antique tiles than we had seen anywhere in the Netherlands. Since it was only 3 miles back to the cul de sac we returned there to spend the night.
Looking over our plans, I almost decided to skip the next two NT houses as they were somewhat out of the way, but we were glad that we didn't. The first was Tyntesfield. Originally, a small Elizabethan home, tripled or more in size by William Gibbs in the mid 1800s. At the time he was the richest commoner in England having made his fortune in bat guano! The Trust actually bought the house and contents only in 2002 just before it was to be auctioned. The very elderly owner of the 3rd generation was living in only three rooms and had just shut the rest up. It is still undergoing restoration. We toured the extensive gardens with a volunteer guide and ended up in the walled kitchen garden at the chef's cooking demonstration. Again it takes 4-5 hours to tour a great house and garden and usually we give out before all the things to see. The wild camping web site helped us find a really nice place to spend the night in Clevedon. It was the parking lot for the coastal path along the Bristol Channel. Quiet, flat and a lovely paved path along the sound to a rocky beach. This area has the second highest tides in the world with the spring ones reaching 47 ft., bested only by the Bay of Fundy. 51.44990 W2.85237.
Last stop for this month's National Trust Trail :) was Clevedon House. Only open 3 afternoons a week even in high season, it is an almost unchanged manor house from the early 1300s still lived in by the home's second family who moved in in the early 1700s. Lots of interesting furniture—a cradle from the 1500s, high chairs from the mid 1600s, plus Thackery and Tennyson were both guests of the family with Thackery using what is now the chapel as a writing studio and Tennyson penning the poem “In Memoriam” to the family's young son who died in his twenties in Venice. Also Sir Edmund Elton became a well known potter in the late 1800s and the museum displays many of his creations. We went back to the lovely coastal parking lot for the night before heading off to Wales.
This month in England has been very economical traveling thanks to our joining the wildcamping website and the National Trust. We have spent only $80 on admissions, $460 on food and eating out, and $560 on diesel. Since Ghent we have spent 27 nights on the road. One in a discount campground, 3 at CLs, 3 at a park and ride, and 20 wild camping for a total of $65. This is great as next month with 3 weeks in campgrounds to see London and for when our daughter and granddaughter are with us will be a different situation entirely. But we won't be traveling over 1100 miles so the diesel bill will be less! Remarkably, we have found that these things seem to even themselves out so that no particular country ends up being prohibitively expensive.