Dan and I flew to London last night, the 10th, to allow for some free time before his business commitments begin in Winchester on Monday, the 13th. Our seven hour fight took off on time and arrived early. As we approached London from the air the landscape looked like one beautiful, multi-shades-of-green patchwork quilt. As we got closer and closer the squares slowly began to fill with thousands upon tens of thousands of structures and by the time we landed the landscape was 99% buildings. It was 70 degrees, partly sunny, ideal.
Immigration was mobbed, but it did not spoil our mood. What did put a bit of a damper on things was the fact that Dan forgot to get his hang-up from the flight attendant before we deplaned. So once we collected our luggage, we headed to United’s helpdesk. One full hour later, with hang-up in hand (phew!), we found our driver and slowly headed out of London. We landed at 10:15 and got to the Winchester Hotel at 1:30, 14 hours after we left home.
After a quick panini and fries lunch in the lobby bar we grabbed a map and headed to the city center. The walk was all downhill and easy. Some of the streets we strolled were originally laid out by Alfred the Great who chose Winchester as his capital waaaaay back in the day. Think late 800s. We passed iconic looking pubs; half timbered buildings; monuments to folks long dead from periods long forgotten by all but the most enthusiastic historians; medieval Westgate and debtors’ prison; the magnificent guildhall; small, beautifully landscaped parks; and lots of modern shops and restaurants on High Street, the equivalent of our Main Street. With a population of around 35,000, Winchester is a now a quiet market town with obvious civic pride.
As we were sneaking a peek at the storybook Saint John’s Almshouse a resident happened to come in the gate, so we struck up a conversation (act surprised) and she invited us to stroll to the end of the private walk to get a good look at the outside of this charming housing complex. It is part of the almshouse initiative with the mission of ”…providing an inspirational community where older people (sometimes of limited means) are empowered and enabled to live full and rich lives through quality care and support, housing and friendship.” There are some 35,000 such houses in the UK! This one is right downtown which our new friend said was ideal.
Dan grabbed an ice cream before we headed back to the hotel to put our feet up. Dan ended the long day reading British newspapers in the lobby with a Bombay Sapphire and tonic to keep him company, and I went to the room for a shower and to work on this beguiling summary of our day.
… By the Way …
Winchester is 63 miles southwest of London and 12 miles northeast of Southampton
where we left on our cruise earlier this year.
If you want to make us look bad, just ask if we knew that before we arrived today.
This is my second trip to Winchester.
I was first here in 1985 when Walter sent me a ticket to surprise Cleone on her 40th birthday!
It was my first time in Europe and one of the grandest gifts I have ever received.
One thought on “Winchester, UK (June 11-15, 2022)”
I love that memory of surprising Cleone on her 40th! 😊