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Charmed by the Cotswolds

Charmed by the Cotswolds

Thursday, November 19, 2015
The Cotswolds & Bath, England

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to Spring – Aix en Provence for the Easter Festival.

Our guests have been looking forward to a day in the Cotswolds – it’s been twenty years since they were last here! Well, this is a part of the world that probably has not changed much in twenty years – and the Cotswolds like it that way!
Even in the drizzle the villages are a delight11191501 bourton on the water and under the water…we walk along the river trailing through Bourton-on-the-Water, well-prepared with our umbrellas. 11191501 bourton on the water and we are preparedAfter greeting the ducks, 11191501 quack greetingwe stop for a warming lunch in The Rose Tree, then bundle up and explore further.11191501 pretty even in the rain Kirk demonstrates the boot cleaning station – this is an area for serious walkers and they’re well provided for! 11191501 bourton on the water boot washThe official weather forecast? 11191501 forecast stone is wetThe stone is wet – it’s raining (notice that’s the first option here in damp England), no surprise! We’re not the only ones exploring the village, 11191502 rain stops no oneother umbrella-toters are taking in the late fall beauty as well.11191502 lunch and strollThe drizzle continues as we drive on to quaint little Bibury – doesn’t this look like a fairy tale illustration? 11191502 sweet village of biburyA plus of the dreary weather is that there are fewer sightsee-ers here today. In September we had trouble finding a parking place, and had to weave between busloads of people checking out the tiny village. Now we can actually see the entire Arlington Row, 11191502 weavers cottagespicturesque cottages built in the 1300s as a monastic wool store, and later lived in by weavers in the 17th century. Current owners keep them beautifully maintained both in front and behind. 11191503 beauty all aroundThe village, just steps away, is quietly lived-in, with a primary school and a beautiful old church.11191503 lining topiaries Hardy roses hang on11191503 hardy rose amidst colorful traces of fall11191503 fall remains and approaching winter.11191503 seasons all winter berries on roofThrough the churchyard, we’re surprised to see the gate leading to Bibury Court, a former hotel, now open. 11191503 surprised to find gate open as it used to beSo we accept the invitation and wander through the beautiful gardens,11191503 would love to see in summerpausing by the stream to watch swans on the lookout for a snack. 11191504 bibury swans are lookingThey found it!11191504 bibury swans foundSpeaking of snacks, it’s tea time! So on we go to beautiful Barnsley House, where we’ve reserved our favorite spot, right by the cozy fire. 11191504 cozy fireside spot waitingIt’s our last day in England – and we’re finishing it in quintessential English style.11191504 cream tea What a perfect finale this scrumptious afternoon tea is!11191504 deliciousBarnsley House is an ideal country house hotel, complete with an outstanding restaurant, gorgeous gardens, and a spa – but it’s family friendly as well – wellies of all sizes at the ready! 11191504 family friendly plus spaBack in Bath, we’re fitting in a final evening of music as well – 11191504 last concert schiff last sonatas the gala 25th Mozartfest Anniversary concert in the Assembly Rooms11191504 lovely assembly rooms featuring pianist Sir András Schiff. We’re spellbound by his artistry as he plays the final sonatas of 4 composers: Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert. A perfect finale to our Music and Markets week.
And now it’s goodbye to our Alfred Street apartment, 11201504 goodbye to alfred streetand on to more adventures.

 

A Bountiful Bath Day

A Bountiful Bath Day

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Bath, England

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to Spring – Aix en Provence for the Easter Festival.

There’s a tempting shop around the corner that we’ve passed several times, and since we have a bit of time this morning, we stop by for coffee and a look around.11181501 am coffee in intriguing shop around corner I believe that there are individual boutiques combined in the space, everything from an Italian coffee shop and deli to home decor,11181501 beautifully displayed furniture11181501 am many enticing things and unique clothing…yes, lots of temptations indeed!
Another fascinating shopping area in Bath is Margaret’s Buildings, a pedestrian lane between The Crescent and The Circus – 11181501 boutiques on Margarets Buildingsmore intriguing shops peddling tea and produce,11181501 fruits veggies and tea antiques, 11181501 colorful antique shopsclothing and locally crafted leather goods. An easy place to fill a suitcase or two!
On the tour itinerary today is lunch at The Circus11181501 lunch at Circushighly recommended, as you can see!
With an intriguing menu (this unlikely combo of roasted cauliflower, grapes and almonds was fantastic!) 11181501 unlikely but delish comboand a lovely ambiance, it effortlessly lives up to its reputation. We’re seated in the elegant lower level, where the kitchen of this Georgian terraced home was generations ago – the ancient stove has been left in place. 11181502 dining downstairs former kitchen of georgian townhouseOur guide on Sunday said that his favorite crescent is Lansdown, so we drive further uphill (we’re already in the upper town) to check it out – 11181502 lansdown crescent recommendedanother gracious neighborhood of Bath.
Continuing to enjoy this non-rainy day, we pause to take in the sunset 11181502 look from our windowsbefore tonight’s Mozartfest concert, once again in the beautiful Guild Hall. 111815023 back in beautiful guild hallWhen we arrive we find that the scheduled soprano is indisposed, and a tenor will be performing tonight. He is just wonderful – with a program of French love songs,111815023 tenor and we all agree that we prefer this program to the original!
And now for a post-concert snack – at Jamie’s Italian. Yes, that English genius continues to expand his empire, and we feast on some excellent Italian cuisine – a board of salumi, cheese and garnishes, 111815023 then delish light supper at Jamie's Italiana luscious squash risotto, 111815023 squash risotto music paper and mushroomsand a hearty mushroom dish baked in a shallow earthenware dish lined with  “music paper”- thin sheets of Sardinian bread. Another place we can highly recommend!