Our flight to Ireland didn't leave until almost 3pm, so we had time to stop by Winchester since it was directly on the way to Southampton Airport. I had heard the song "Winchester Cathedral" but I didn't realize the Round Table that I've seen in books & photos, reported to be King Arthur's Round Table, was there in Winchester! We parked, walked up the old center, which is like many old English towns, but when we got up to the castle, Andy said "I think you'll like what's inside"...I liked the door already! haha...Yeah, that's definitely an awesome Great Hall, don't you think? One side is covered with the royal succession chart, and the other side has the Round Table hanging on the wall.
After our quick run through the castle, we headed to the cathedral for a quick peek inside. I'm glad we got the self-tour pamphlet, since otherwise we wouldn't have known to look for Jane Austen's gravestone on the floor. There's a very impressive carved quire screen, and many original medieval tiles on the floors. There's even an obviously much older section with painted wood ceiling...and even a tiny stone memorial chapel with a teal door! haha...
Great Hall at Winchester Castle, with the "Arthurian" Round Table on the wall
We made it to the tiny single terminal Southampton Airport in plenty of time to park, check in, then eat our Waitrose clearance sandwiches before our flight. I zonked out on the flight (it was warm & I was tired!), waking up to the green hills of Ireland out the window. :) We couldn't believe the beautiful weather with blue skies, fluffy clouds & it wasn't even too cold! I had been saying all along if I can just get one glimpse of sun my whole time in Ireland I will be satisfied, and anything else will just be a bonus. We'll see how long this lasts!
We dragged our luggage from the airport bus stop to our hotel Andy had booked on his brother's recommendation, only to find they'd overbooked & secured us a room at another hotel. So, they paid for a cab for us, which was stuck in rush hour traffic to get us over to Buswell's Hotel, so by the time we found our room in this "Winchester Mystery Hotel" (take the lift to the 2nd floor, turn right down the stairs, across the gangplank, down some more stairs, and there you are!), our beautiful daylight was starting to fade and we were starving! We headed straight for the Temple Bar area & looked for restaurants, stopping at the Hard Rock Cafe for my shot glass (I really have to figure out where to put my collection in my new house!), then settling on Quay's Restaurant, a little dubious since NO one was in there eating at about 6:30pm. By the time we were done with our very tasty meal, the place was packed so I guess we were just early. We strolled as much of the city as we could, especially along the River Liffey, enjoying the clear but chilly & windy weather, spotting the Clarence Hotel owned by U2, making it past Christ Church Cathedral all the way down to St Patricks Cathedral but not able to see it very well since it's not lighted at night. Since our hotel was near the Temple Bar area, we headed back there to The Temple Bar & each had a Jameson Irish whiskey while listening to the decent cover band play REM, Billy Joel & such. We were both really tired, so we called it an early night about 10:15 & went back to our hotel, since we knew we needed a good night's sleep to tackle the rest of Dublin, getting the rental car, then driving all the way south to near Cork by way of Brittas Bay! ;)
Britta in The Temple Bar in Dublin with a Jameson Irish whiskey
(full Day 12 photos start here)
On the Tuesday schedule is more Dublin, my first Irish countryside and Brittas Bay...Until next time!