Now, I realize it would be more effective if I had this and the post about my cousins and grandma back-to-back (for the sake of the titles), but the time I spent with my parents and sisters was so action-packed, it required two posts!
On June 19th, we arrived in Exeter. Elle and I took our bags and went to my place, and she switched with Paige later in the week so I could get one-on-one time with both of my lovely sisters 🙂
Day 5 (First full day in Exeter): Gave my family the official tour! We walked all around the city centre, down to the quay, and then all the way up to campus! Ended our day with dinner at the Imperial, which became Dad’s favorite place to eat! haha and Mom and Dad both loved the toffee cider.
Day 6: Exmouth. I loved going back here since I hadn’t been since October, and so of course we were much better able to enjoy the beach this time around! Though Mom wasn’t too keen about us getting close to the cliff edge, I think everyone had a good time hiking on the SW Coast Path and splashing around in the water. It was a beautiful day! Maybe we ate at Byron this night? Can’t remember the day exactly, but I had never been and it was oh so yummy. Especially the courgette fries, which Mom ordered not even knowing what they were! haha
Jurassic Coast Cliffs
Day 7: Church, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Underground Passages. Dad and Elle did the tunnel challenge with me at the end, where the passage gets really small and you have to crawl the rest of the way! Paige looked like she was going to pass out from claustrophobia the entire time. haha poor kid. I think this was another night at the Impy.
Day 8: Torquay. Last time I was in Torquay, we stumbled upon Kents Cavern, but no one wanted to go with me. This time I made it a priority! Our family loves caves anyway, so this was really neat. Saw the 230,000-year-old skull of a cave bear and the incisors of a saber-tooth tiger in the cave ceiling! They also found part of a 41,000-year-old maxilla in this cavern, which is Britain’s oldest human bone, but when I inquired about it they said it was currently on display in the London Natural History Museum 😦 Hoping to see it when I head to London again next Tuesday. We then walked down to see Ansteys Cove and along the SW Coast Path to Babbacombe Beach. I love the coast path, and I hope to walk all 630 miles from beginning to end one day. We also took the Babbacombe Cliff Railway to the top of the cliff, which was wayyyy better than walking up all those stairs like we did last time we visited! I believe we ate at the Clocktower Fish and Chip shop this night, my favorite.
Part of a cave bear skull
Day 9: Red Coat Tour (Forgotten Exeter), cruise on the River Exe, Tea on the Green, another Red Coat Tour (Ghosts and Legends). Another day of Exeter exploration. So good to spend time in this city which is so rich in history. I had never been on the Forgotten Exeter tour, so that was nice. Really should take a tape recorder each time so I can remember everything they say. It reminded me that I wanted to go to the catacombs, so I went on the Churches, Cemeteries, and Catacombs tour later in July. I also had not taken a cruise on the river before, so I enjoyed that. It was very relaxing and the food we got at the cute restaurant at the end was quite good. When we got back to the city centre, we went to Tea on the Green to finally have the cream tea Mom had been asking about all week. To my surprise, not only did they all like the scones and clotted cream, but Elle liked proper British tea! Made my day. She kept asking to go back, but unfortunately we only had one day left and spent that outside of Exeter. I think this evening we ate at Firehouse, finally. I had been trying to go all year!
Day 10: Bath. I had not been here before! We saw Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths, and the Royal Crescent, along with general exploring of the city. At the abbey we climbed all the way to the top and had a great view of the surrounding countryside. We got to see how the bells were rung, then see the bells and hear them right from right beside them! Deafening and amazing. We got to sit behind the clock like they always do in movies, though you can’t see out to spy on the people below. We went to the Roman Baths, and of course got audio guides…which means I got left behind and Dad at one point had to run back through the museum part to grab me so I wouldn’t miss the guided tour! So much to see and absorb. The technology and innovative genius of the Romans was just astounding: how they heated the floors, ran the piping, etc. And then at the end, we even got to taste the water! It is supposed to have special health properties and healing powers, and tasted sulfurous. I bought a bottle as a memento. Even if I don’t believe that, I don’t think you can deny the pull of these places, just like I felt (and many others have) at Stonehenge. No wonder they regarded them as sacred. It is incredible to see what happens when nature and human creativity come together. After exploring the Baths, we got hot dogs and chocolate fish! It was so hot that day that they were melting faster than we could eat them–or maybe that’s just because I’m such a slow eater. Lastly, we walked out to see the Royal Crescent, since that is a signature part of Bath and a photo opp we couldn’t miss. When we got back to Exeter, we grabbed a small dinner at McDonald’s and then Paige and I got dolled up to go out since she is of legal drinking age here! It was a Wednesday, so practically no one was out, but it was still fun seeing her wrinkle her nose at a strawberry daiquiri 😉
View from Bath Abbey
Because their flight left on the 27th from London, on the 26th they had to leave Exeter. It was a sad day. But I am so immensely thankful for the time I spent with them, and judging by the fact that they still talk about it two months later, I’d say they enjoyed their time here as well. Traveling to another country really sweeps you off your feet and it seems there is never enough time for all you’d like to see and do. I hoped I served them faithfully as the trip-planner, and perhaps another trip should be in the works! (Hint hint, Mom and Dad) At any rate, we have a lot of memories, many of which cannot even be contained within these two long blog posts: like Mom getting stuck in the doors of the tube. HAHAHAHA