Saturday April 4th, we got up early, packed ourselves up for a day trip and headed out to the train station. The train to Warwick from Lapworth was a 12 minute ride and cost us 3.60GBP (wish I could figure out how to do a pound sign) round trip. While waiting on the platform for our train, a proper steam train sped through ~ so cool to see!
Once in Warwick, we hiked up the hill from the train station to the castle. I lived in England for a while and I have been to a lot of castles, but none of them were as intact as this one. Also, none of them charged as exorbitant a fee to get in (70$CAD for the two of us). It was worth it though. We passed an archer warming up for his daily show and then entered the main gate. Several hours were spent wandering through, around and up and down the castle, including a climb to the highest tower as well as a climb up to the oldest section of the castle.
Once we had exhausted ourselves with everything that Warwick Castle had to offer, it was time to find a bite to eat and then do some grocery shopping. We found a fancy pub just off the market square called the Rose and Crown. Rob had the seemingly inevitable fish and chips and I had a charcuterie board with some cheeses, meats, chutney and bread.
Everything was top notch, even the tartar sauce with Rob's fish and chips was obviously housemade (and very good).
As we enjoyed our lunch, we looked at the train schedule to return to Lapworth. Being a weekend, the train only ran every two hours so our window of opportunity was pretty small. After lunch we hit the Saturday Market, scoring some of the best (and cheapest) produce yet including my new favourite vegetable, purple sprouting. From there, it was on to Sainsburys for the basics. We wrapped up the shopping and noticed that we had exactly half an hour if we wanted to catch the next train. Thinking it was totally doable, we stepped up the pace, but my legs were not doing to well on the uphills after the 500 stairs climbed at the castle in the morning. Still, we tried. It was 13:58 as we arrived at the train station and watched a train pull away. You guessed it, the 13:59 that we wanted to catch, missed by literally 30 seconds. We found a nice quiet garden to sit in, enjoyed some ice cream and tried to keep the groceries in the shade until the next train.
Back at the boat, we unloaded and then cruised up the canal for an hour or so, found a turnaround point and tied up for the night.
THe next morning found us up and cruising back on to the Startford Canal where the locks going down seemed so much harder than that first day going up. We did get to cross two aqueducts, one very short, the other a little daunting for me in its length and height.
As we tried to tie up for the night in a beautiful section of the canal, we found we had run aground. Fortunately, we were in a spot we wanted to be in, so we just left it till morning ~ it only meant that the boat didn't rock every time one of us rolled over in bed...
Pushing off was easy in the morning and we continued our run down to Stratford. An older gentleman was running one lock ahead of us and doing it all singlehanded with a much larger boat than ours ~ I was so impressed.
Because of our early start, we were in Stratford by lunchtime and tied up just before the basin that leads to the river Avon, setting off on our mission to find a very rare landmark...... a laundromat! On the edge of downtown, we found one called Sparklean Landrette where we had the pleasure of paying 8GBP to wash our large load of laundry and 50p/minute to dry it. Time went fast as we chatted with a couple from New Zealand who were also on holiday before wandering off to find a butcher and a pint to kill the last few minutes.
The butcher talked us into some Old Spot pork chops and we decided to eat dinner in instead of trying out one of the 3 restaurants that were heartily reccommended to me...
Next time old friends, getting older, heading out on the river and much much more...