Wednesday morning we got up and Carol made us a delicious breakfast, and then we headed for the other side of Southampton. I’d booked us a b&b in Ashhurst, at the edge of the New Forest. It was only a short drive from the b&b to the port, which we’d sail from on thursday.
but first…the drive.
oh boy. i wrote in the my journal how ironic that the first and last days of driving on our trip were the worst – on the first day we’d started out by getting lost trying to get to the storage place that was only a few minutes away, then we made a wrong turn, then couldn’t get any money from an ATM, then the roads in wales just kept getting smaller and smaller…
but this was trouble in the form of rain. no, not rain, but a torrential downpour. buckets and buckets of rain, and what was supposed to be an easy two-hour drive was, instead, three and half hours of nail-biting awfulness.
the traffic on the mighty M3 was terrible, and sometimes we just crept along, and at some points i think people were exiting in droves because it was too awful to drive in.
ugh. i guess it’s easier to hike up a mountain in the rain than it is to drive in it. well, i wasn’t doing the driving. and being in the car was certainly much drier. but not scenic in any way.
our first destination was that elusive lok n store storage facility. this time i was fully prepared to find it, and with the help of the GPS and maps, we successfully made it back.
here’s kevin, so happy to retrieve our bags.
ta da! did we only have three bags in there? all i know is, we will never ever take so much luggage with us, no matter how long we’ll be gone.
and then, it was a quick and easy ten minutes to The Willows B&B in Ashurst.
I picked a good one. because it wasn’t quite three in the afternoon, the woman who ran the place wasn’t home, but luckily her husband was home from work, and he let us in.
i was so pleased with the place; i wrote that i thought it was the nicest one we were in on our whole stay. hmm, i don’t know if that’s true, but it was very lovely.
towel warmers! maybe that’s why i liked it so much…
in looking for a place to stay this last night, i stumbled upon the New Forest. i’d never heard of it, but it sounded like a good place to do some walking if we felt like it.
here’s what wikipedia says about the New Forest:
The New Forest is an area of southern England which includes one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily populated south east of England. It covers south-west Hampshire and extends into south-east Wiltshire and towards east Dorset.
The name also refers to the New Forest National Park which has similar boundaries. Additionally the New Forest local government district is a subdivision of Hampshire which covers most of the Forest and some nearby areas, although it is no longer the planning authority for the National Park itself. There are many villages dotted around the area, and several small towns in the Forest and around its edges.
ok, i keep reading that bit – it’s funny that the New Forest is an area, and also a national park? regardless, it’s a very nice place that i’m glad we found.
luckily the rain had stopped, and we strolled down the street and took a nice hour and a half hike around a little bit of the New Forest, which seems like a wonderful place, even though we saw only the tiniest bit of it.
here’s a nice horse as we walked towards the entrance of the path.
it was certainly diametrically opposed to the last hike we’d taken, our monday rainy hike in wales. there was a nice wide gravel path, and it was almost laughably flat.
flat can be nice.
and it was beautiful and not very crowded. we did see a group of some kind of scouts riding by, and a few other walkers, but not many people. a great and relaxing walk after riding in the car in the downpour.
as we walked back to the b&b we passed a pub with the delightful name The Happy Cheese Pub and there was quite a lake of water in front of it. now i kind of wish we’d eaten dinner there, but it was still a little early for dinner.
if i was going to have a pub, i think that’d be an excellent name.
instead, we stopped back at our b&b then strolled down the street in the opposite direction to a delicious place called the Forest Inn. mmm, i’m happy we didn’t go to the Happy Cheese Pub, this place was so delicious.
first, they brought all this yummy bread. the butter is resting on stones! i wrote that these free apps were the best part of the meal – the bread had olives in it, and the chips were kind of like freshly-baked warm tortilla chips, with chili pepper on them.
i also wrote that we thought that butter on the rock was a piece of cheese, and kevin took a big bite!
I had camembert and mushroom soup to start, mmmm.
and i have to say i have no idea what this is, besides the bread and salad. i wrote that i had salad with smoked mackerel and tiny shrimp, but that’s not what any of that is. some kind of meat? but what’s that flat thing on the right? maybe kevin can clarify.
we were much too full for dessert, and later had some of our recently-acquired stash of chocolates instead.
this was our last night in the UK! i want to go back.
mrs. a little bit melancholy about our trip being over hughes.