ridin’ the rails from Torquay to Salisbury

Did I mention I like the trains in the UK? We traveled by rail from Torquay to Salisbury and saw some beautiful countryside along the way. I took a lot of pictures from the train but many were a bit blurry due to the train’s speed so I haven’t added them all to my FLICKR site. In fact, those accounted for the most deleted group of photos, too. Hey, it was worth a try…

Arriving in Salisbury you can see the spires of the historic Salisbury Cathedral as the train slows. (The photo here may actually not be of Salisbury but could be another of the many towns we passed!) This would have
been a fabulous town to explore though I think I’ve said that of practically every town we drove/trained past. Oh to have the time and money to see it all! Oh to have the time to read more history! A friend recently told me about a book I need to put on my “to-read” list. It’s called Notes from a Small Island. She said that the author, who’d lived in England for 20 years and was preparing to move back to the States, said one thing he loved about living there was that you could stand in one spot and look around and see 1000 years of history. I told her that I understand exactly how he feels! (Thanks for the book tip, Kathryn!)

We had a very tight schedule. In order to get to our Wednesday evening lodging at the appointed time (and that’s an amusing story for another post!), we planned our routes very carefully. It was a good thing I logged on Tuesday night to verify the times. They’d changed the schedules we had laboriously studied before we’d left the States! It almost looked like if we went to Stonehenge, we’d have about 5 minutes to look around before we needed to catch the bus back to the train station! Fortunately, we arrived early enough to actually have an hour there, which wasn’t nearly enough time if you wanted to do the audio tour. And of course, that gave us zero time to explore the town of Salisbury itself.

At least getting the bus for the Stonehenge tour was convenient. It was right outside the the Salisbury train station. We headed for front row seats upstairs on the the double-decker bus. The tour did take us through Salisbury and I got a few good pictures. I saw enough of the town to know that I definitely want to go back and spend more time there!

After the brief tour of Salisbury, the bus turned out into the beautiful countryside. We heard about the original settlement of Salisbury at Old Sarum and that Salisbury Plain was one of the staging grounds for D-Day during WWII. There’s a huge military base in the area and we even saw a military helicopter fly overhead. I’d be right at home there since the military has live firing exercises on the Plain – from my Kansas home I can hear (and often feel) the booms from nearby Ft. Riley!

Remember those narrow roads I talked about a post or two ago? Well, imagine traveling down one of the roads at 40-50mph on a bus with huge windows. We ran into quite a few overhanging tree branches and must’ve been less than a foot – it felt a lot closer – to those bush-covered stone walls! But we made it in one piece. I didn’t notice if the bus had any side mirrors…

Next: just a bunch of rocks

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3 thoughts on “ridin’ the rails from Torquay to Salisbury

  1. Hi Char,

    Thank you so much for sharing your travel experiences here. I am an avid reader! Your stories remind me of my own trips to the UK. When I attended UKSG in Manchester, afterward I travelled down to Devon to stay with my sister-in-law’s family on their centuries-old farm (complete with thatched roof house). They kindly lent me one of their cars to drive around. It was a Peugot with manual transmission. I fully understand the challenges of driving in those teensy weensy roads in Devon!!! Especially at night time!

    After staying there a few days I went down to Torquay and took a helicopter ride to the Scilly Isles for a few days. I stayed at a really nice hotel on Tresco and visited the world famous Abbey Gardens. Incredible. If you can imagine it, it was even more beautiful than Torquay!

  2. Steve, your trip to the UK sounds fabulous. Did you take any pictures of the farm and the Scilly Isles? My dad’s family was from Devon, too! Maybe we’re related? Let’s compare notes at NASIG!

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