2009 TRIP TO ENGLAND, by Colin L. Miller

Intro May 28 May 29 May 30 May 31 June 01 June 02 June 03 June 04 June 05 June 06 June 07 June 08 June 09 June 10 June 11 June 12 June 13 Expense Report

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Today was cloudy & drizzly. After breakfast, At 10:00 AM, I checked out and got a ride from the proprietor to Hertz, about a mile away. My traveler's insurance didn't cover car rentals, so I double checked with my credit card issuer and the credit card provider on their international collect phone lines. They were secondary, and my usual car insurance was primary. At 11:15 AM, I finally departed with a VW Golf diesel automatic. I set my GPS for a Dorchester car park that was near the hotel. It was very strange sitting on the wrong side of the car to drive, very strange driving on the left side of the road, and also strange dealing with traffic circles instead of intersections. While driving, my feeling for the car's position in the lane was a bit off and the left side tires keep bumping the curb. Eventually I learned to check the left side mirror to make sure I was not driving into the curb. After a wrong turn or two, the GPS got me away from Bath and on various narrow country roads that had no shoulders or pull-outs and into the city of Dorchester.

About 2 hours and 40 minutes later, I had survived English traffic and roads, and arrived at a car park's long-term parking area in Dorchester. The mileage counter read 69.3 miles. I fed the parking meter-like ticket machine 11.20 in coins and got a little 4-day permit card to put on the dashboard, which would expire at 2 PM on June 10. I then gathered my stuff and walked to the hotel, about a half-mile away, with a stop at the visitor information center for maps and postcards.

At the Wessex Royale Hotel, I got an upper floor room, #300. It was an old building without elevators, and the room was small, but it was comfortable enough. My key was an actual key, not a plastic keycard or proximity card. The room's ceiling was slanted, being near the roof, and the window looked out onto the city. Every so often the neighborhood seagulls would squawk and squeal. After a rest, I headed outside. It was overcast, cool and windy. I walked the 1.6 miles to Maiden Castle, first going past a small ancient construct called Maumbury Rings that was converted by the Romans into an amphitheater and was now a park, before arriving at large iron age hill fort similar to Old Sarum. Now the place was covered in green grass and had become sheep pasture. There was one ruin of a Romano-British church at one end of the pasture. Along the way on a walking path at the top of the surrounding ditch, I found some colorful moths (Six-spot Burnets) on wildflowers. After walking around the outer edge of the hill fort and across the top, I headed back down. In town, I got some snacks and drinks at Somerfield market (5.83) and returned to my hotel room. Tomorrow I would drive to Sherborne and see the abbey, the cemetery, and some castle ruins.

Maumbury Ring, Maiden Castle Trailhead, Six-spot Burnet, Temple Ruins, Sheep

Intro May 28 May 29 May 30 May 31 June 01 June 02 June 03 June 04 June 05 June 06 June 07 June 08 June 09 June 10 June 11 June 12 June 13 Expense Report