Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 5 UK Corfe Castle

Our luck is holding. Today is a gorgeous day.. it has even warmed up a bit. Today's plan was to drive around the Isle of Purbeck which is not really an island but a peninsula. The area has been designated as "As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty". It lives up to its appellation. You get there by a short (5 minute) ferry ride. The car ferry is unusual in that it doesn't go under its own steam... there are chains that winch it back and forth. It probably holds about 80 cars. Once on the other side, you start to drive through gorgeous scenery. We did not have a plan for the day and were just going to explore. Ned saw signage for Corfe Castle so that was our going to be our main destination, however, first stop was a local farmers market where we picked up local cheese, bread, and other goodies to eat later for a picnic. Ned also got the name of a local pub that he wanted to try out. He seems to have developed a taste for local ale. The drive to Corfe castle was beautiful. Everything was in bloom and the flowers were really a feast for the eyes. The castle sits up on a mound and you can see if from miles away, beckoning as we drove through several lovely villages.... blink though, and you miss them. We never did find the highly touted pub but Ned settled for a different one that gave us a wonderful view of the castle.

The area around Corfe castle is said to have been inhabited as far back as 6000 B.C.E. There are indications that Celts settled in the area and may have had run ins with the Romans until they were chased out around 50 A.D. Corfe castle is said to have been built by William the conquerer after the the Norman invasion in 1066 and was re fortified several times until it was destroyed by treachery in 1646. The stones and wood from the castle were carried away and used by the locals for their building material. Only the skeletal remains of this once proud edifice reminds us of the scope and scale of this old Royalist stronghold. What is left is still majestic. We ate our picnic lunch in the shadows of the ruins and then walked around the local town before heading around the "island" back to Bournemouth.On our way back we poked around some of the antique shops and enjoyed the nice weather.

Remember the photos of the pony? ( Posted June 14th) We pulled into the parking area of a small antique shop and I saw what looked to be a pony with its head in the window of the small cottage behind it. I thought at first it was a statue and was someones idea of fun ( I thought it was fun).... until it moved! It certainly gave us some chuckles. Back at the hotel after a short rest, we asked for a recommendation for dinner. We asked if we needed a reservation and were told, no, it was a weeknight. So off we go down to the pier area where we have to park the car and hike back to the restaurant.... only to find that they are hosting a private party. We hike back to the car and decide to try one of the large hotels for dinner. Everyone seemed to be full up with parties but the maitre'D took pity on us and found us a table. The meal was excellent. Back at the ranch (hotel), we sat outside on our terrace for a bit and contemplated the lovely full moon. 

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