When we arrived, we checked in to our hotel and almost immediately headed out to dinner with some friends at an Italian restaurant called Zizzi's. It's part of a UK chain and the food was good. The atmosphere was a little bit weird because it's located in a former church. All the pews and the altar have been taken out. The stained glass windows and lots of ornate carving remain. The kitchen is right where the altar used to be which was just a little bizarre. Lots of churches have been re-purposed here in England but this just seemed off.
As I said, the food is great and we had a fun time chatting with friends. They just didn't change enough to make it less obviously a church inside.
The next day my wife had some meetings so the kids and I wandered around the town. We walked along the High Street (which is the shopping district in most UK towns) and wandered into the Regent Mall to get out of the cold. We found a nice coffee shop to get a snack, which included a red Christmas cupcake for Lucy. Jacob wanted something with raisins so I ordered him a scone. I ordered a blueberry muffin. When we sat at our table, Jacob realized what I had and wanted to trade right away. I was happy to oblige.
We also discovered Thomas the Tank Engine near the toilets (because, if you have been reading this blog, you know Jacob had to visit the toilet).
|Jacob played the role of engineer|
Next, we walked over to Neptune's Fountain. Unfortunately, the weather was too cold for Neptune to have running water. It's tough to be a sea god without a lively sea!
|Posing with the god and his still fountain|
|Closeup (but not too close!)|
The nearby information office gave us the ultimate scoop--where the nearest playground was located! Jacob and Lucy were excited to venture on to the ultimate tourist destination that wasn't a potty. As we walked we saw some of the regency-style architecture and some interesting buildings.
|Cool statues/columns adorned this round building|
Finally, we arrived at the playground in Montpelier Gardens. At first, we attempted the larger playground, but that was really meant for older and taller children.
|Jacob was undaunted but unsuccessful|
So we wound up at the little playground that worked out perfectly for Jacob and Lucy. They enjoyed playing separately and playing together.
|Enjoying the seesaw together!|
|Swinging for fun and laughter!|
We headed back to the hotel for lunch and a nap. Unfortunately we were there on a Monday and the Holst Birthplace Museum was closed. That was probably fortunate for the children. Gustav Holst was the composer of The Planets.
That night we had dinner with some other friends in their home. Jacob discovered the joy of sitting in a bean-bag chair. We had a fabulous chicken dish with pasta on the side (which was the main dish for the children). They also served yummy home-made brownies with ice cream. Jacob didn't want ice cream so Lucy took his share.
The next day we wandered around town with Mommy, showing her some of the sites that we saw and discovering new ones. We walked through the Brewery Center, which had movies and restaurants but no actual brewery. We found a few interesting churches but all were closed except one that was having a Christmas Carols and Lessons featuring students from the church's primary school. But I will save that story for our twelve days of UK Christmas blog series, which will be starting in a few days (if you are reading as I post).
Lunchtime was upon us. We walked back towards our hotel and along the way found George's Organic Cafe for a refreshing repast. I've already posted about it here, since it was my first experience of a jacket potato. After that we returned to our hotel to check out and head off on another adventure.
We missed out on two big sites in Cheltenham: The Pittville Pump Room and the racetrack. Maybe we'll be back in nicer weather and when the horses are running!