Friday, August 5, 2011

Chester, England

On our way home from Conwy and Holywell, we stopped in the city of Chester. It has quite a few attractions to justify a stop.

A busy, charming city!

Shopping is plentiful. I am tempted to say they have twice as much shopping as other cities, but that is because more than one street features a second level of stores above the street level shops. I present as evidence exhibit A:

We were impressed, but not enough to buy anything

The town also has a nice cathedral, though we did not tour it because of time constraints and admission charges (I think that's tacky for functioning houses of worship). Jacob did insist on his favorite stop, the potty. It was very nice and gave some of the rest of us a chance to peruse items in the gift shop (no charge to get in there!). We did see several aspects:

Outside view from the city wall

The cafeteria was also open to the public and had this recent stained glass

Another attraction is the Roman Aqueducts and the city walls, upon which visitors may walk around the town. We walked over quite a few of these, stopping for pictures at the arch built to honor Queen Victoria's 1897 60th anniversary:

Lucy almost missed the photo op, you can see her concern!

Best view of the aqueduct!

The Romans also had gardens and two amphitheaters here in Chester, though they built the second larger amphitheater on top of the older amphitheater. We enjoyed visiting that, though we read that they didn't run plays (not the style of entertainment) or have gladiator contests (too expensive for the fringes of the empire). Most likely they just threw condemned men to ferocious beasts.

Jacob sees the amphitheater from the wall

Posing in the amphitheater

Theaters usually have hotels nearby, right?

We also enjoyed the gardens and caught part of another group's tour. We saw how they used to heat the houses in the floor using a hypocaust. Under the floor was an area where slaves kept hot coals burning so that the building would be quite warm, especially in chilly, damp British weather. Some old Roman was quite nice enough to explain it.

The gardens (and tour group) from the city wall

Hypocaustic heat!

Classically dressed guide explains it all to the yellow backpack crowd

We didn't stay too long but got a nice flavor of the area. We also got some ice cream to fortify us for the drive home, which had very nice flavors indeed. I had a banoffee pie milkshake that was tasty but more milky than I expect from a shake. It got us home, though.

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