New Years Day was our Very last day in England and Europe, we were up at the crack of dawn as there was no big late night New Years Celebrations. Our neighbourhood was extremely quiet. No parties or loud music or even loud teenagers screaming down the road at 3am in the morning. It was all very mellow. We heard lots of fire works going off as we were close to the coast. We snuck a peep out our roof top window. We celebrated by sharing a small bottle of Isle of White Ginger Wine.
Here is a snap shot of the fire works on the London Eye!
We washed our hire car by hand as the sun rose. There was no hose so we had to keep bringing water outside using the kitchen sink bucket. Not really sure why the British have a plastic container in their sinks??? Maybe to save on water, to use the dirty water in the garden, to stop food waste going down the drain???
We packed the car for our journey back towards London.
We decided to spend our last day in historical Winchester.
There were a few bonuses to our New Years Day. First our parking was free as it was a public holiday. On our walk into town we spotted Winchester oldest house built in 1450!!
Then we came to a pretty bridge where the mill is situated.
It was our lucky day as the Winchester City Flour Mill was free for the day!!! This was a real treat for two reasons the first being that it is the oldest working water mill in the UK. The history of this mill goes back one thousand years. We got to see it working. Water rushing full force, sending the old water wheel into a spin. We watched the grains of wheat turned into flour before our eyes.
The Mill is run by the National Trust. We feel that we have visited so many National Trust parks during our time in the UK that a freebie was a nice way to finish. If we had have known how much money we were going to spend via National Trust even car parking we would have become a member.
After visiting the mill Rob had a treat planned for me. We headed through the park along the beautiful waterways and smack bang into my treat. River cottage Canteen!!! It was a charmingly decorated. We had a fabulous mocha coffee and then we saw the chips!!! Triple cooked!! I gave in and said let’s get some!!! Rob didn’t object!!! He seconded the motion!!! Say no more!!! Absolutely fabulous !!! We bet Hugh didn’t eat these when he was on the 5:2!!!! Oops, we are really trying to be good. Oh and the lucky thing here was there was not public holiday surcharge on our bill!! In Australia there would alway be an extra surcharge on public holidays.
We wandered over to Winchester Cathedral. We admired it’s gothic architecture from the outside and decided it was a must see. It’s huge size drew us in.
The interior was a real piece of perfect artwork.
It entombs a thousand years of history. It also costs 5 million dollars a year to maintain. It certainly felt grand looking up at the naves and size of the interior. We have stood in many Cathedral’s over the past year and this was the perfect one to end in.
We walked up through the high street catching a glimpse of the old Butter Cross from the 15th century and a beautiful overhanging clock.
We headed to explore The Great Hall and the remains of the 13th Century Winchester Castle. In the Great Hall we marvelled at King Arthur’s Legendary Round Table hanging on the wall.
We drove with a reasonable amount of heavy traffic to Heathrow where we spent the night at the Ibis Hotel. We like this hotel as it is close to the airport and functional. That means clean, comfortable and well priced for a hotel stay. It also has parking at good rates, a bus shuttle to the airport and a nice restaurant, which is where we ended our night. This ends our European 13 month adventure. Tomorrow we begin the long journey home (via Singapore and Sydney).