Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Posted by JaneGS
After Dublin, we took the ferry to Holyhead and then the train to Shrewsbury. After a very rocky crossing during which I slept and Sarah feasted on brie and grapes, we discovered that we had not only left the sun in Ireland but found all the rain we had eluded there. It rained almost continually during our time in Shrewsbury.
So why Shrewsbury? That's the question I get from virtually everyone. Well, I knew I didn't want to spend all of Saturday travelling, so we needed an overnight spot between Holyhead and Stratford-Upon-Avon. When I started looking at the map and Googling on town names, the fact that the Brother Cadfael series was set in Shrewsbury Abbey (in the 12th century) and that it boasted a lot of original Tudor structures made Shrewsbury a clear winner.
One of the fun aspects of visiting Shrewsbury is that it wasn't tuned up for tourists, at least as far as I could tell. We wandered through town the afternoon we arrived, in the rain. Then had the best dinner of our entire trip at a lovely restaurant called The Cornhouse--we liked it so much that we returned for the cheese plate for lunch the next day.
Another high point of Shrewsbury were the candy shops--if Dublin has a pub on every corner, Shrewsbury has a candy shop on every other corner. We fell in love with Thornton's Summer Collection, having succumbed to a free sample of the lemon meringue taste treat, and bought a box for the family back home and a box for the weary travellers.
Sunday morning we checked out the Abbey, and lo and behold, we were just in time for the service. Once we poked our heads in the door, there was no turning back, and I'm very glad we stayed. I have never attended a Church of England service before so imagine my thrill when I actually got to hear the marriage banns being read! I also enjoyed the choir immensely, and afterwards asked for and received permission to take pictures inside. Sarah took pictures and I shopped in the gift shop, where I bought some wonderful stained glass book marks and a couple of Brother Cadfael mysteries, which the clerk stamped with a Shrewsbury Abbey stamp for me.
After the Abbey, we walked up the Severn, in the rain, to the Castle, which ended up being a bit of a disappointment as it houses a regimental museum containing hundreds of variations of the same basic uniform. I'm not big on military stuff to begin with so a little went a long way for me.
Then on to the train station, which was quite photogenic, as you can see...
...after that wonderful cheese board at the Cornhouse, and on to Stratford, where the sun was waiting for us.