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July 5th, 2015

July 4 travels

Yesterday we walked in a beautiful garden. We saw Magpies.

Lewis Chessmen and good Focaccio

We stood in a castle today:



We found ourselves well-prepared for rain, which fell intermittently just at the right time.

We saw Mute Swans and House Martins and thistle. We met a dog named Nelly, a game cocker spaniel, whose owner gave us great tips on where to walk. We ran twice into somewhat disruptive public intoxication--a man at a park shouting at people feeding pigeons and a man on a bus insisting on sharing particularly non-family-friendly hip hop lyrics with us, though the man himself looked less gangsta and more suburbia. We drank tea in a national museum. I had peppermint tea. We calculated how to take a bus ride a long distance to see a long bridge, but got it wrong by a stop or so. Rather than being a disaster in the rain, we ended up walking on a lovely walking path to a train station. We talked to a nice man who was walking his daughter's chihuahua, a teacup puppy. We ended up taking the train back downtown, but had such a good time getting there. I like to leave the tourist districts, though I never really mind being a tourist.

I got to see the Lewis Chessmen, under glass, with no line, and with the pieces a foot or two away from me. It was like getting to see this incredible intersection of art and history and chess, by myself, with an endless time to stop and look. This was far better than seeing the Mona Lisa after waiting in line.

This morning I dined on porridge, while tonight we had fresh seafood at an amazing Italian restaurant. It was a very day, with ups and downs, but overall a grand weekend.

Touring a castle and a history museum makes me grateful for democracy and human rights.

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