Wed 7th (Nottingham)
Early Wednesday, we headed out for the train station…we knew it was going to be a loooong day of travel!We arrived early enough to grab the early train to Edinburgh Station.This gave us enough time to grab a bite to eat before catching the next train. Here was our itinerary:Train from Stirling to Edinburgh, change trains: Edinburgh to Chesterfield, change trains: Chesterfield to Nottingham. Jump on tram that brought us a little closer to our hostel.
This hostel has much smaller rooms, but at least since there is barely room to walk between the bunk beds, I'm in an all-female dorm! Otherwise, it seems like a very nice hostel.After checking in, Heather & I decided to go out walking.We walked down to the Nottingham Castle (will tour it tomorrow) and had a peak at the oldest inn in England, "Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem".We swung by Tesco's, a grocery store, and The Fish Bar where we enjoyed fish and chips on our way back to the hostel.After handing our laundry over to be cleaned, the rest of our evening is free!I decided to work on my blogs and watch the 'football' game between Spain & Germany (yeah! Spain won! Why I care, I don't know) while Heather decided to go back out walking again…she wanted to visit the shopping center.
Thurs 8th (Nottingham)
Heather and I got up and took the Sherwood Arrow out to Sherwood Forest.It was an hour bus ride out there.It was interesting that the buses didn't come through very often.Because I didn't want to spend 3 hours out there, Heather and I split up.I did the short trek through the forest, but went by the Major Oak.It was really big and so old that they now have big metal props holding up many of the branches, because it is a big attraction for all the visitors and they certainly wouldn't want it to get damaged.Of course, no one can get up close to it because it is all roped off.
After I was done in the forest I caught the bus back and stopped by the Abbey.Part of this Abbey is now in ruins, but you could walk through them and the surrounding gardens.They have really made it into a free visitor attraction with a café and restaurant and wonderful gardens!I loved just walking through the paths…over to the lake…past the swans…by the animal graves (for the horse that won the 1872 Derby and prize dogs)…children's garden….herb garden….rose garden….and the list goes on.
Once I was done with that I went to catch the bus back to Nottingham and grabbed the wrong one…the first time I didn't ask lots of questions and ended up taking a loooooong scenic route (including changing buses) back to Nottingham.But I did get back.It was too late for me to tour the City of Caves attraction, but thankfully that was not huge on my list.
Heather spent a lot more time at the Forest.She trekked down the longer path, sat for a while to just 'be', and then even attempted to climb a tree. JShe then made it back in time and visited the City of Caves and Museum of Justice.
We finally connected back at the hostel where we hung out for the rest of the evening.
Fri 9th (Nottingham to Cardiff, Wales)
Before heading to Cardiff, we decided to spend the morning touring Nottingham Castle.We checked out of the hostel, left our luggage there and headed out.There was actually very little true 'ruins' left.It was mostly impressive from the outside with the sheer rock, walls and gate.Once you actually entered, the grounds were very beautifully landscaped, but it was actually a mansion that they had converted into a museum.That was a bit disappointing to me, even though the art gallery and other galleries were nice…I was just hoping for something a little different.They did have one exhibit that was pretty cool….lots of props from the Robin Hood movie that just came out.
Early afternoon, (after Heather had a couple moments to kick off her sandels and walk through the city center fountain where other little kids were playing) we grabbed our luggage and boarded a train bound for Cardiff.I was very happy to get a good seat on the train…we had a table to sit at.So out came our snacks, computer, books….and we just enjoyed ourselves all the way to Cardiff.