I love surprises. So when I was handed a train ticket to take me to Clapham Junction and instructions to pack for the weekend, I was pretty excited. Liam had constructed a special surprise weekend away, just because - providing us both with the perfect excuse to kick back and chill out. I met up with him in Clapham on Friday night after work, and after a fairly harrowing train journey we finally arrived at our final destination- Winchester!
He'd booked a lovely little hotel in the grounds of the Cathedral, which was sufficiently peaceful for the two nights that we spent there. After arriving exhausted, we tucked into a hearty fish and chip supper before a leisurely stroll around the city's cobbled streets and then retiring to bed.
Saturday bought with it plenty of sunshine and Winchester looked fantastic. After a delicious breakfast, we headed straight to Wolvesey Castle to check out the ruins of the old palace. Both of us are slightly geeky about anything regarding history, and we spent a good hour exploring the remnants of the architecture. After a quick break, we took a long walk from the castle and down to the start of the viaduct trail.
With spectacular scenery and the sun shining on the waterside, it was a really pleasant walk down to Hockley viaduct. Following the path at the side of the canal, we made our way through lush greenery and well-worn paths before arriving at the site of the old viaduct. As well as a beautiful panorama from the top, there are etchings of dandelions painted on the pathways, with poems engraved on to the wood of the nearby seats that are nestled in the corners of the bridge - a really lovely touch for anyone walking in that direction.
After our long walk, we treated ourselves to a well-deserved (and delicious) afternoon tea in Maison Blanc back in the main part of town. Made up of delicious finger sandwiches, delicate pastries and a large pot of lemongrass and ginger tea for me and Earl Grey for him. After wandering the shops and discovering the food stalls and markets that frequent the streets, we head back to the hotel. Saturday evening was spent eating delicious Thai food at the Bangkok Brasserie (easily the tastiest food I've eaten in a long time) and sharing a few bottles of wine before a long sleep.
We had a fairly lazy Sunday morning of breakfast in bed and walking around the city. After ducking our head into the Cathedral, we decided it was just too busy to have a proper look and made our way around the quaint farmers market in the main part of town before climbing aboard our train home. A beautifully diverse and enchanting city, I'm sure I'll return one day!