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Yes, THAT picturesque hill!

View USA & England (St. Albans and Shaftesbury) & Israel on vikramonthemove's travel map.

large_5f443590-eb1f-11e9-a1c1-4195dec69b11.jpgShaftesbury Gold Hill (aka Hovis Hill for those that remember the Hovis biscuits ad from the 70s)Add another one to "finally made it" list! I must admit, I wasn't old enough, or didn't pay attention to the Hovis Hill biscuit ad back in the day. But I do recall a friend of mine visiting this place 2-3 years ago and that was enough to get me all excited. The only thing that held me back from visiting was - I always thought I'd base myself in Bath [Bath-travel-guide-362829] for some more time to visit a whole host of towns in the area. And then, I figured that's never going to happen! So I instead decided to, just do it!

Getting to Shaftesbury [Shaftesbury-travel-guide-365235] isn't really half the fun! It's no fun at all. It was a long train ride from London [London-travel-guide-364480]'s Waterloo to Gillingham [Gillingham-travel-guide-1254073] where one has to change a bus that's hourly at most.large_5f4a7720-eb1f-11e9-b4d3-bd391f89a370.jpgThe other side of Gold Hill!It happens to come to the train station about 10 minutes after the train stops. So you'd better hope the train doesn't get delayed!

Fortunately for me, there was free wifi on the Southwestern Trains, so I could easily kill time. The train arrived on time in Gillingham station, walked outside and found the bus stop. The bus to Shaftesbury arrived within 10 minutes and I was off I went through the Dorset greens to Shaftesbury. The ride, as per, was brilliant. Mellow weather with some very understated yet powerful scenery - all in all, was great. The bus ride took about 20 minutes tops, and before you know it, I was standing in front of the city centre. There was a map so I made my way to - well, the biggest reason folks come here: Gold Hill! I have to say, finding it was easy, and the "unravelling" of it was even better: you have a narrow strip between 2 buildings through which you get a sneak peak.large_5f406500-eb1f-11e9-a746-5b5268b3f1bd.jpg ... and then walk through that little passage way, lo and behold - the famous hill in front of your very own eyes. It's really everything you read about in the books! I stood here and took photos like my life depended on it. And after about 15 minutes, it was off to the other attraction.

Shaftesbury Abbey Museum is built on the same spot as the Abbey, and tells the story about the benedictine convent, the inhabitents and the first Abbess of this place. There are some remains, some mosaic tiles, etc. all of which are presumed to have been excarvated over a lengthy period of time. I spent about an hour here. It doesn't need that long, but I liked the garden and the views of the valley nearby.

After my visit to the museum (and a great audio guide I must add!), I walked along the promenade overlooking the valley, and then at the very end, took a steep cobbled footpath down the hill to the lower town.large_5f485440-eb1f-11e9-8925-c3786ea5dcc2.jpg The houses were all empty, not a peep on the street. Or, to quote my American friends - you could hear crickets! I walked till the main circle where I came across a church, came back - admired a garden and ended up chatting with the gardener who's also the owner of the house! And then continued on for a pub lunch.

I then strolled along those beautiful roads with colourful doors and then reached the base of Gold Hill - so walked up - t took more photos and then headed to the bus stop. I had a few minutes for my bus to peeped into a church. And then I waited for the bus. Recall that I had only 10 minutes' time between the arrival of the bus to Gillingham and the departure of the train back to London. And i waited...and waited.... and finally the bus showed up - a good 20 minutes late! Another local (kid) told me that the buses here are always late.large_5f42aef0-eb1f-11e9-b9ea-9fe21ae0f734.jpg So when I got to Gillingham, the train had already left. I had a good hour to kill here, so I ended up going to a nearby Waitrose, doing a spot of shopping and then returned, had coffee at an independant coffee shop till about when I train arrived.

The journey to London was uneventful, I slept for a good portion. Returned to the hostel - packed and then wandered a bit in the rain.


Posted by vikramonthemove 17:00 Archived in England

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