My trip to Scotland has come to an end. However, I have had an amazing time the past 12 days. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glencoe, Loch Ness, and Stirling were absolutely amazing! I packed my bags, charged-up all devices, and hoped on a train to Manchester to watch Man Utd vs Swansea (long story for a later post) and then took the 35 minute train ride to Chester, England. I was torn on what I wanted to blog about because this is a target rich city. After a few pints I made the decision to create a post on the entire city and not just one particular site. Amazing how a few pints can stir the mind. Yes, the post. Moving on…
I had done my research on the city prior to arrival and I had a few ideas on where I wanted to take photos for sunrise and sundown, but sometimes you have to throw away your plan and adjust to the situation on the ground. I did just that. The city overwhelmed me with its history and people so I decided to ask people about their city, I looked at post cards for photo ideas, and I tried to find a few pubs to taste any local beers.
My hostel was only a half mile walk from the train station. I stayed at Chester’s Backpackers. This Hostel was fantastic. Rooms were spacious and the people I met there were very friendly. The Hostel is located on Boughton street which is the same street that will take you to the center of town. After walking a few hundred yards the heavens opened up and it starting pouring. This of course is not good for photography so I decided to stop into a few pubs and have a few pints. Several hours later the rain hadn’t stopped and the beer hadn’t stopped pouring either. Therefore, my first day in Chester was spent meeting locals at the pub and watching the English Premier League. Not a bad first day.
The next day I woke up and hit the pavement around 7:30 a.m. Of course, in England, it was still dark but I had my headlamp and map and knew where I wanted to go. I got my coffee and walked strait towards the famous Eastgate Clock.
The clock was built in the late 1800s and it was dedicated to Queen Victoria for her 80th birthday and I would imagine this was an amazing dedication back in the day. To the right of the clock are stairs that will take you up to the wall. From this point you can walk around the entire central part of the city with a bird’s eye view. I had a freaking blast! LOL! I felt like I was a kid again roaming around a fortress which that early in the morning I figured I had all to myself. However, I was wrong about that. I’ll explain more about that later in the post.
Once on the wall, I began to make my way west. I soon came across the beautiful Chester Cathedral which is 1000 years old. I made my way down to the Cathedral and found out that it did not open until 10:00 a.m. Darn! However, right in front of the Cathedral was Chester’s City Hall. So I set my tripod up and starting snapping away.
The tower of city hall has clocks facing three sides. The reason there is not a clock on the back side will be explained later. Once, the daily commuters starting showing up, I packed up my gear and heading for the city walls again. I kept walking west until I hit the Westgate. This is an ancient part of the city which has it’s history with the Romans.
Walking along the wall you come across fortifications and towers. Each one has a plaque informing you about it’s history and importance.
It was near this tower that I met Bill. Bill, is a local and he takes a daily walk around the walls. He stopped me and asked me where I was from. We chatted about the states and the weather in the East Coast. Soon we were talking about the city and it’s history. He became a free tour guide. Bill informed me of the Airbus plant near by which you could see from the wall and we talked about his past as a pilot. We shared stories about travel and by the time I knew it an hour had past and I had not moved but 30 yards. We made our way past the old port which is now filled in but it does still have the two original towers. From this area you can see the back side of the City Hall’s Tower. This is the back side of the City Hall which faces Wales. Wales in only a few miles from Chester. He informed me that the reason there is not a clock on the side facing Wales is because, “we don’t give the Welsh the time of day.” LOL! Fascinating! Whether this story is true or not, it doesn’t matter. I laughed and I learned. Bill soon talked about his family and how many times he was sent to the old hospital that we walked by. He said he was an active child always breaking something. We eventually went our separate ways. He thanked me for reminding him of what an amazing city he lived in. I thanked him for his company and for the history. Bill, if you are reading this. Get a new dog. It will bring you joy and comfort.
I made my way down to the horse track which Bill said I would come across. Story is in Medieval times, the Lord was tired of the bloodshot that took place here so he opened up a horse track so animals were involved and not people. Bill, I hope I remembered that correctly.
I soon made my way to Chester’s Castle. It’s not longer a castle per say, but it does have a military museum commemorating the Cheshire Regiment and the men and woman who have served her Majesty from Chester. I of course, paid the three pounds and spent a good hour plus visiting the museum. I recommend a pit stop here. It’s a very interesting museum. For more on the museum visit: http://www.cheshiremilitarymuseum.co.uk
Eventually I made my way back to Eastgate but I did make another pit stop to see the Roman Amphitheater. There is not much left at the site, but you can read about the history on the plaques that are erected near by.
I stopped in a restaurant called Hickory’s which is the hot spot of Chester. I had a few pints and then made my way to the Cathedral. However, I did come back to Hickory’s for dinner and the BBQ was fantastic. The atmosphere, service, and food was amazing. For more information visit: http://hickorys.co.uk/chester/
After roaming the cathedral for an hour, I made my way back to the hostel for some much needed rest. I had been walking around the city walls for six hours. I couldn’t believe how much time as passed since I starting out early in the morning. During my walk back to the hostel I thought about the Romans, Queen Victoria’s Eastgate Clock, the Cathedral, the horse track, and of course Bill. What a fabulous day! I hope my journey continues to receive blessing like today. I hope I meet more people like Bill. I hope.