Monday started off with two hours in the wonderful Mettricks cafe. Their egg and bacon sandwich was one of the best tasting things in all of England. Thick round bacon on a buttery slice of toast served on a black chalk slab. Mettricks was incredibly stylish, a cafe complete with couches, sofas, loveseats, etc, with board games and magazine choices like “Barista.” I mean this sincerely, Barista Magazine was actually a good read, I cared about the articles, and its coffee product advertisements were appealing. So me and my friend had one of many ‘real talks’ that were in store for us this Monday, while we knocked back our coffees of choice. A Cappuccino for me, an Americano for her.
Winchester was our first destination in our week of travel. It was a quaint city that the London Airport Bus drove through on the way to Southampton, so I had an interest in visiting the city before my friend even brough it up. So, Winchester was this very historical, brick-heavy city, with a shopping street that reminded me of Diagon Alley. At the Whittard’s in Winchester I got fifty 1886 Blend black tea bags, which brewed a nice malty black tea (I like my tea black! And smokey lapsang was a treat to drink while I was England).
After the shopping, we headed in the direction of the Roman Viaduct, an artificial river/canal-type thing. We were only slightly sidetracked by the Winchester Cathedral and a lovely garden designed to be experienced by senses other than sight. Flowers and other plants were grown for the way they felt, and smelled, so we were invited to smell and feel everything in the garden. It’s interesting, I feel like most gardens and parks are designed to be looked at–this felt much more special.
The Roman Viaduct was by far the standout feature of Winchester though. The water flowed beautifully from underneath buildings, through alleys, under bridges, and then released into a natural river full of flora and ducks. The ducks, oh my gosh me and my friend might have actually spent a full hour just walking along the Viaduct looking at and photographing ducks. It was easy to be filled with happiness in this place. We found a bench with a fitting inscription: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”
Crown and Anchor
In Winchester we were on a mission for a Fish and Chips dinner. We walked into a seafood restaurant that was open, The Fish Tale yet completely deserted: no customers, no waiters, no welcomers–we saw the bad omen and got the hell out of dodge. Instead we ended up the Crown and Anchor, a nice pub that was kind enough to serve us Fish and Chips even though the kitchens were to stop taking orders in five or so minutes. I had a cider from my friend’s hometown, we endulged in our massive fried cod, and dived head first into ‘real talk’ matters. The Crown and Anchor was obviously a place filled with characters, a place where the gruffiest toughest-sounding Englishmen were ordering Coors Light, oddly enough. Here too, Winchester made me happy, comfortable. At this hour, from our window seat we could see many schoolchildren walking up and down the street, busses, (yes, even the double-decker variety), and the magnificent, mysterious statue at the end of Winchester’s High Street. A man (?) holding a sword upside down, like a sign of peace, or compromise–like “I am armed, but not aggressive.”