Okay, now, pretty much all Cotswold villages are beautiful. But Bourton-on-the-Water might be the most beautiful of all. (I said might be, so don’t jump down my throat if you disagree!) Bourton-on-the-Water is referred to as “the Venice of the Cotswolds” because of the crystal-clear canals running all through town and the picturesque bridges that guide hoardes of tourists over the water’s edge.
Hubby and I had a couple of extra daylight hours to spare after our trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, and I had been hoping that we’d find the time to get here. It’s a tiny little postcard-stamp-sized town, so you don’t need an entire day for Bourton to reveal its considerable charm. In fact, the charm pretty much hits you over the head the moment you step out of your car.
Hubby and I didn’t exactly “tourist it up” here. We just wandered the canals, poked our heads into a few shops (where I drooled over Emma Bridgewater mugs that wouldn’t fit in my backpack and that I was pretty sure I could track down in the States anyway – so it was a browsing kind of day) and took the sunset as our cue to meander back to Stow-on-the-Wold. (Oh, and I can’t even with the town names in the Cotswolds. So much charm. I die! Where were the Cotswold regional planners when the D.C. suburbs were sprouting?)
It was a Jaclyn kind of afternoon. Hubby and I generally make very good travel partners, because we can’t get enough of each other and we have the same ideas about how to behave on vacation (read: quiet and polite). But while we both enjoy the cultural activities that come with traveling in Europe, we have rather different approaches. Hubby is a planner; he likes to have an itinerary that is more detailed than General Patton’s, and to stick to it down to the minute. I’m a bit more free-wheeling. I like to have days where all I do is wander around, look at restaurant menus, sip tea, snap pictures of local cats and generally go where the wind blows me. Over seven years of traveling as a married couple, we’ve found ways to please us both – hubby gets to plan and organize to his heart’s content, but we leave a few free afternoons or days in the itinerary for Jaclyn-style drifting. Bourton-on-the-Water was the result of just such a provision – a few free hours after Stratford, so I jabbed my finger at a page in our guidebook and said “This looks fun; let’s go.”
We even saw a telephone box and a posting box side-by-side! I obviously had to get a picture. My Grandpapa loved British telephone boxes – even had one in his backyard – and, well, I like letters and mail. Bourton-on-the-Water was happy to oblige both Grandpapa and me. Just more proof that this town is the best.
Next Friday the road trip part of our journey ends – sniff! We’re dropping the car off in Oxford, so come have a look around with me!